In Hannibal, season 3, ep 1, Antipasto,

There is a scene where waiters open sealed wine bottles with an army sword by cutting them open.

sword opening bottle

Do people really do this in real life? I am not even sure this practice is safe, as it is possible for people to drink broken glasses from their wine.


Is it real?

Yes, it is. It's called Sabrage

Sabrage is a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber, used for ceremonial occasions. The wielder slides the saber along the body of the bottle to break the top of the neck away, leaving the neck of the bottle open and ready to pour. The force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle. One does not use the sharp side of the blade. The cork and collar remain together after separating from the neck.

Is it safe?

Pretty much.

A champagne sword (sabre à champagne) is an instrument specially made for sabrage. Some swords have short blades, around 30 centimetres (12 in) long[5] and resemble large knives, although others have longer blades. The edges of the blade used should be blunt—a sharpened edge is unnecessary because in sabrage it is the impact that is important. If using a sword with a sharp blade then the flat blunt back of the blade is used. A champagne bottle can be opened with a spoon using the same method.

The bottle neck is held at an angle of approximately 20 degrees and the sword is cast down on it. The experienced sommelier can open the bottle with little loss of champagne. However, it is advised to allow a small flow in order to wash away any loose shards of glass that may be adhering to the neck. The first glass poured should also be checked for small glass shards

  • 4
    Article & video of them doing this on QI with Sandi Toskvig, from the latest series. idk if it's visible worldwide or just UK - radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-06-18/… – Tetsujin Nov 12 '20 at 9:57
  • And how is this not irrelevant trivia? Because you know the answer? – Hannover Fist Nov 24 '20 at 23:43

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