How To Safely Open Champagne

There are few things more famous in the world of wine than the Champagne “pop.”

From movies and television to music videos and commercials, we can all instantly picture and hear the sight and sound of a cork rocketing out of a bottle and signifying the start of a joyous celebration.

However, the reality is that this iconic style of loudly “popping bottles” is not the proper or ideal way to open your favorite Champagne.

In fact, among wine connoisseurs and experienced enthusiasts, there is actually a great pride in opening Champagne as quietly as possible -- emitting only a gentle “hiss” and “pop” as they carefully remove the cork.

This method is ideal for retaining more of the bottle’s cherished, effervescent bubbles and ensuring you enjoy the full taste and experience of your Champagne.

<p">For our essential tips and tricks on best opening this sparkling wine for your next celebration, read on for the Wine Insiders’ Guide to Safely Opening Champagne:

1. Store and Chill Your Bottle

After you purchase your Champagne, it’s essential to store and chill it properly:


As one of the most sensitive wines to temperature and light, Champagne thrives when stored at cooler temperatures and away from harsh lights (this explains why the wine comes in a dark green, light-resistant bottle).

If you purchase Champagne intending to enjoy it within a few days, you are perfectly fine to store your bottle in the fridge before opening it.

However, if you plan on saving your bottle for a more extended period, you’re best off storing your Champagne horizontally on a wine rack or in another place where it can rest safely away from bright lights and excess heat.


Once you are ready to enjoy your Champagne, you need to chill it between 38-45˚F -- the ideal range for protecting your wine’s fruity flavors.

There are two simple methods for easily attaining these temperatures:

First, you can place your Champagne bottle in the refrigerator for three hours before opening it. This chilling style is more hands-off and can be ideal if you’re looking to cool down your wine as you make final preparations for your dinner, party, etc.

If you’re looking to quickly serve your Champagne without a three-hour wait time, simply rest your bottle in a bucket full of ice and water for 10-45 minutes -- depending on how cold your wine already is.

Learn all about wine storage with our Guide to Storing Wine in The Fridge.

2. Safely Remove The Foil

Now that your bottle is adequately chilled, it’s time to begin the process of slowly and safely opening it:

The first thing you need to do is remove the foil that surrounds your cork and the very top of your bottle.

On most bottles of Champagne, you’ll find a small tab that you can pull to quickly and easily remove the foil.

However, other bottles lack this tab entirely or feature a tab that’s relatively ineffective at helping you detach the foil.

In this case, we recommend gently using a knife or a wine key to make a small incision in the foil, allowing you to pull it off entirely in one fell swoop.

Wine Insiders Tip: Be careful when removing Champagne foil to not damage the cage beneath that surrounds the cork -- you will need it later to open the bottle.

3. Loosen the Cage

After you remove the foil, turn your focus to the wire cage that protects the cork.

First, tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle and face it away from yourself and anyone else in the room.

While keeping pressure on the cork with one hand, use your other hand to slowly twist the small “key” sticking out from the cage six times counterclockwise.

Once you finish, slowly remove the cage while keeping pressure on the cork.

4. Put a Towel or Napkin Over the Bottle

With one hand still applying pressure to the cork, use your other hand to drape a towel/napkin over the top of the bottle.

This step can seem inessential, but it’s a great way to blunt the ascent of a hyper-pressurized cork that you unintentionally allowed to escape your bottle.

It also can allow you to quickly catch any wine that spills out upon opening.

5. Slowly Twist the Bottle

With your top hand still holding the cork, bring your other hand to the base of the bottle.

Keeping the bottle at a 45-degree angle with one hand applying pressure to the cork, slowly twist the bottom of the bottle toward you.

If you do this correctly, you’ll start to feel the cork loosen as you continually twist the base of your Champagne.

Wine Insiders Tip: Using your dominant hand to twist the bottom of the bottle can make this step tremendously easier.

6. Remove the Cork

After you hear the gentle “hiss” of the cork starting to leave your bottle, twist one final time until the cork leaves the bottle and gently “pops” into your hand

7. Serve and Enjoy

Congratulations!  You’ve safely opened your Champagne, and it’s time to celebrate with a few glasses from your delicious bottle. For the optimal Champagne experience, you’ll want to use small-bowled, white wine glasses, which best deliver the flavors and aromas of your bottle -- not Champagne flutes.

Wine Insiders: Your New Home for Sparkling Wine

Now that you know how to open Champagne without dangerously popping it, it’s time to explore Wine Insiders’ delicious, bubbly collection of sparkling wine:

From celebratory Champagnes to a diverse mix of sparkling Moscato, Brut and Rosé, we have the varietals you need at the prices you want from beloved Old and New World regions alike.

Plus, if you want to expand your sparkling wine knowledge even further, we have a detailed Sparkling Wine Guide to help you better understand everything from the production of sparkling wines, using Champagne for mimosas and pairing bubbly varietals with their ideal foods.