You’ll see dozens of sparkling wine stoppers with wings that clip over the bottle top to try to keep the bubbles in part-drunk fizz. The stoppers we looked at have added extras and claim to work better.
Ordinary, unsecured wine stoppers or putting the cork back are dangerous options. Even when half empty, there’s high pressure in a bottle of sparkling wine, and unsecured stoppers can fly off and do serious damage.
Maintaining pressure is the main job for sparkling wine preservers. Champagne and other sparkling wines are less prone to oxidation than wines because the typically high acidity and the high level of dissolved carbon dioxide are protective.
Our experts tried two champagne and sparkling wine preservers you can buy easily and two of the most popular DIY methods: a wad of kitchen paper and a teaspoon in the bottle.
…then tightly wrapped in plastic wrap held in place with an elastic band.
Verdict: Worse than nothing.
How easy to set up? Moderately easy
How easy to use? Easy
How easy to clean and put away? n/a
Does it do the job it says it should? The prosecco scored 1/5, same as the control, but had only a prickle of fizz left. The champagne scored 2, had retained a little more fizz, but had also taken on a papery flavour.
Pros and cons: A safe but not effective seal.
We used modern, stainless steel teaspoons, the same model on both prosecco and champagne, hung in bottle neck as soon as we had poured.
Verdict: Keep your fizz in the fridge and your teaspoon in the drawer.
How easy? Very easy.
Does it do the job it says it should? Our experts had always taken this for an old wives’ tale. So it came as a big surprise when the prosecco sample under spoon scored 3/5 and the champagne a not-far-from perfect 4. We were left wondering if the teaspoon method would work better than a completely open bottle, and whether temperature would make a difference. We decided to test further.
Second round: We tested four bottles each of the prosecco and champagne. As before, we poured two 125ml glasses from each bottle. For each wine style, between tastings, we refrigerated one bottle wide open and one bottle ‘spooned’.
We left matching pairs of wine bottles in a cool, dark room at about 18°C. By the seventh day, both sets of warm wine had lost most but not all of their bubbles. The chilled prosecco, with or without spoon, scored between 2 and 3, ‘less to fairly acceptable’, while the chilled champagne scored 3, ‘still fairly acceptable’.
Conclusion: The spoon had no effect. There was no difference in sparkle between bottles left completely open and ‘spooned’ bottles. Bottles kept chilled in the fridge kept their sparkle much better. And (bottle-fermented) champagne kept its fizz better than (tank-fermented) prosecco.
Pros and cons: Cheap and easy. Less effective for prosecco
Only logged-in Which? members can view the sparkling wine preservers test results below.
If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the sparkling wine preservers we tested.
All prices correct as of October 2020.
This patented Champagne Pressure Stopper has metal wings to clamp over the bottle and a big button on top to hand-pump air through a valve into the bottle and restore the pressure required to maintain the fizz. The metal is thin and a little sharp.
Claims: Will preserve fizz for well over seven days, possibly for more than two weeks
A sturdy stopper/pourer for sparkling wines. The stopper clips by three tiny plastic hooks to the bottle rim. A plastic pouring spout protrudes from the top. When a metal ‘skirt’ is pushed down, a rounded plastic seal swivels into place. Lift the skirt to serve. It looks smart and feels nice to hold.
The marketing blurb claims it’s been: ‘Designed to keep the champagne sparkly and minimize oxidation. Once locked onto the bottle, the handle opens to allow perfect, non-drip pouring and closes to keep the champagne fresh.’
Our experts were:
Charles Metcalfe, wine taster and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge (IWC)
Kathryn McWhirter, wine taster, author and translator