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Uncorking Champagne: Lots of fun until someone loses an eye

December 18, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • Eye experts warn that a Champagne cork can be launched at nearly 50 mph.
Eye experts warn that a Champagne cork can be launched at nearly 50 mph. (Sundialgroup.com )

Just in time for the holidays, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is warning of the dangers of popping Champagne corks.

Sure, it looks cool to send a cork zinging across the room. But the eye guys note that the typical Champagne bottle contains as much as 90 pounds of pressure per square inch. That's basically more pressure than found inside most car tires.

As a result, a cork can be launched at a speed of nearly 50 mph.

You know what they say: It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Well, that's the message from ophthalmologists.

The academy has a helpful video on its website demonstrating the do and don'ts of successful Champagne uncorking.

Here are some basic tips:

Chill sparkling wine and Champagne to 45 degrees or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.

Don't shake the bottle (duh). Shaking increases the speed at which the cork is ejected.

Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders, while placing a towel over the top of the bottle and grasping the cork.

Other than all that, enjoy yourself.


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