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Open That Bottle of New Year’s Eve Champagne Wrong and You Could Put Your Eye Out!

New Year's Party
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Every year, warm bottles of champagne, coupled with bad cork-removal techniques, are responsible for causing serious, potentially blinding eye injuries. According to eye medical doctors in the United States, incorrect popping of champagne corks is one of the most common holiday-related eye hazards.

For instance, a cork can fly up to 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, generating a force powerful enough to shatter glass. Anything that travels with such force can have a dangerous effect upon impact with the eye. Eye-related cork injuries can lead to acute glaucoma, detached retina and staining of the cornea, all of which can result in decreased vision.

In order for everyone to enjoy a fun, safe and injury-free holiday, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Louisiana Ophthalmology Association are providing tips, including a video demonstration, on how to properly open a bottle of champagne.

  • Make sure sparkling wine is chilled to at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit 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.
  • To open the bottle safely, hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood. Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and from any bystanders.
  • Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
  • Keep the bottle at a 45-degree angle as you slowly and firmly twist the bottle while holding the cork to break the seal. Continue to hold the cork while twisting the bottle. Continue until the cork is almost out of the neck. Counter the force of the cork using slight downward pressure just as the cork breaks free from the bottle.
  • Never use a corkscrew to open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine.

Here’s how to open, pour and serve properly.

And here’s how NOT to do it.

 

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