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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sparkling Wines

champagne pouring into a flute

It may be the most celebratory beverage on earth, but that doesn't mean sparkling wine should be reserved for special occasions. Effervescent elixirs—from Italian prosecco to champagne—are budget-friendly enough for any meal. Our recommendation? Brush up on your sparkling savvy and pop a cork. Here are ten fun things we're guessing you didn't know about sparkling wines.

1. What's in a name? In a regulation dating back to the Treaty of Versailles and enacted in the U.S. in 2006, the term "champagne" can be used only for sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France—with the exception of a few U.S. producers with an established history of making "champagne."

2. Sparkling wine bottles can be stored upright in the short-term, but should be kept on their sides for lengthier aging. This prevents the cork from drying, deteriorating, and exposing the wine to too much oxygen.

3. Ideal storing temperature is slightly lower than room temperature (50–59°F); serving temperature should be a bit lower than that (around 45°F).

4. On average, traditional-method sparkling wine, in which fermentation or carbon dioxide is responsible for the bubbles, is bottled under 5–6 atmospheres of pressure or 73–88 psi—over double the amount of pressure in an average car tire.

5. It takes precisely six half-turns to untwist the wire cage enclosing a sparkling wine's cork. This piece is known as a "muselet," French for "muzzle," and serves to hold the cork in place against the pressure within.

6. Uncork with caution: A cork can reach speeds of 50 mph.

7. When pouring, hold your glass at a 45° angle: This will reduce the speed the bubbles hit the glass and maintain a soft, sparkling texture. Patience is the key to prevent your glass from being filled entirely with bubbles.

8. A standard (750 mL) bottle contains around 49 million bubbles.

9. Sparkling wines' sweetness, labeled from a low brut nature to a high doux, most often comes when a small amount of dosage is added at the winemaking process.

Sweetness indicator Grams of residual sugar per liter
Brut Nature < 3
Extra Brut < 6
Brut < 12
Extra Dry 12–17
Dry 17–32
Demi-Sec 32–50
Doux 50+

10. Neither stirred nor shaken: Contrary to his oft-quoted mantra, James Bond is seen with champagne in hand at least 35 times in his namesake movies—more than any other beverage (including martinis).