The Expert Guide to Popping Open your Favourite Bottle of Wine
What could be simpler than popping open a bottle of your favourite wine? Just open and pour, really. But anyone who has ever struggled with a crumbling cork, or being told that a Cabernet must “breathe” before being dispensed, understands that there’s more to drinking wine than just, well, drinking it!
Here are some tips for opening any bottle with style, or dealing with a crumbly cork:
Pulling a cork
Most wines are finished with a cork, be it all-natural cork, composite cork or a synthetic.
- Remove the top part of the foil, cutting around the neck just below the lip of the bottle.
- Wipe the top of the bottle with a damp towel or cloth if necessary.
- Use a corkscrew to remove the cork. There are several different models of corkscrew available, what you choose is entirely up to your personal preference.
We offer the Screwpull Gift Set, which comes with a handy foil cutter. Or for hassle and effort free wine opening why not go for the Vinturi Deluxe Aerator Set, which smartly open up your favourite bottle in next to no time.
Pour a small taste and check that the wine is in good condition before serving to guests.
Removing the foil makes it easier to remove the cork, reduces the chances of a weak cork breaking in the bottle and keeps sharp edges away from the bottle opening. You can also identify if any liquid has seeped past the cork, which would happen if the wine has been exposed to high temperatures. Some wineries have replaced the foil with thin, transparent cellophane which is intended to be removed.
Popping a bottle of Champagne
Champagne and sparkling wines have a different type of cork closure, and you won’t be needing a corkscrew. This is a bit more of a delicate process and must be handled carefully since the contents are under pressure and a flying cork could cause injury. Don’t open a bottle right after purchasing it from the store and driving it home, and make sure the wine is well-chilled before opening, so you don’t get an almighty explosion with most of your favourite champagne on the floor and not in your flute.
- Remove the foil.
- Place a thumb over the metal crown to prevent the cork from ejecting and loosen the wire fastener with the other hand.
- Without removing the wire, keep one hand on top of the cork. Grip the bottle firmly about two-thirds of the way down with the other hand.
- Turn the bottle, slowly releasing the cork. Aim for a gentle sigh, not a loud pop.
- To avoid overflowing the glass, pour a little Champagne, wait a few seconds for the froth to settle, then continue pouring; aim for about two-thirds full.
Looking to buy a gorgeous bubbly but not sure where to start? We recommend the following:
MCC Brut (South Africa)
- Colmant Brut Reserve Cap Classique 750ml
- Graham Beck Brut 750ml
MCC Rose (South Africa)
- J C Le Roux Pinot Noir Rose 750ml
- Pongracz Rose 750ml
- Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose 750ml
Sparkling Wine (Italian)
- Antonini Ceresa Processo Rose Glamour 750ml
- Ferrari Brut 750ml