A muselet is the wire cage that fits over (and holds firmly in place) the cork of a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine to prevent the cork from ejecting under the pressure of the carbonated wine inside.
The name muselet derives its origin from the French word museler, to muzzle. The muselet often has a metal cap incorporated in the design which may show the name, logo, emblem or creative design of the producer.
Then on most occasions the muselet is normally covered by a branded metal foil envelope or capsule. Muselets are sometime also known by the name wire-hoods or Champagne wires, or cork cage.
When Champagne was first produced in the 18th century - the pressure of the sparkling wine was contained by wooden plugs wrapped in an oil-cloth and sealed with wax. As you might imagine this method proved inconsistent either from the wine leaking or blowing out of the stopper - so a method of restraining a cork using a cord was then developed.
It was in 1844 that Adolphe Jaqueson invented the more secure method of restraining the cork by using steel wire. However the early muselets designs were not easy to install and proved a little inconvenient to open. Further developments over coming years led to the modern muselet design - which is made of steel wire twisted to add extra strength and with a small loop of wire twisted into the lower ring which can be untwisted to release under control the pressure of the muselet and give access to the cork stopper.
Originally made by hand - today Muselets are now machine made in there millions. A further modern development has been the production of personalized caps within the muselet on which are displayed the colourful emblems or name of the Champagne of Sparkling wine producer. For some these may even vary in designs and artists impression used from year to year and between different manufacturers to become collector items.
This has stimulated an enthusiastic market for the collection and trading of these caps and displayed the world-over. To know how to open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine with confidence: click here: