Champagne opening that can cause eye injuries

Champagne is perhaps the most popular type of sparkling wine on the market. A favorite addition to weddings, championship celebrations, and New Year’s Eve parties, this beverage is notable not only for its distinct taste but also its eye-catching flair upon opening.

That said, not knowing how to open your bottle of champagne correctly could give “eye-catching” a whole new meaning.

Fast facts about champagne

Before diving into champagne safety, here are some quick tidbits about this iconic sparkling wine:

  • The wire cage at the top, known as a muselet, is designed to come off with six half-twists.
  • Champagne bottles feature an indent on the bottom called a punt that provides extra stability for the base.
  • Not every sparkling wine is champagne, as true champagne is derived from the Champagne region of northern France and features bottles with thicker glass and sloping shoulders. In addition, only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes are used to make champagne.

What are common eye injuries from champagne bottles?

That familiar fizz you hear from your champagne comes from dissolved carbon dioxide contained in the wine. When the wire cage is loosened from the cork, the pressure from the gases inside the bottle will start to rise to the neck. That pressure, if the bottle is “popped” incorrectly, can cause the cork to fly out at speeds up to 25 miles per hour.

If you or a guest are in the line of fire from the champagne bottle, a direct hit to the eye could mean:

How do you open champagne safely?

The good news is that champagne injuries are not common, and they can be mitigated even further by correctly opening the bottle. CEENTA ophthalmologist Robert Saltzmann, FACS, has provided the following steps to open your bottle without injuring you or your guests:

  1. Wipe down your bottle to allow for a better grip.
  2. Take off the foil and loosen the muselet.
  3. Remove the muselet and tilt the bottle with your dominant hand away from others at a 45 degree angle. Hold the bottle with a firm grip.
  4. With your non-dominant hand, hold the cork with your palm and wrap your fingers around the neck, covering the cork with your thumb. Optionally, you can also place a napkin or towel over the top for a more secure grip.
  5. Rotate the bottle, not the cork, with your dominant hand while keeping your non-dominant hand steady. As you rotate the bottle, the cork will begin to loosen up.
  6. Remove the cork and wipe the lip of the bottle. Serve and enjoy.

Learn more about opening your champagne bottle safely with these tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

There’s plenty to celebrate toward the end of the year, and that includes good eye health. CEENTA is also celebrating as we reach a century of care in the Carolinas in 2023. Take part in our award-winning eye care services including regular exams, LASIK consultations, cataract surgery, and more. Schedule your next eye appointment with Dr. Saltzmann at our SouthPark and Belmont offices today, and enjoy the new year! 

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an eye doctor in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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