Losing your sparkle

By | January 4, 2008

Over the Christmas and New Year I encountered yet more people who insisted that putting a spoon in the neck of a half full Champagne bottle will keep the bubbles fresh. There are different theories, some believe that the spoon needs to be silver, some that the metal doesn’t matter. None are able to offer any explanation of how the system works, but are insistent that it does.

None have ever thought to test out the theory with two bottles, one with a spoon, one without. Why not? Er… well, because it works? Er … No!

We did leave a bottle with a steel teaspoon in, Sheffield Steel no less. The following evening the wine sparkled, the bubbles bubbled. Why? Because we’d put the bottle in the fridge and it had stayed cold, and the carbon dioxide was just too lazy to disturb gravity. Three days later there were still some bubbles. The wine tasted awful, but there were bubbles. You can increase the number by using a dirty glass if you really want to.

Putting a spoon in a bottle top does not work, putting sparkling wine in the fridge does, a bit, but drink up, sparkling wine only sparkles to make you happy. Keeping it for a week is just mean -like pinning a butterfly or caging a songbird it’s an affront to nature.

The good people at Stanford went to the effort of demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the spoon, you can read their research (which does tail off a bit in rigour the more they drink) here.