According to newly released statistics from Asda—a British supermarket chain—1.5 million bottles of Prosecco will go to waste this holiday season (that’s around 9.5 glasses) because most people don’t know how to properly pour the celebratory drink—a true tragedy that can be easily avoided. Admit it, sometimes you get a little too excited at the holiday party and shake the bottle. Maybe you want to impress your hometown crush, who you’re seeing for the first time in three years, so you pop the cork. Sure, it’s a cool-looking move, but it creates a sticky mess on your presumably fancy party outfit, and your guests only get a drop of Prosecco in their flute. Don’t be one of those people who waste their fancy Champagne or Prosecco. How can you unlearn every pop culture Campagne bottle-popping moment you’ve seen up to this point? Luckily, our very own Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle, as well as Morgan Harris, head sommelier at the Michelin-starred restaurant Aureole in New York City, are here with all the tips and tricks you need to know to pour bubbly drinks without wasting a drop.
First of all, you must make sure your Prosecco is cold when you serve it, according to Isle. Serving the bottle cold ensures that it won’t “foam over and spill valuable wine when you open it.” If you’re in a celebratory mood, and have a cheap bottle of Prosecco handy, though, Isle adds that serving it warm will ensure that you “spray Prosecco all over everyone.”
Shaking the bottle before opening it (as you’ve probably seen happen many times in the movies) is another sure fire way to make the Prosecco explode all over yourself and your guests, Isle warns. A better way to open the bottle is to, “put a dishtowel over the cork, hold the cork in one hand and the bottle in the other, and then slowly twist the bottle [while] holding the cork firm.”
Harris offers an alternative method.
“I generally hold onto the cork and then gently twist the bottom of the bottle back and forth, easing the cork out,” he says. “There's no problem with a celebratory pop, but I agree that wine all over your floor is never a good thing. Also, Prosecco only has [around] 3 atmospheres of pressure, so in general, they'll be a little harder to open than Champagne or Cremant, which generally has 5 to 6 atmospheres of pressure in the bottle. This is also why Prosecco's bubbles are generally a little frothier, and not quite as fine as Champagne-method sparklers.”
Once you’ve got the bottle open, Isle recommends pouring an ounce of liquid in the glass to start with, then letting the foam subside before pouring the rest, which keeps “the bubbles from rising up and overflowing [in] the glass.”
Harris mentions that it’s acceptable to pour the champagne into your glass at either an angle or on a flat surface, “but if you're going to pour [the glasses] on a table, it just takes a little patience," because it's likely to be fizzier from that position. He suggests even chilling your glasses for a few minutes before pouring the drinks, so that the bubbles are “more well-behaved.”
If you have any wine leftover once everyone has a full glass, cork the bottle with a Champagne stopper, which will allow you to refrigerate your bottle without losing its bubbles.
In case you missed it, here are more tips on how to properly serve Champagne and Prosecco (including why you should hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle)—and the mistakes you might be making when drinking it.