Tips & Tools for Opening a Wine Bottle with Finesse

Overhead view of wine corkscrews, spouts, and stoppers spread out on a wooden table.

Seems pretty basic, but sometimes those corks can be tricky to get out of the bottle. Here are a few tips, tricks, and gadgets to make opening a wine bottle easier.

Wine bottles come with 3 different types of closures.

  1. Cork – traditional method.
  2. Screw top – new method that is becoming more prevalent and acceptable.
  3. Glass – new method that is still pretty rare and may not gain much traction.

We’ll focus on the traditional cork because I’m certain you’ve got the screw top covered and the glass closure is still pretty rare.

Removing the Foil

Wine bottles are finished off with a foil wrap that covers the cork and the top portion of the bottle. You’ve no doubt seen waiters use their wine key that has both a corkscrew opener and knife. They use the knife to cut the foil under the ridge at the top of the wine bottle. This is never very easy for me to do. So, I use the foil cutter wine gadget. This is very easy to use and you get the same effect.

A foil cutter makes it easy to remove that pesky foil on wine bottles. Just squeeze, twist and voila!

Extracting the Cork from the Wine Bottle – a Few Options

There are quite a few types of corkscrews out there. The key is to try a few and see what works the best for you, while keeping the cork in tact. You don’t want a corkscrew that is always leaving pieces of cork in the bottle.

Wine Key

The wine key looks the most professional. This is what you’ll see waiters use. They are slim and easily portable for picnics and outdoor concert venues. I prefer the double pull, since it gives better leverage throughout.

To use the wine key:

  1. Turn the corkscrew into the cork until only one screw ring is left showing.
  2. Now press the first pull to rest on the rim of the bottle and hold it there.
  3. With the handle facing you, put the palm of your hand under the handle and push up.
  4. Then readjust to position the second pull on the rim of the bottle and hold it there so that it doesn’t slip.
  5. Push the handle up as before. The cork should come out with this last pull. If it’s not quite out, then wiggle it back and forth a bit until it fully comes out of the bottle.

Wing Corkscrew

The Wing corkscrew is inexpensive and easy to use. This is a pretty fail safe way to open wine bottles.

To use the Wing Corkscrew:

  1. Just place the round bottom of the corkscrew on the rim of the wine bottle and hold it in place.
  2. Then twist the top of the corkscrew (typically this is the bottle opener) until the arms come all the way up and the screw is all the way in the cork.
  3. Put both hands on the arms/wings and push down. The cork should extract completely. If it does not, then just wiggle back and forth a bit until it fully extracts the cork from the wine bottle.

The Rabbit Corkscrew

This looks like serious hardware and does take up some room, but is actually quite effective.

To use the Rabbit corkscrew:

  1. Just wrap the two handles around the rim of the wine bottle, holding the handles together with one hand. The top lever will be open because it controls the screw.
  2. Push the top lever towards the two handles. This will push the screw into the cork.
  3. Then pull the lever back to where you started. The corkscrew will be extracted.
  4. Let go of the two handles and take it off the bottle.
  5. With this tool, I’ve never had to wiggle the cork. It always comes completely out of the bottle.
  6. To remove the cork from the tool, close the two handles around the cork and pull up on the lever. The cork will come right off.

Enjoy your practice! And enjoy that wine!



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