July 28, 2008

A Really Expensive Bottle of Champagne

I was working on the grassy knoll behind the Lab over the weekend. And cleverly rammed a pick through a buried length of PVC pipe connected to the sprinkler system. After 10 minutes of watching the water gush out like the fountain at the Bellagio, I remembered to shut off the water-main.

I then immediately popped a bottle of Champagne.

Champagne is bottled at about 6 atmospheres of pressure. Roughly the same as the pressure of the air inside the tires of a double-decker bus. To withstand the pressure, the bottle glass is thicker and the corks sturdier.

The corks doesn't always have that classic mushroom shape. The cork starts out a solid tube about 3x the size of the bottle neck. The lower half of the fat cork gets squeezed into the narrow neck. The longer it stays there, the less it bounces back to it's original diameter after opening. So I picked something only recently disgorged (I think).

I took the cork and jammed it into the puncture I'd made in the pipe. The cork quickly expanded, stoppering the leak like a little Dutch boy's fat thumb.

It's hardly a permanent fix. So I'm waiting on a repair estimate to know just how much that bottle of Champagne is going to cost. My guess is somewhere between "You're kidding, right?" and "Seriously, that much?"

Truth be known, I was so traumatized by these events, I don't even remember what I opened. Might have been a Spanish Cava or something method ancestrale?

Anybody recognize the cork?

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