Let that bottle of Champagne show your support of frontline medical personnel

Posted on April 30, 2020

“In victory, you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it.” Whether it was Napoleon who said it first, it is a line well known among Champagne aficionados, as is the art of sabering — opening a bottle of Champagne with a sharp thrust of a saber, a practice common among Napoleonic troops.

That is the inspiration for the We Drink Bubbles wine club’s “Saber the Moment” challenge, which invites Champagne lovers and others to video themselves in the act of sabering and post it online to raise money for frontline medical personnel and their families during the COVID-19 health crisis.

“The thing that has kept me sane is that I’ve been with my family, playing games and watching movies,” explains Shiloh Caffrey, owner and founder of Encinitas-based We Drink Bubbles. “Putting myself in the shoes of someone who can’t do that right now — I thought anything we can do to show support would help.”

As for sabering, “What a great way to open a bottle of Champagne!” Caffrey exclaims.

Though a well-known practice, many Champagne lovers have never attempted it, and Caffrey thought Saber the Moment would be a fun way to get them to try. “When there’s a challenge, people are always a bit braver about new things.”

Done properly, sabering leaves a perfectly clean opening and it is far quicker and less tedious than removing the cork, which in Napoleonic times was held in place with twine. Present-day practitioners are advised to remove the wire cage. There are step-by-step instructions and how-to videos on the We Drink Bubbles website, and Caffrey has gotten some great responses. “People say, ‘That was my first time. I loved it. That’s how I’m opening Champagne from here on out.’”

So far Saber the Moment has raised close to $2,500 for Off Their Plate, a national grassroots movement started by medical students, restaurant owners, hospital leaders, and private citizens to support the food service industry and provide nutritious meals to hospital teams and their families.

“When I found Off the Plate, I knew it was perfect,” Caffrey says. “I think a good meal lets people know they’re loved and cared for, and because I’m such a foodie, supporting local restaurants is a bonus.”

Twice over the past decade, Caffrey and her family have packed up for Montone, Italy, a town in Umbria near the Tuscan border. It was there, drinking the local bubbly, that she came up with the idea of We drink Bubbles, which focuses on hand-crafted Champagnes and sparkling wines. For more information on the Saber the Moment challenge, visit wedrinkbubbles.com.