Almost every wine fan has experienced it: the expensive champagne spills all over the guests when it is opened. Or the cork cannot be loosened even with brute force. Is there another way? We have tested three sparkling wine openers in everyday use.
Sparkling wines are synonymous with good humour, and the selection has never been so abundant: whether Prosecco, Champagne, Cava or Crémant and even more so German sparkling wine: almost all origins have significantly improved in quality in recent years. Many wine fans therefore have a bottle ready to hand in the fridge. However, opening the bottle is often an annoying hurdle. Tight-fitting closures do not fit in with the party mood. In the worst case, you almost break your fingers. Finally, the cork flies out of the bottle uncontrollably and shatters glasses. Or the well-dressed guests get showered with the expensive contents. This is still okay for the award ceremony at Formula 1 races, but for wine fans it is simply embarrassing.
There is therefore no shame in using a champagne opener that does its job reliably. We tested three models, each with a different mode of operation, in everyday use with different young as well as matured sparkling wines and compared them with each other. What do they do better than opening by hand? How reliably and safely do they work?
The Champagne Opener does it in a jiffy. First you unwrap the bottle from the tinfoil capsule and remove the agraffe. Then you put the four prongs over the cork so that the teeth sink into the material. Now place the bottle on the table, hold the Champagne Opener between thumb, index and middle finger and turn the bottom of the bottle (not the opener). Despite its narrow dimensions, the lever angle is greater than with the hand, and even stuck corks can be lifted out of the bottle in this way. At the end, you have it in your hand with a quiet pop and can free it from the firm grip of the metal prongs.
The cast metal opener, which costs around 15 euros, has a smooth metal surface that fits comfortably in the hand and is ergonomically well designed. However, with extra-stubborn corks, which occur from time to time with bottles that have been aged for a long time, it can happen that you have to grip very forcefully. In such cases, it is less suitable for delicate hands. The opener is also not very suitable for wedding parties, where the Schampus is flowing and bottles are being opened every minute. Otherwise, the Champagne Opener is recommendable. The almost indestructible little helper works reliably - and fits easily into your luggage. Just in case.
The SW-105 is more than just an opener. It has a large thread on the inside that you screw over the cork. As soon as the opener touches down on the neck of the bottle, you simply turn it further and the cork is released from the neck of the bottle. This works easier than expected. Interestingly, even if the bottle is very cold and has not been shaken, it comes out with a nice "pop".
The second advantage is that you don't have to jump for cover to get out of the flight path of the cork. Because towards the top, the two brackets of the opener converge conically and close with a firmly connected lid. The cork catches itself in the taper. So no one has to crawl around on the floor to get it out from under the dresser. In our comparison, it is thus clearly the most practical opener.
However, at around 60 euros, the SW-105 made of solid metal is not cheap. It is made by Le Creuset from France, which has become famous for its cast iron pots. The opener is available in nobly treated surfaces, such as shiny granite crystal, black nickel or matt silver. There is also a version made of smoked glass-coloured plastic, which costs around 23 euros, less than half the price.
The trick is so simple. Maybe that's why no one has figured it out yet? With champagne bottles, the wires of the basket run through small grooves in the cork to prevent them from slipping. The Pince à Bouchon takes advantage of this. It has a metal cap exactly in the shape of the cork. The lugs in the opener grip exactly into the notches of the cork. In this way, the champagne tongs (about 25 euros) hold the cork without much effort. Anyone who has ever had to unscrew a cork with their bare hands will like this. The tool also has a long handle for the whole hand. This creates a very useful leverage effect against stuck corks. The other hand is simply placed around the neck of the bottle, the thumb on top of the cap. Now you turn the cork out of the neck with a minimum of force on the lever. No splashing, no broken nails. It works so easily that you wonder why there isn't something like this in every household.
The manufacturer L'Atelier du Vin from Paris produces fine wine accessories. A Parisian fashion designer creates the shapes. That is why the gadget not only looks good, it is also very comfortable to hold. In addition, the Pince à Bouchon is also available in combination with a cleverly designed waiter's knife (around 130 euros). The Soft Machine Dandy lifts the spindle of the corkscrew out of the bottle neck with much greater force than a conventional waiter's knife - and in one go, too. The good piece made of stainless steel and brass with acetate handle shells elegantly quotes the 1920s. You can't pack much more into such simply functioning helpers.