August 30, 2021 3 min read
How many times have you heard from your grandmother or a distant aunt about inserting a spoon into the neck of open bottles of sparkling wine so that the bubbles don't escape?
This belief stems from a need to re-cork the bottles once they have been opened to preserve the effervescence of the wine. In some versions of this idea, it emerges that the alloy with which the spoon is made also affects the preservation of the wine, stating that the cutlery must be strictly silver.
This belief stems from a need to re-cork bottles once they have been opened to preserve the effervescence of the wine. Not everyone at home has corks specially made for sparkling wine and the cork that has just been 'popped' from the bottle expands too much to be reused.
In order to find out whether this was an effective method, research was carried out with experts.
The first research was carried out in 1994 at Stanford University, where a chemistry professor, doctors and various tasters opened 10 bottles and let them sit for 26 hours. After tasting all these bottles, it emerged that the wine 'corked' with a spoon had not changed compared to that left open without a cork.
In 1995, a more scientific study was carried out in France, flagged as regards sparkling wines, by a group of scientists from Epernay. During this experiment, several bottles were uncorked and, in a single environment with precise external conditions common to all wines, left to rest for several hours in order to study the actual gas pressure inside them. By comparing the bottles left uncapped with those closed with a spoon inside and with sealed corks, it was found that only the latter had effectively maintained the gas level inside.
The answer to this question is no. It is true that a spoon inserted into the neck of an open bottle of sparkling wine does not prevent the release of carbon dioxide but, if it is very cold, it can keep the air inside the bottle cold and this would slow down the loss of carbon dioxide.
The best and most effective method for maintaining the characteristics of open sparkling wines is the hermetic stopper. By using this stopper and storing the bottle in a cool place, the wine remains sparkling and fragrant, so that it can be finished at a later date without any problem. With these stoppers, you can immediately show yourself to your friends as a professional.
Plastic corks can also be used to store wine. The important thing is that the cork in question covers the entire inside surface of the bottle neck, preventing the passage of air.
One 'home-made' method is to cover the neck of the bottle with a piece of cling film, tightly sealed with a rubber band... definitely a last-minute solution.
.... the most effective method of all?
Finish the bottle once it has been opened! The less wine there is in the bottle, the more prone it is to oxidation and loss of effervescence as there is more air in the bottle.