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This is a story I have been told many times: if you want to preserve the taste and sparkle of an opened bottle of champagne, you just need to hang a (silver) spoon in the bottle's neck.

I always applied this trick but recently somebody told me it's actually a myth.

So I started searching for it on the Internet but didn't really find a satisfactory answer on the question of whether it's a myth or not. I did find this study that claims it's a myth but also that hanging a spoon in the bottle is actually better than re-corking the bottle.

So, does anybody know some (scientific) evidence (dis)proving this claim. And, if it's disproved, maybe also a way to actually preserve the taste and sparkle of an opened bottle of champagne.

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Not sure how "official" you'd consider results from MythBusters - but their results are summarized here: mythbustersresults.com/special1, where they said "busted" –  warren Jun 21 '11 at 13:34
    
@Warren, why not make that your answer? –  Oddthinking Jun 22 '11 at 5:51
    
because it's Mythbusters, not exactly scientifically sound experimentation (though one should wonder whether such is even possible with something as subjective as taste). –  jwenting Jun 22 '11 at 12:51
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Well, I'm not sure how to quantify "taste and sparkle," but if "sparkle" means carbonation, it appears that Straight Dope tested this HERE and found it lacking. Their method was simple:

  • open three bottles of champagne
  • recork one, leave one open to the air, and hang a silver chain in the last (they didn't have a spoon small enough to fit)
  • in the morning put a condom over the top and shake to see how much the condom inflates

The recorked bottle overflowed the condom, the open bottle inflated it, but the silver chain bottle would not inflate it, regardless of how much they shook the bottle.

The Wine Lover's Page tested this HERE as well and found that both an open bottle and one with a silver spoon in the mouth maintained their carbonation overnight (makes one wonder about Straight Dope's test).

You already found the Stanford writeup (which was quite narrative and inconclusive), and @warren linked to the Mythbusters "busted" rating.

Then, just to complicate things, we have THIS writeup in which some folks took pictures of champagne that had been left open and been kept with a spoon and then digitally examined the poured glasses for bubble count and size... and they conclude that the spoon method did preserve more bubbles!

That's about all I can find on the "myth."

In terms of how to store it, it seems that the recommended method is an air-tight special stopper for carbonated wines, like are mentioned HERE and HERE. Don't know what "experts" to turn to regarding champagne storage, as there's not really scientific literature on this... but they at least do make such stoppers specifically for champagne, so I'm assuming people really do use them.

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So I guess there is no definitive answer to this question (yet). Thanks for your answer, I'll wait a little longer to see if somebody else comes up with something and then I'll accept it. –  Job Jun 23 '11 at 7:29
    
Yeah, this just seems like one of those things were no one has cared enough to do a "real" experiment. That Stanford one was so hopeful, but every bit of it was wishy-washy about the method and mechanisms at work that it really wasn't all that helpful. Bummer! –  Hendy Jun 23 '11 at 12:49
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The results from MythBusters are summarized here: http://mythbustersresults.com/special1, where they said "busted".

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