Mike Parker

Popping the Cork on Champagne

Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 9:41 AM
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Part of the fun of celebrating the New Year, your team winning the Super Bowl, a wedding, graduation or just about anything else is toasting the event with champagne. That happy little ‘pop’ as the cork flies across the room signals the beginning of the festivities. But just how fast does a cork from a bottle of champagne fly through the air? Inquiring minds want to know!

Consider this: the typical pressure inside a bottle of champagne is around 90 psi; roughly equivalent to the pressure of an 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck tire. According to a study published by the published by the Journal of Food Engineering, it depends at least in part on the temperature of the champagne; the warmer the wine, the faster the cork flies. If you pop the cork on a bottle of champagne at 64 degrees (F), it will shoot out at around 33 miles per hour. Drop the temperature to 39 degrees (F) and the rates drops to just under 24 MPH.

But the ideal temperature to serve champagne is a crisp, 55 degrees (F), according to Wine Spectator. At that optimum temperature you can expect the cork to travel at a rate of around 29.5 miles per hour – fast enough to cause some serious damage if it hits someone in the eye. When opening a bottle of champagne, regardless of the temperature, use caution to avoid turning a celebration into a trip to the emergency room.