Sharon Schweitzer: Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide

Sharon Schweitzer, founder of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide joins us with timely tips for your New Year’s Eve gathering.

New Year's Eve is just a couple of days away, and many people around the world will be celebrating 2016! But there are a few things you need to know before toasting at midnight! Sharon Schweitzer, an Austin-based cross-culture consultant and founder of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide joins us with timely tips! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @WeAreAustin and find us on Facebook at We Are Austin Lifestyle Show.

Sharon Schweitzer's Tips for KEYE Viewers

1. The History of Champagne: Champagne, once traditionally served only at the coronation of French kings, is now strongly associated with New Year's Eve festivities around the world. The beverage was reputed to have been invented in the 1600s by the monk Dom Perignon. He discovered that the best Champagnes were made from blends of the Champagne grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay) from different vineyards in the Champagne region, north of Paris.

2. Bubbly Personality: Champagne is still-wine that has had sugar added and has been through a second fermentation, and it is this that leads to its effervesce. The smaller and faster the bubbles, the finer the champagne. Scientists have determined that there are 95 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne!

3. Corkage Etiquette: Opening the bottle the proper way will ensure you avoid creating a spray, injuring someone with the cork, or spilling a drop of this precious liquid! It is best to hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, grasp the champagne cork gently with the one hand and turn the bottom of the bottle firmly with the other hand. Be sure to twist the bottom of the bottle slowly, until you feel the cork gently release in your hand.

4. Sabering Champagne: Legend has it that Napoléon's mounted artillery officers started the trend of sabering. While riding a horse, these soldiers used a blade to cut the top off a champagne bottle with the cork still attached to it. This dramatic presentation requires precise preparation, and is often used for show today by experienced wine connoisseurs. The bottle must rest upside down for 60 minutes in ice so that it's very, very cold. The swordsman removes the bottle from the ice, slowly turns it upright so that it's at a 45 degree angle with no fluid touching the cork. He or she touches the blade to the shoulder of the bottle, then uses a follow-through movement with the blade -- using the elbow; not the wrist -- to remove the cork quickly. While sabering a bottle can seem glamorous, it is also very dangerous and is not recommended unless you're a professional. In addition to losing life and limb, you could also end up with shattered glass in your Champagne!

5. Toasting Etiquette: Clinking your glass is optional. If you're a guest, you may choose to clink or not to clink depending on the hosts and other party-goers. If you're a host, the best rule is to be sure the guests are happy. Avoid comments such as, "I don't clink," because this might causes those wanting to clink their glasses to feel uncomfortable. As always, the most important rule of etiquette is to ensure that others feel comfortable in your presence. Cheers! Salute!

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