A tradition of “beheading” a bottle of champagne A tradition of “sabring” a bottle of Champagne comes from the time of Napoleon. His soldiers, Hussards, when celebrating their victories, used to knock the top of the bottle with their sabre while they were on horseback. This tradition is still present in some wedding parties or informal dinners. A bottle of champagne can be opened by giving to the bottle neck a strong knock with a sabre. The top of the neck will come off leaving the neck of the bottle open and ready to pour.