How (NOT) To Open A Bottle Of Port

A little while ago we posted about the various ways one might attempt to open a bottle of champagne… of course, if you opt for Sabrage then on your head (or your hands) be it!

There is a unique and traditional way top open a bottle of port. It involves heat and tongs… oh and a steady nerve, don’t try this at home unless you know what you are doing!

Get yourself some port tongs

The worst thing you can do when preparing to consume a bottle of vintage port… you know… the one you’ve been waiting a couple of decades to drink… the absolute worst thing you can do is to disturb the sediment. If you do then you’ll have to wait a few days for it to settle before trying again!

Well there is an expert method of opening a bottle but it’s not for the faint hearted. The first step is to heat your port tongs until they are glowing red. Port tongs are specially shaped to close around the neck of a port bottle, and they glow red at around 500 degrees!

Once they are nice and toasty, place them round the neck of the port bottle just below the cork and grip the bottom of the bottle to stop it moving.

After waiting for a minute or so, twist the tongs sharply and hopefully you will have just snapped the top of the bottle off cleanly without sending shards of glass into your expensive vintage Port! Remember to put the very hot tongs down somewhere safe after carefully letting go of the bottle.

You can then smugly decant your port safe in the knowledge that you didn’t disturb the sediment, impressed any onlooker and avoided a horrific and painful injury.


Image of “Rabelo Douro en–Porto” by Photographer: Thomas Istvan Seibel – English Wikipedia: w:en:Image:800px-Blick über den Rio Douro auf Porto.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Rabelos are boats traditionally used to transport barrels of port down the River Douro for storage and aging in caves at Vila Nova de Gaia near Porto.

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