Learn the Art of Sabrage

Learn the age-old technique of opening a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine with a sabre.

The history of Sabrage is mysterious and various legends exist about its true origins. Today, the dramatic and impressive art of Sabrage lives on. Book a Sabrage Experience at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, to see this proud tradition demonstrated in our historic Mansion House. And learn how to perfect the technique of Sabrage yourself. We also offer guests a complimentary bottle of Benguela Cove Curvee 58 - to enjoy, whichever way you choose to open the bottle.


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The Sabrage Experience Includes:

  • Traditional Sabrage demonstration

  • Learn the Art of Sabrage yourself

  • A bottle of Benguela Cove Cuvee58

Available at 11:00 and 14:00 daily. Booking is required. £18.00 per person


Origins of the Art of Sabrage

The history of Sabrage is mysterious and various legends exist about its true origins.

One popular version springs from Napoleon’s belief that taking champagne was necessary, both in the euphoria of victory and in the trauma of defeat. As Napoleon’s soldiers returned from battle, crowds would offer them bottles of Champagne as tokens of thanks.

Mounted on horseback, it was too cumbersome for these soldiers to simultaneously keep hold of the reins, unwrap the foil, remove the wire basket around the cork and pop open their bottles of Champagne. Fortunately, Napoleon and his armies were armed with brass hilted sabers. According to legend, one industrious soldier drew his saber, and struck a deft, upward blow against the lip of a bottle - successfully sabering the Champagne. From there, the art of Sabrage became a calling card of the Napoleonic armies.

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According to another legend, the art of sabrage originated at the vineyards and house of Champagne owned by the widowed Madame Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot).

It is unclear whether Napoleon's soldiers were protecting Veuve Clicquot’s estate - or whether they were frequent guests, given their love for Champagne. Several versions of this myth exist as well. Some say Mme. Clicquot thanked the soldiers by offering them bottles of Champagne and glasses. Which the mounted troops struggled to open - whilst holding onto the reins and glasses. So the soldiers Sabered their bottles instead. Others say that the soldiers would Saber their last bottle of Champagne as they rode out of Clicquot’s vineyards, in order to impress the widow.

Today, the dramatic and impressive art of Sabrage lives on. Book a Sabrage Experience at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens, to see this proud tradition demonstrated in our historic Mansion House. And learn how to perfect the technique of Sabrage yourself.

We also offer guests a complimentary bottle of Benguela Cove Curvee 58 - to enjoy, whichever way you choose to open the bottle.