A bottle of ISC sparkling wine contains 44 to 57 million bubbles. We haven’t exactly counted them all, but that’s what the experts tell us. All those bubbles mean that our bottles and corks are under some serious pressure. A sparkling wine cork left unchecked flies out of a bottle at around 40 mph, but can travel as fast as 100 mph under the right conditions (please do not try this at home). So in the interest of the safety of your friends and your worldly goods, we thought we’d offer some tips on storing and opening a bottle of bubbly.
Bubbly Opening Tips
- Chill, chill, chill! The most important step is to chill your sparkling wine to 45° before opening. Chill 2-3 hours in fridge or 30 minutes in ice bucket. Wine will cool faster in the ice bucket if you add a bit of salt to the ice as well as some water. Make sure the bottle is immersed up to the neck in the ice water mixture. The ideal cellaring temperature for storing your sparkling wine is 60-65°F. Whatever you do, don’t let your bottle of bubbly get too hot. They just don’t like that one bit and have been known to blow their tops when conditions aren’t to their liking.
- Do not shake. Despite what you may see in the movies, shaking is going to increase the pressure in the bottle and that’s not a good thing. Not only will your cork fly out faster, but so will your precious bubbly.
- Point the bottle away from you and others. While this might seem obvious, it’s one of those tidbits often forgotten when you are so excited to open your bottle.
- Get a grip. Use a sparkling wine opener (or towel if you don’t have opener) to get a good grip on the cork.
- Don’t remove the wire cage yet! Loosen the wire protector that surrounds the cork while keeping pressure on the top of the cork. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Do not remove the wire protector. Only loosen it, and keep your hand or the sparkling wine opener over the top of the cage and cork. Some corks are ready to fly as soon as that cage is loosened so be prepared for this.
- Turn the bottle, not the cork. With your other hand, slowly turn the bottle with one hand while holding onto the cork or sparkling wine opener with the other hand. Turn the bottle gently until you hear a small “pop.” The soft pop (rather than the loud boom accompanied by sparkling wine flying in all directions) means you are now a sparkling wine opening expert.
- Enjoy! Reward yourself with a glass or two of bubbly!
You can use this same technique for our August Hill Winery infusion wines.