The Champagne Dame: Spring Racing etiquette

The secret to staying classy during Spring Races with The Champagne Dame.

There’s no denying that racing season is our favourite time of year. However, while we’re all for letting our hair down and enjoying ourselves on the fields, sometimes it can be easy for the excitement of bets and champagne to go to our heads.

But what’s the secret to staying classy at the races? Expert in all things bubbles, Kyla Kirkpatrick, aka The Champagne Dame, shares her colourful top tips on champagne etiquette to ensure your on point throughout racing season.

When greeting: kisses to the left, millinery to the right

People tend to wear their millinery to the right of their faces, so to avoid collision, kiss the other person’s left cheek.

Go hands free

Juggling a clutch, hors’ d’oeuvres, betting slips and of course...your precious glass of champagne, is not an easy task. We recommend a bag with a longer strap. No one wants to be the girl asking people to hold her drink.

[RELATED: What to wear to the spring races]

Try putting off having your first glass of champagne until 1pm

Avoid wearing the ‘champagne cardigan’ and ending up face down in a hedge.


If wearing lipstick, try sipping your champagne from the same point on your glass every time, to avoid a circular mess.

Easy girl

Alternate between a glass of champagne and a glass of water.

The secret to staying classy during Spring Races with The Champagne Dame.

To the host:

‘The ears gain is the palates loss’

Popping the cork wastes bubbles. Avoiding a big pop also reduces the risk of killing someone in the room.

Sigh like a lady, don’t scream like a...

The cork should be removed so the sound you hear is a soft sigh.

Crystal clear

Dusty glasses will destroy the bubbles. Also detergent residue in your glassware is a bubble murderer. Rinse champagne flutes in hot water.

Avoid drips

Before pouring, the neck should be wiped clean.


Always pour your champagne with the label facing up out of respect to the winemaker.

Pour slowly to avoid overflow

A glass of champagne should be poured until it is ¾ full. And if there is a bulb (curve) in your glass – this is the apex of the glass – do not pour higher than this point.


Yes you clink, and declare santé! Which is to drink to good health.

The glass matters!

We advise you not to pour into the traditional flute glass. They may be pretty but these glasses cause for less aroma and do no justice to your glass of French. Best way to serve champagne is in a tulip glass-which produces more bubbles, finer scents and crisp flavours. If you don’t have a tulip use a white wine glass.

The secret to staying classy during Spring Races with The Champagne Dame.

How to drink:

Don’t be a bowl grabber!

Hold your glass by the stem. If you hold by the bowl, it will warm your champagne.

Do not swirl.

You will be left with flat champagne. Let it sit.

Hold eye contact when you santé

As the French superstition goes- you don’t want seven years of bad luck.

Divert your gaze while sipping your drink!

You should direct your stare into your glass, as opposed to making eye contact with someone while taking a sip.

Words by Rebecca Petrusic of The Champagne Dame