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How to Open a Bottle of Wine

Still Wine

Still table wine is opened with a spiral corkscrew.

  1. Grasp the Neck. The neck is the weakest part of a wine bottle. Grasp the neck of the bottle to support it.
  2. Remove the Foil. Use the blade of the corkscrew to cut the foil about 14 inch from the top. Otherwise, as wine pours over the foil the jagged edge will impart a metallic flavor.
  3. Wipe the Outside Lip. To remove mold or dust that may lie underneath the capsule, wipe the outside of the lip.
  4. Insert the Corkscrew. Gently insert the corkscrew in the center of the cork, but not all the way through. Otherwise small particles of cork may fall into the bottle.
  5. Turn Slowly to Remove the Cork. To avoid crumbling the cork, use a slow turning motion and steadily ease it from the bottle.
  6. Wipe the Lip. In the process of removal, the cork gently presses against the sides of the bottle and may leave a deposit on the inside of the neck. Before pouring the first glass, wipe the inside and outside of the lip to remove any traces of cork.
  7. Save the Cork. Save the cork to reseal the bottle.

Breaking the Cork

If the cork breaks,

  • Push it all-the-way into the bottle; and
  • Hold it down with a skewer or any long metal object while pouring.
  • Or, filter the wine through a fresh piece of muslin.

Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Using a corkscrew to open a bottle of sparkling wine causes the cork to compress against the neck of the bottle, which creates pressure that makes the wine explode from the bottle.

Instead, open as follows.

  1. Remove the Metal Foil.
  2. Twist the Metal Loop. Twist the metal loop attached to the wire muzzle to the left.
  3. Remove the Muzzle.
  4. Grasp the Bottle. Grab the bottle by the neck.
  5. Hold the Cork with Your Thumb. To prevent the cork from shooting forth from pressure made by the bubbles, hold it in place with the thumb.
  6. Hold the Bottle and Loosen the Cork. Hold the bottle in one hand, and with the other hand turn and loosen the cork.
  7. Cover with a Napkin. To absorb any wine that may emit from the bottle when the cork is removed, cover it with a napkin.
  8. Tilt the Bottle. A tilted bottle of sparkling wine transfers pressure away from the cork and puts it against the side of the bottle. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle (pointed away from guests or breakable artifacts).
  9. Push the Cork. Push the cork upward with the thumb, and gently ease it from the bottle to prevent a loss of wine.
  10. Bang! The cork should expel with a soft sigh, rather than a loud bang.

- , Editor, Etiquette Scholar

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