4 Tips to a Safer Celebration with Champagne
Although New Year’s celebrations may not be as large as typical years, they still plan to be festive as everyone looks forward to moving on to 2021. New Year’s Eve and champagne go together like baseball and hotdogs. Hopefully, these tips ensure a safe celebration for all.
First a few facts about champagne corks. The average bottle of champagne holds 90 psi of pressure. That is about 3 times the average car tire. This pressure can shoot a cork at speeds up to 50 mph and for a distance of up to 40 feet.
Thus, an errant cork can cause significant damage to the eye. Hemorrhage within the eye, cataract development and retinal damage illustrate the severity of damage a cork can cause. In fact about 25% of champagne cork injuries result in vision loss.
Follow these tips to enjoy a safe celebration:
The Champagne bubbles are filled with gas. In high school chemistry, we learned that when gases are heated, they expand and when they are cooled, they contract. By cooling the bottle in the refrigerator or on ice to a temperature of 45 degrees, one can reduce the pressure within the bottle.
2. Don’t shake
The carbonation of champagne occurs due to sugar and yeast being added to a wine base. As the yeast eats the sugar, it produces carbon dioxide. This gas has nowhere to go since it is trapped in the bottle...it pressurizes and carbonates the wine. When you shake a champagne bottle, bubbles are created within the bottle. These bubbles allow some of the dissolved carbon dioxide to escape into the bubble, resulting in an increased pressure within the bottle. If you leave the bottle set for an adequate amount of time after shaking, the increased pressure within the bottle will force some of the carbon dioxide to dissolve back into the liquid normalizing the pressure.
3. Control the cork
After you remove the foil covering the end of the champagne bottle, cover the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood. Never use a corkscrew to open a bottle of champagne.
4. Tilt and Twist
Place towel over the entire end of the bottle and grasp the cork with your hand. Tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and anyone else in the room. Slowly and firmly twist the bottle at its base while holding the cork to break the seal...opposite of what you think. Apply a slight downward pressure with your hand to counter the force of the cork as it breaks free...POP.
All that is left is to pour the glasses and raise your hands in a toast. Cheers and Happy New Year from the team at Summit Eye Center!