There are all kinds of urban legends and so-called old wives’ tales that proclaim the health benefits, or time-saving benefits, borderline magical properties, or terrifying dangers of doing X or Y. We’ve heard them all: Don’t eat within thirty minutes of swimming or you’ll get a cramp and literally die, bundle up when it’s cold outside or you’ll get a cold (by the way, oh my god, people, stop it with this; a cold is a virus, you don’t get it from the weather), an apple a day will keep the doctor away, a watched pot never boils, etc.

It’s almost like these old sayings and legends are the pre-Internet era equivalent of lifehacks! And since we’ve sort of been on a lifehacking streak recently, we decided to give one of these a test for ourselves: Specifically, the rumor that sticking a spoon into the neck of a champagne bottle will keep it from going flat.


Our Japanese writer has pointed out that this is common practice in France, supposedly to the point that it’s kind of the default thing to do when you open a bottle of champagne and don’t anticipate finishing it in one sitting. We have no idea if this is true or not, mainly because we have never not finished a bottle of champagne in one sitting, but French readers can feel free to sound off in the comments.

Anyway, on its face, this old-timey lifehack seems too good – and too illogical – to be true.  If opening a bottle and letting a bunch of air in (seriosuly, has air ever done anything for us?) is the whole reason carbonated stuff goes flat, it stands to reason that putting a stupid spoon in there isn’t really going to do much. But, in the name of thoroughness and getting drunk during the day, we pushed on with our experiment.

Lifehack purists may be disappointed to know that we settled for sparkling wine instead of legit champagne, because what are we, made of money? But, we found it a perfectly fine substitute for our purposes in that it came in a bottle shaped like those used for champagne and is a carbonated, fermented grape-based alcoholic beverage.


Our Japanese writer tasked with running the test cracked open the bubbly and poured a fresh glass, which foamed up nicely with a rich, thin head and vigorous bubbling; pretty much what you’d want in freshly opened champagne. The writer then resolved to pour and taste a glass again an hour later, then 12 hours later, then 24 hours later, which means our writer was going to be drinking in the morning once, if not twice (please don’t try this at home).

The hour-later, spoon-in pour went swimmingly, with more or less no discernible difference.

Obviously, though, the real effectiveness of this lifehack would be determined with the 12 and 24-hour pours. Testing it out after 12 hours – the bottle sealed with nothing but a loosely dangling tea spoon – the writer found the sparkling wine to be near as bubbly and rich-headed as the fresh pour!


Finally, at the moment of truth, 24 hours later, the writer poured and, presumably, squealed in shock and delight. While the foam head was looking a little limp, the wine was as bubbly as ever and, in fact, the writer says, it tasted basically the same as the first, fresh pour.


Alas, though, there are some problems with our conclusion here. For one, a single-bottle test by a single person isn’t exactly exhaustive enough to get our results published in Scientific American. Speaking of which, that magazine actually ran a story a few years back about this very myth and noted that both an informal but scientifically sound experiment conducted by a Stanford University chemist and the revered Mythbusters found the method produces no discernible difference to not using a spoon.

So, if the spoon thing doesn’t work, why was our writer’s spoon-capped sparkling wine still sparkling after a full day? Turns out the explanation is deceptively, face-palmingly simple: Keeping carbonated beverages cold significantly slows the dissolution of gas bubbles in the liquid. Champagne and sparkling wine, it seems, are particularly bubbly from the beginning, so they’ll apparently hold for days on end in the refrigerator, even completely open with nothing obstructing the mouth of the bottle.

But, whatever. It’s your champagne. Put a spoon in it if it gets your superstitious European grandmother off your back.

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