Can you open a bottle of wine with your shoe?

Short answer? Maybe.

As shown in this video made by the Provence winery Mirabeau, it's certainly possible (for wines sealed with a cork):

But if you've tried to do this in reality you'll know that it is nowhere near as easy as it looks.

Here at The Tasting Glass we've given it a red-hot-go several times now and can confirm that unless you have shoes with a firm soul (like dress shoes) it simply doesn't work. Ditto if the heel of the shoe isn't reasonably even (so sports shoes with tread are no good either). Further, it doesn't work with cheap plastic corks and many conglomerate corks too.

What we have worked out, however, is that you don't even need to use a shoe at al. Rather, if you just line up a wall/floor/door/any hard surface at just the right angle you can open a bottle that way. All you need is a constant rhythm and a little patience.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a bottle and try it for yourself!

(Photo by Quinn Dobrowski)

Red wine could be good for your mouth too!

According to a report out in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry this month red wine could help to combat gingavitis and mouth pathogens.

Spanish researchers found that the polyphenols in red wine helped to stop the adhesion of oral pathogens Porphyromonas gingivalisFusobacterium nucleatum, and Streptococcus mutans in a human mouth model.

By stopping the adhesion, the pathogens never get started, which ultimately means a healthier mouth with less cavities and less mouth infections.

We'll drink to that!

(Photo: Andrea Henk)

Wine could help cure writers block and make you more creative

Every poet and writer in history seemed to have been fuelled by alcohol in one shape or another, and previously we've all just written it off as a danger of the job.

But could alcohol actually boost creativity?

In research published last month in the journal Consciousness & Cognition, a group of Austrian scientists have demonstrated that a glass of beer (or indeed wine) can help to boost abstract thinking and improve creative problem-solving.

Led by Dr Mathias Benedek from the University of Graz, the research team tested the cognition of a group of 70 participants using blind trials. Half of the group drank non-alcoholic beer, the others full-strength, with tests administered before and after drinking.

The results showed a particular increase amongst the full-strength drinkers in a 'Remote Associations Test' - which shows the ability to creatively link three unrelated words.

Of course, there has to be a downside, and the drinkers also scored lower in 'executive control', which means that some of their organisational skills might be impaired. A price worth paying?

As Benedek explained in an interview with The Independent, this 'might well work for someone who is sitting down to do creative writing or brainstorming ideas in a boardroom.'

The study also notes that the benefits are likely to be limited to very modest amounts of alcohol. Still, it does make it even easier to justify pouring yourself a glass next time you're in need of inspiration...

How do you open a bottle of Champagne?

How do you open a bottle of Champagne?

Deep down inside, we're all F1 drivers.

Sometimes, when you pick up a bottle of Champagne, you just can't help but get a little carried away, imagining that you're standing on a podium, wreath wrapped around your neck, trophy in hand, with that bottle of fizz just aching to be sprayed over an adoring crowd.

Or maybe that's just me.

Most of the time, however, we don't want to be covering anyone in fizz, preferring to aim the liquid towards our glass instead (crazy talk).

So how do you open a bottle of Champagne?

Ideally you want to open a bottle of bubbly the right way - i.e., with as little mess and sound as possible. Why the lack of noise? Well, classically when opening sparkling wine it was considered the pinnacle of service to open it without any pop at all. Just that refreshing gurgle as it pours into the glass.

The quest to achieve such noiseless perfection starts with how you hold it. Firstly, you need to grab the bottle by the scruff of the neck. Ahh, hold on, just grab the bottle. Then, the next thing is to place your hand over the top of the metal cage (aka the muselet) and aim the bottle away from your face/friend's face/anything breakable. This is a safety precaution as Champagne corks travel at up to 40km/h

Next step is to remove the muselet. Intriguingly, the universal number of turns that the wire cage requires to undo is 6 turns (or 3 1/2 half turns). Always. Sounds odd, doesn't it? Some more info about exactly why it's 6 is here

At this stage, it is important to keep the bottle pointed away, and one hand on the top (again, safety). One hand on the cork/muselet, one on the bottle. Next - and this is the clincher - you want to turn the bottle, not the cork. It sounds odd, but trust me, this allows for much better control. While turning, keep the cork pressed into the bottle as hard as possible - a move that also allows for more control.

Finally, as you feel the cork start naturally 'popping' out of the bottle, you want to slow it right down to get that all important non-sound. Press down, and slowly - as slow as possible - ease the cork out of the bottle. Then hey-presto! Out comes the cork without any sound and you look like a pro (and without anyone losing an eye/spilling any Champagne)!

Of course, if you'd like to know more about Champagne and sparkling wine, come along to one of our tastings today! All the details can be found right here

P.S. There is another, much more dramatic way to open a bottle of Champagne that involves a sword. We'll get to that in a subsequent post.

(Photo by Ginny)