Wine agony aunt

Will an open bottle of champagne stay bubbly if you place a teaspoon in the neck?

Can rubber power bracelet thingies make you an Olympic athlete? Is it true you can't get pregnant the first time? If you fail to forward a chain email to your entire contact list, will a baby unicorn die? Just how gullible are you?

In my misspent youth, I rated a perfect 10 on the Teaspoon Gullibility Scale. I'd open the bubbly, pour a glass or three and place the bottle in the fridge with an inverted teaspoon in its neck. Later we'd pour the rest and - what do you know - the wine was still fizzy! I was poor and perennially thirsty, and since my mates and I generally finished the bottle before bedtime, I don't recall testing the theory overnight in any meaningful way.

Happily, more rigorous and scientific minds than mine have taken the Teaspoon Theory seriously enough to subject it to proper testing

Teams from the French champagne industry body, New Scientist magazine, Stanford University and even television's MythBusters have all had a crack.

Some have gone so far as to check whether a stainless steel teaspoon or a silver one does a better job. The consensus appears to be that a spoon of any kind does nothing: wine treated this way overnight is generally about as fizzy as wine left in a bottle in the fridge with no covering of any kind.

If the wine is still passably bubbly the next day, that may be due to the way the bubbles got there in the first place. The kinds that are fermented via the traditional method - where the bubbles come from bottle fermentation - have more longevity than those added to the wine by carbonation, as is the practice with soft drinks and some cheaper sparklings.

You can buy all sorts of gadgets to help you keep the bubbles in your bubbly. These days I favour a simple, inexpensive rubber stopper with stainless steel wings that clamp onto the bottle's neck. In the long run, it's arguably safest to buy good stuff in the first place - and drink it in one night. What are friends for?

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This story Wine agony aunt first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.