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Sabered wine bottles in Baldwin fail to rack up Guinness record

Butch Yamali, owner of the Coral House in

Butch Yamali, owner of the Coral House in Baldwin demonstrates sabering or beheading a bottle of champagne, while manager Frank Esposito, right, and entertainment director Adam Panetta, look on in anticipation of their New Year's Eve world record champagne sabering attempt. (Dec. 31, 2013) Credit: Daniel Brennan

Most of the bottles were spared the knife.

An attempt in Baldwin to set a record for slashing open the most number of sparkling wine bottles with the blade of a saber knife in one minute fell short. But the attempt at a New Year's Eve party managed to draw buzz about a bizarre French ritual believed to have originated among the officers in Napoleon's army.

Minutes after midnight, the manager of the Coral House set out to slice the tops off green bottles of sparkling wine after a dry run earlier in the day before staff and members of the media. The catering hall was serving 1,000 for dinner that night, and the owner said he wanted to add drama to the proceedings after he had brushed up on the history of the tradition, "l'art du sabrage." He had even secured a $400 knife from upstate Mount Kisco.

In the end, the record, listed at 32 in one minute on the website for Guinness World Records, proved too challenging.

The ritual, attempted outside the catering hall so shards of glass and splashes of sparkling wine did not reach celebrating patrons, was begun by manager Frank Esposito, owner Butch Yamali said in an interview Wednesday. After 30 seconds of slicing, Esposito had opened five or six bottles and, with the odds against him, the competition was no more.

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