For some god-awful reason you’re not finishing that bottle of sparkling wine you popped. We’ll assume it’s something like a fire drill or maybe an inclement Sharknado. Either way, the bubbles are going bye-bye for now and you’d kind of like to save them.
Fortunately, this is an era bustin’ with wine gadgets. You know, like the temporary tattoo that can tell you if and when you’re blotto? Among the sundry gizmos and wine accessories out there are plenty of stoppers that promise to keep your bubbly bubbly. Most of them are actually very affordable—a bunch under 10 bucks. But most are also fairly similar, and limited, in what they can do to prevent your Champagne from going flat. According to reviews for the various products we checked out on Amazon, there’s a slight consistency of flimsiness, basically the old “cheap but not very powerful” kind of thing. We’re OK with that when it comes to eating ramen noodles for every meal, but not necessarily when we’re trying to preserve the actual Champagne we actually bought with our own actual money.
So what can you look for, if anything, in a Champagne stopper? The major factor, clearly, is the tightness of the seal. Lots of the cheapest stoppers have shorter seals or simply don’t fit over the lip of every bottle. But they’re also pretty cheap, meaning they’ll probably do better than stuffing some paper towel in the bottle (everyone does that, right?), and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg to replace.
Below are five fairly varied Champagne (or Prosecco, or Cava, etc.) stopper styles, roughly representative of what you’ll find out there. If you’ve had luck with other kinds, let us know. We’re always interested in figuring out how to preserve Champagne. On the other hand, we’re always also more interested in just finishing the damn bottle.
This is basically the classic style of cheaper Champagne stopper you’ll see on the market (the Fante below is similar). It’s only $10 and supposedly fits all standard Champagne bottles, but according to one low review “it’s just barely providing enough downward pressure to hold the gas in.” If you look at the slightly short nub that’s supposed to go into the bubbly bottle, that does seem to make sense. But another extremely pleased consumer “didn’t detect ANY loss of carbonation.” Chances are it provides a moderate level of gas preservation for a shorter period of time.
Not really sure how to make the title of this one succinct and catchy, so we’re just going with 3-piece set, which includes a standard wine stopper as well as Champagne and soda stoppers that promise to “preserve the fizz” by pumping air into the bottle to pressurize it. Only one bad review, but a lot of the 5-star reviews are suspiciously lengthy—like mandatory 8th–grade essay lengthy. One reviewer even admitted she “received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest opinion.” Despite all the murky shenanigans, it does seem like a good option at $20; and the idea of pumping air into the bottle (rather than vacuuming out) is intriguing, although the oxygen won’t do your bubbly any favors over time.
This is kind of Amazon-coasting here but on the other hand, this one has a high number of 5-star reviews (and a higher number of reviews overall). Still just $10 here but with a silicone seal that promises to hug your Champagne bottle mouth a little bit tighter. The single 1-star review said this stopper “breaks easily,” but the 92% of 5-star reviews generally raved. One reviewer said the stopper actually kept the bubbles so well “it completely popped off and almost hit my face.” Word to the wise. A bit like the Franmara, and as inexpensive.
You’ll get an “airtight seal,” presumably even with the bottle lying down, say on top of a carton of eggs because your fridge is a nightmare (they all are, except in commercials). It says it’s “100% leak proof,” but here’s the rub: it’s got a specific diameter that only fits most bottles. And if you check the 14% of negative customer reviews, you’ll see that was a serious issue for more than a few customers looking to keep the sparkle in their wine.
Yes, it comes in a black satin bag (sold yet?). You even get a “Storage Date Dial, which helps you set reminders” (the 3-piece set Champagne stopper includes a similar date fixture). But the real selling point here is similar to the 3-piece set, with a sort of reverse vacuum thing going on. Apparently the locking clip creates an airtight vacuum, while the pump “helps to prevent the oxidation process … by injecting air into the bottle.” We’re not scientists, but injecting oxygenated air into the bottle doesn’t seem like step one in the fight against oxidation.
So to conclude, sure these stoppers may help a little, but in all honesty, you’re probably better off just finishing the bottle, or freezing your leftovers!