A silver spoon keeps wine fizzy: True/False?

Once you’ve had a few, of course, this can sound more plausible than it really is. It’s a hint with a long history but sticking the handle of a silver spoon in the neck of the bottle does not keep sparkling wine fizzy.

I’m not sure why people keep at it after the first go, but I suspect many who attempt it don’t want to think they’ve done something quite silly-looking for no discernible purpose. Much better for the brain to conjure up a perceived improvement, release some endorphins and move on.

That’s why tricky psychological factors must be curbed when testing this one, and when you do that — keeping the judges and their palates ignorant of which wine has been spooned and which just left open — there is no detectable difference in bubbles or taste.

And there really shouldn’t be. It’s one of those apparently trivial things that, if true, would require a good deal of physics and chemistry to be rebuilt from the ground up. Luckily it is false, so science can concentrate on furthering the frontiers of knowledge, perhaps by discovering where all my ballpoint pens keep disappearing to.

Anyway, sparkling wine gets its sparkle the same way other carbonated drinks do: carbon dioxide is dissolved in the liquid, and the higher the pressure the more can be dissolved. When you open the bottle the pressure drops suddenly and the carbon dioxide starts springing out of solution in the form of countless tiny bubbles. The principle is the same whether the gas gets there as a by-product of natural fermentation or through more forceful artificial means, and either way it has nothing to do with the close proximity of spoons, silver or otherwise.

If you want to keep any drink fizzy then don’t bother with a silver spoon, just make sure the bottle is sealed airtight. If only it was as easy to keep sparkling wit from falling flat my job would be a lot easier — though I think it’s safe to say a silver spoon won’t help with that, either.

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