by Lake Khera for Noble Estates.

Maybe it’s cooking a turkey after a lifetime of being comfortably fed, or finally deciding it’s the year you start sending out holiday cards. It’s that time of year that we can be faced with all sorts of tasks that we might not know how to do, even though we probably should. One that many people find surprisingly daunting is how to correctly open a bottle of sparkling wine, and the countdown surely won’t help with the stress.

I’m sure showering in Champagne is lovely, but most of us would like our wine in our glasses, not our clothing, on the one night everyone actually dresses up. That’s not to mention the fact that nobody wants to be remembered as the guy that caused a freak accident because he decided to shake a bottle of bubbly like a whisky sour. If you can not be convinced otherwise, my recommendation is to use the dry stuff for everybody’s sake.

There’s not just one way to open a bottle of bubbly – but before trying anything crazy like sabering, there are certain steps we all should know in order to do it safely and confidently.  

First, remove the foil covering around the cork by pulling straight out on the pull-tab. If there is no pull-tab on your bottle, the foil can be easily cut with a knife and cleanly removed.

Photo 1 - removing foil

With your hand on the top of the bottle to avoid a nose-breaking runaway cork, remove the cage by twisting the wire ring. Fun fact: this is always five full rotations.

photo 2 - undoing cage

Grasp the bottle by the neck with your thumb placed firmly on the top of the cork. At this stage, some people prefer to drape a cloth or handkerchief over the cork so as to keep a more secure grip.

Photo 3 - thumb on bottle

With your other hand, grasp the bottom of bottle, placing your thumb around the side and your fingers in the dimple.

Pointing the bottle away from people and light fixtures, gently twist the cork back and forth, keeping it in the control of your hand. Some people prefer to twist the bottle instead of the cork.

photo 4 - holding bottle

The goal is to resist the pressure of the cork so as to remove it softly, with a whisper rather than a pop. You don’t have to be strong to do this, but remember that the pressure inside a bottle is about three times that of a car tire!

photo 5 -cork in hand

Now time for the best part – serving and enjoying. Tilting your glass, like when pouring a beer, will help to prevent the wine from foaming over.

photo 6 - pouring

Many experts recommend using regular white wine glasses for sparkling wine, but lots of people can still not resist the allure of a flute or a coupe.

photo 7 - cheers

We used Bottega Prosecco, a classically crisp Prosecco that consistently receives solid critic reviews – like the 89 points it was awarded last week by Beppi Crosariol of The Globe and Mail. It is available at the LCBO for only $13.95 for a 750ml bottle.

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