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Posted in: Liquors Wine

5 Ways To Open A Bottle Of Wine

So you’ve decided to open a bottle of wine tonight. That’s great, but how should you go about it? With single-use corkscrews and other gadgets costing from five to upwards of twenty bucks each, if you have more than a few bottles in your collection, the costs can add up quickly. 

It doesn’t need to be that way, though! The same tools our ancestors used are available today at a fraction of the cost, and there is no reason not to use them every time you open a bottle.

In this article, we’ll cover five different methods for opening a bottle of wine – anything from pulling out a cork with nothing but your bare hands (yes, really!) all the way up to using an electric drill. Of course, if you’d prefer not to pull any corks at all, there’s always the option of using a wine key. That said, this list is primarily focused on pulling corks, so let’s get started!

1. The “Twist and Pull” Method

This method will work with most standard wine bottles that have un-twist-off caps. If they are plastic, it’s likely they won’t be very tight, though, and will twist off easily instead of coming as one piece with the cork inside. Still, some wines are bottled under screwcap or with plastic stoppers rather than corks these days, so it still might be useful!

If your bottle does have a simple metal cap like this one, then simply grip the neck of the bottle firmly with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Using slight pressure, twist the cap back and forth while applying force downwards on it until it pops off. If you have trouble removing the cap with just your bare hands, then try gripping both sides firmly between a folded towel or rubber gloves to give yourself better grip strength.

Once you’ve removed the cap, pull up sharply on the cork with two hands to remove it from its resting place inside the bottle. With any luck, most of it will have remained intact, so unless you plan to re-cork later, all that’s left is to pour yourself a glass! While many people prefer a simple corkscrew for this type of task, I personally find it a lot easier to use a simple slotted table knife as you can grip the neck of the bottle very firmly and have total control over how much force you apply.

2. The Wine Knife

This method will work with virtually any wine bottle, particularly those with a plastic cap or screw caps. It’s actually a refinement of the “twist and pulls” method from above made possible by using an actual corkscrew rather than just pushing down on the cork with your fingers.

If you’re going to use this method, it’s best to choose a long-bladed, relatively wide corkscrew such as this one. To start, simply pierce through the center of the cork at an angle about halfway between its edge and where it meets the neck of the bottle.

Once you’ve created a whole, push down on the wine knife to drive the cork into the rest of its contents. This will create a point at one end which can then be used as a lever to pull up on to remove the cork from the bottle without splashing or causing other issues that you might with just pushing directly down on top of it.

3. The Waiter’s Corkscrew

The waiter’s corkscrew, otherwise known as an “Ah-So,” is likely what your dad first used when he started learning how to open wines and is probably what your grandfather first learned as well! While many people opt for more expensive and elaborate versions these days unless you’re going to re-cork your bottle, it doesn’t really matter, so this type will still work fine.

The waiter’s corkscrew is a simple device that looks something like a large metal “S” with a handle on each side and an extra small one at the bottom for leverage. To use it, simply insert the pointed end of the upper arm into the center of your cork as shown above and then pull up on both sides. 

This should cause the cork, trapped between two sets of sharp metal prongs, to be ejected from the bottle as you pull upwards. You can then remove it entirely by pushing down on whichever part remains below the lip of the bottle after removing the holder’s arms.

4. The Electric Corkscrew

These are very handy for quickly removing corks from multiple bottles at once; however, they’re not really suitable if you just want to open one bottle on your own. They also work best with long cork types as short ones will likely fall right into the bottle after popping out due to having less sticking out past the lip of the neck.

 As such, unless you intend to re-cork them afterward, electric corkscrews are probably only good for opening bottles that are shared between multiple people or stored up high where they won’t be knocked down by accident. 

One quick note about electric corkscrews is that some experimenters have found that pulsing them slightly while pulling upwards can sometimes help remove broken corks.

5. The Scissor Method

This is a very simple method that can be done without any tools at all. It’s also the one I personally use the most, although it does have some limitations.

To do this, simply grip both ends of the cork between your fingers and push down towards the bottle with one hand while pulling up on the neck with the other to pop out the cork over time until you can remove it in full. If using this method, you’ll want to avoid using corks that are too short as they won’t get enough purchase on top of the lip of the bottle once “popped” loose by pushing down.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different ways to open a bottle of wine, and not all of them need to draw on fancy tools or expensive gadgets. Keep in mind that most homes will likely already have at least two or three of these methods available, with one or more being better suited for opening certain types of bottles than others. 

Regardless, it’s good to be familiar with all options and their general strengths and weaknesses so that when opportunity knocks (because someone brought over some wine and didn’t bring an opener!), you’ll be ready with any one of several great ways to open a bottle!