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New Year's Tip: How to Uncork the Champagne

Avoid injuries on New Year's Eve - learn how to safely uncork the Champagne.

If you will be the one popping the Champagne Monday night for New Year's Eve, make sure you know how to do it safely.

A champagne toast is a great way to welcome 2013, but be mindful as you uncork the bottle: warm bottles of champagne and improper cork-removal techniques cause serious, potentially blinding eye injuries each year according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that champagne bottles contain pressure as high as 90 pounds per square inch – more than the pressure found inside a typical car tire. This pressure can launch a champagne cork at 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, which is fast enough to shatter glass according to a news release. Unfortunately, this is also fast enough to permanently damage vision.

For a safe celebration, follow these tips on how to properly open a bottle of champagne:

  • Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
  • Don’t shake the bottle. Shaking increases the speed at which the cork leaves the bottle thereby increasing your chances of severe eye injury.
  • Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood on the bottle.
  • Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork. 
  • Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45 degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle. 

View a video demonstration of proper champagne cork removal, and see how the force of a champagne cork can shatter glass.

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