How to Open Wine and Champagne Bottles - dummies

How to Open Wine and Champagne Bottles

By Ray Foley

Opening wine and champagne bottles doesn’t take much skill — just a little practice, but any bartender should know how. And the more you practice, the more wine or champagne you have to drink. Score!

Wine bottles

To open a wine bottle, you want to use a waiter’s opener. Then go through these steps:

  1. Using the blade on the opener, cut the lead foil or capsule at the middle of the bulge near the bottle neck.

  2. Remove the foil and wipe the bottle top with a cloth to remove any mold or foreign particles.

  3. Line up the screw or worm directly over the bottle, and with gentle downward pressure, screw the worm clockwise into the cork.

    Don’t break the end of the cork, and screw in just enough to extract the cork.

  4. Attach the lever of the opener to the lip on top of the bottle, and while holding the bottle firmly, slowly lift the cork straight up.

  5. Wipe the neck of the bottle.

  6. Present the cork to your guest and pour a small amount of wine into his or her glass.

If the wine is to your guest’s satisfaction, pour more. Keep your towel handy to wipe the neck of the bottle as you pour the wine for other guests.

Champagne and sparkling wine bottles

You don’t use a corkscrew when opening sparkling wine bottles — you simply use your hands.

  1. Remove the wine hood and foil capsule.

  2. Hold the bottle at an angle and point it away from you and anyone else (and anything valuable).

  3. While holding the cork in one hand, twist the bottle with the other hand and gently remove the cork.

    Remember, twist the bottle, not the cork.

  4. Just before the cork is about to pop, place a bar towel over the cork and bottle and loosen it the rest of the way.

    The towel will catch the cork and prevent it from becoming a UFO.

Keep another towel handy in case the bottle bubbles over after you remove the cork. To avoid the bubbling, don’t shake the bottle before opening.