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Sabrage Sabotage: Why Trying to Open Sparkling Wine With a Sword Is a Bad Idea

Sabrage Sabotage: Why Trying to Open Sparkling Wine With a Sword Is a Bad Idea

From what it is and discovering the truth behind this flashy yet perilous practice to why it’s more wasteful and unsafe than you might think — find it out in our new explainer.

What is sabrage

Sabrage is a technique used to open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine by striking the bottle's neck with a blunt object, typically (but not always) a saber, causing the cork and a portion of the bottle's neck to break away cleanly. Have you seen that in movies or in Vegas? The method is primarily ceremonial and is often associated with celebrations and special occasions.

History of sabrage

Sabrage originated in France, with exact origins often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte and his army.

The story goes that during the French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic Wars, soldiers would open bottles of champagne with their sabers as a display of victory and celebration.

The tradition persisted over time. While historical accuracy is debated, sabrage has evolved into a ritualistic practice embraced by champagne enthusiasts worldwide.

What’s wrong with sabrage

Don't get us wrong, we're not against having fun. No wonder people are obsessed with the art of sabrage — what could be cooler than opening a bottle with a sword? Yes, it's a flashy trick — it's impressive. But we, as Anticelebrants, stand against it. And not only because the labor of winemakers and the gifts of nature are not to be taken lightly.

Sabrage is not chique anymore in the 21st century

While sabrage may be associated with luxury and special occasions, anyone with the proper training and tools can learn to perform it. Therefore, sabrage does not automatically guarantee you membership in a closed country club.

Most likely, you will simply make a mess and deprive yourself and those around you of an excellent bottle, perhaps even expensive and premium wine.

What a waste of fine wine

Opening a bottle of sparkling wine with sabrage typically results in the loss of a portion of the wine due to the forceful expulsion of liquid that accompanies the breaking of the bottle's neck. This is seen as wasteful, especially considering the effort and craftsmanship that goes into producing each bottle.

Environmental impact

The practice of sabrage can also lead to generation of glass shards and debris, which may pose environmental hazards if not properly disposed of.

These glass shards present hazards to both humans, domestic animals and wildlife if not properly managed. They have the potential to cause injuries if stepped on or handled improperly and can also lead to environmental contamination if left unattended. Moreover, broken glass can endanger wildlife, especially smaller animals and birds, which may mistake it for food or become entangled in it.

In summary

  • Sabrage originated in France in the period between the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
  • While sabrage may seem like a flashy and impressive way to open a bottle of sparkling wine, it comes with significant drawbacks.
  • Not only is it potentially unsafe due to the generation of glass shards and debris, but it also leads to unnecessary waste of the precious contents of the bottle. 

In Anticelebration, we believe in enjoying sparkling wines responsibly and appreciating the craftsmanship and effort that goes into its production. Let's raise our glasses to sustainability and enjoyment, without the need for flashy outdated tricks such as sabrage. Cheers!

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