Bottle of Champagne: Better To Shake or Not?

Champagne, the most sophisticated of alcoholic beverages, the unofficial drink of kings, queens, movie stars and rappers alike. Humanity may never know the reason why we flock to this fizzy intoxicant. Is it the bubbles, the taste, that certain je ne sais quoi or the expensive price tag that is often associated with it? The world may never know. But, new studies that were performed by scientists explain the best method of serving, this captivating, spirit.  

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Movies often portray joyous and celebratory scenes with actors, violently shaking a bottle of champagne, moments before popping the bottle’s cork, and permitting a volatile deluge of its contents to saturate the crowd. When we observe this activity, flash across the big screen in movie theaters, it inspires many of us to attempt it at home. But, does this ritual actually benefit those who are about to engage in the consumption of champagne?

A study from the University of Reims, in France, decrees that yes, administering a vigorous shake to an unopened bottle of champagne will reduce the chances of an unwanted eruption, once opened.

The researchers discovered that, the pressure within the bottle initially drops after being shaken, causing ‘super critical bubbles’ to form in its neck. Then after 40 seconds the presence of bubbles in the neck region begins to dissipate, and will completely dissolve within 4 minutes. At this point the pressure in the bottle will rise again, but will not ascend to such critical levels that would create a large explosion. On a side note, the study also mentions that a person should not re-cork the champagne bottle, shake it again and reopen it, engaging in actions like this or similar could result in a massive build up of pressure within the bottle, causing an uncontrollable eruption from the bottle.

Although many people drink champagne, they are not aware of the intricate chemical and physical reaction that occurs, in the process of opening its bottle. This chaotic eruption is known as Oswalt ripening, and occurs when weight exercise’s a rapid pressure increase, forcing the liquid up in a violent motion. A similar reaction to a champagne bottle being opened occurs when water is super heated in the boilers of large-scale, power generators.

While you are at home, ‘in the club’ or anywhere else, and you or someone you know is about to partake in champagne consumption, make sure to remind them that after administering a vigorous shake to the bottle, let it rest for 4 minutes before opening. Also, when opening a bottle of champagne, remember to point its neck away from anyone’s face or eyes, failing to do so may result in serious injuries to the face or eye.

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