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Why Do Champagne Corks Expand After the Bottle is Opened?

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Why do champagne corks expand after opening the bottle?

Kyle Kurani:

It all depends on how long the cork has been in the bottle. Champagne starts its life with a crown cap (a beer bottle top) with a little yeast and sugar inside to make it bubbly. After staying under that cap for at least 15 months (the law in champagne), it then gets disgorged and the cork that we see gets put inside, then shipped over to us. That cork is just one big cylinder, uniformly shaped; they all start out looking like the one below. Since most champagne is consumed relatively quickly, the cork doesn’t have time to compress; it wants to go back to the size it was when it was forced in.

If you ever open an older bottle of champagne—I have had some that has been “on the cork” for 30-plus years—the cork comes out shaped like a mushroom and does not expand at all. It has had plenty of time to get compressed and hold that shape. Even one or two years on the cork will make a noticeable difference in how much it can spring back or not.

As a side note, aging your non-vintage champagne for one year makes a huge difference in how the wine tastes. If you can afford to tuck a case in your closet for a year and start replacing the old ones with new bottles when you drink them, you will be greatly rewarded!

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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The Annual Festivals That Draw the Most People in Every State
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Every state has that one big event each year that draws residents from across the region or even across the nation. Louisiana has Mardi Gras. Kentucky has the Kentucky Derby. South Dakota has Sturgis. Genfare, a company that provides fare collection technology for transit companies, recently tracked down the biggest event in each state, creating a rundown of the can't-miss events across the country.

As the graphic below explores, some states' biggest public events are national music and entertainment festivals, like Bonnaroo in Tennessee, SXSW in Texas, and Summerfest in Wisconsin—which holds the world record for largest music festival.

Others are standard public festival fare. Minnesota hosts 2 million people a year at the Minnesota State Fair (pictured above), the largest of its kind in the U.S. by attendance. Mardi Gras celebrations dominate the events calendar in Missouri, Alabama, and, of course, Louisiana. Oktoberfest and other beer festivals serve as the biggest gatherings in Ohio (home to the nation's largest Oktoberfest event), Oregon, Colorado, and Utah.

In some states, though, the largest annual gatherings are a bit more unique. Some 50,000 people each year head to Brattleboro, Vermont for the Strolling of the Heifers, a more docile spin on the Spanish Running of the Bulls. Montana's biggest event is Evel Knievel Days, an extreme sports festival in honor of the famous daredevil. And Washington's biggest event is Hoopfest, Spokane's annual three-on-three basketball tournament.

Mark your calendar. Next year could be the year you attend them all.

A graphic list with the 50 states pictured next to information about their biggest events
Genfare
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Alexa Can Now Help You Find a Wine Pairing
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Even if you enjoy wine regularly, you may not know exactly how you’re supposed to pair it with food. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to put together a good pairing at home. According to Lifehacker, you can just ask Alexa.

An Alexa skill called Wine Finder is designed to help you figure out which wine varietal would go best with whatever food you’re planning to eat. You just have to ask, “What wine goes well with … ”

Created by an app developer called Bloop Entertainment, the Amazon Echo skill features a database with 500 wine pairings. And not all of them are designed for someone working their way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The skill will also help you find the proper pairing for your more casual snacks. In one demo, the skill recommends pairing nachos with a Sauvignon blanc or Zinfandel. (Note that the latter also goes well with Frito pie.)

You can also ask it to find you the perfect wine to drink with apple pie and pizza, in addition to the meats, cheeses, and other wine-pairing staples you might expect. However, if you ask it what to pair with hot dogs, it says “water,” which is an affront to hot dog connoisseurs everywhere.

There are a few other wine-pairing skills available for Alexa, including Wine Pairings, Wine Pairings (two different skills), and Wine Expert. But according to user reviews, Wine Finder is the standout, offering more and higher-quality suggestions than some of the other sommelier apps.

It’s free to enable here, so drink up.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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