Dorothy "Dottie" J. Gaither and John Brecher are the founders of Open That Bottle Night. In the January 25, 2008, issue of the Wall St. Journal they present an OTBN Primer. The full article is well worth reading, but in case you aren't able to locate it, here is an interpretation of some of the highlights:
1. Choose the Setting. Alone with a special loved one, at a dinner party with friends, or in a restaurant that permits BYOB.
2. Select the Bottle. The important concept is that the bottle of wine or champagne have a special significance, not that it be particularly expensive or prestigious.
3. Stand it Up. Sediment sometimes forms inside wine bottles, so you should set the bottle vertical position a few days before OTBN to let it settle to the bottom.
4. Watch the Temperature. Both reds and whites are best served at about 55F (12C).
5. Watch the Cork. Old wine-bottle corks may crumble during removal. If that happens, pour the wine through a coffee filter into a carafe until all the cork particles are separated.
6. Watch the Oxygen. Older, fragile wines are quickly damaged by oxygen in the air. Keep them closed up.
7. Have a Backup Wine Available. If your favored bottle has gone bad, you will still be able to enjoy the evening.
8. Share Your Thoughts. Everyone should say a few words about the significance of their bottle.
9. Give it Time. Gaither and Brecher report that they often hear of bottles of wine that becomes more delicious as the evening progresses.
10. Enjoy the Wine as It Is. At its heart OTBN is about memories, not about wine.