8 Ways To Open a Wine Bottle (Including If You Don’t Have a Corkscrew)

Corkscrew

The vast majority of wine bottles these days are either sealed with a screw cap or a cork, (wine in a box doesn’t count). And whilst screw caps make for easy opening, a lot of wineries are opting for the cork preservation method again, after a brief hiatus caused by low-quality cork manufacturing in the 1980s.

And so corks have made a comeback, as not only are they a natural, renewable resource, but they have proven time and again that they can preserve the contents of a bottle of wine for the long haul.

Yes, corks might be 2-3 times more expensive than screw caps, and yes, natural corks breath at variable rates meaning they are mildly unpredictable, but there is no escaping it, worldwide demand for corks is on the up.

Therefore learning how to open a wine bottle either with a corkscrew (or one of our alternative ways as suggested below), is definitely a skill you will need as a discerning wine drinker.

1. How to use a waiter’s corkscrew to open a bottle of wine

  1. First things first, you need to remove the foil that covers the cork.
  2. Simply run the knife of the waiter’s corkscrew around the rim of the wine bottle and peel the foil away.
  3. Place your corkscrew in the centre of the cork and push it down slightly, pressing the sharp screw into the cork.
  4. Rotate the corkscrew clockwise whilst asserting pressure, forcing the corkscrew to turn into the cork.
  5. When you’ve twisted the corkscrew into the cork approximately halfway down the cork, or until the last coil of the corkscrew is covered in the cork, or until you can push the first step of the fulcrum against the lip of the bottle, you’re ready to remove the cork.
  6. Lever the cork out of the wine bottle using the step of the corkscrew to help you.
  7. When the cork is halfway out, position the second step of the corkscrew against the lip of the bottle and prise the remaining cork out of the bottle.

2. How to use a wing corkscrew to open a bottle of wine

  1. As before, remove the foil that covers the cork of the wine bottle.
  2. Place the corkscrew in the centre of the cork and push it down slightly, pressing the sharp screw into the cork.
  3. Rotate the corkscrew clockwise, asserting pressure, forcing the corkscrew to turn into the cork until the last coil of the corkscrew is buried into the cork.
  4. Whilst you are twisting the corkscrew, the wings of the corkscrew will rise automatically as the corkscrew embeds itself in the cork of the wine bottle.
  5. Place your wine bottle on a flat surface and using both hands, press down equally on the wings of the corkscrew at the same time. As you draw the wings into the neck of the bottle, the pressure of this action will cause the cork to lift out of the bottle.
  6. If the cork is not fully removed by the wing corkscrew, simply pull it the rest of the way out gently by hand.

3. How to use an electric corkscrew to open a bottle of wine

  1. As before, remove the foil that covers the cork of the wine bottle.
  2. Place the electric corkscrew over the centre of the cork.
  3. Press and hold the extraction button on the electric corkscrew until the cork is fully removed.

How to open a wine bottle if you don’t have a corkscrew

Now, if you don’t have a corkscrew, don’t panic, all is not lost.

There are numerous ingenious ways people have come up with to gain entry into a bottle of wine, without spilling a drop. So if you find yourself in a wine emergency – you have in your possession a beautiful bottle of wine, but no corkscrew, here are 5 ways you can get to that nectar.

4. The screw method

This method of opening a bottle of wine relies on having a toolbox to hand.

  1. Take a long screw and using a screwdriver, drive the screw into the centre of the cork.
  2. Rotate the screw until it has an inch or so left above the cork.
  3. Next, locate a hammer and upend it, positioning the pincers of the hammerhead underneath the screw.
  4. Gently lever the screw and cork out of the bottle of the wine bottle.

5. The wooden spoon method

This one isn’t so much an extraction of the cork, as pushing the cork into the wine bottle.

  1. Remove the foil that covers the cork of the wine bottle.
  2. Locate a long-handled wooden spoon and push the handle down into the top of the cork.
  3. You will need to exert a large amount of force to push the cork down, but persevere and the cork will slide into the bottle of wine leaving you with a bobbing cork and access to the contents of the bottle.

6. The wall method

This one is not for the faint-hearted. You’ve been warned.

  1. Wrap the wine bottle in a towel ensuring the sides and bottom of the bottle are completely encased in the towel.
  2. Holding the wine bottle and towel in one hand, bang the bottom of the bottle of wine against a wall, hard, consistently, until the cork starts to slide up and out.
  3. When enough of the cork is free, pull the rest of it out of the bottle by hand.

7. The hit it hard on its bottom method

This one is similar to the wall method, only without the wall.

  1. Take a seat.
  2. Hold the bottle of wine upturned between your knees and with a flat soled shoe, rhythmically slap the bottom of the bottle of wine until pressure forces the cork out.
  3. Stop slapping when the cork is part way out or you could find yourself in a wine covered mess.
  4. Remove the rest of the cork by hand.

8. Heat the wine bottle up method

If you’re prepared to sacrifice a bottle of wine and make some mulled wine out of it, this method is an easy one to remove the cork from a bottle of wine.

  1. Put a pan of water onto boil.
  2. Take the pan off the heat once the water has begun to boil.
  3. Place the bottle of wine (having removed the foil cover) into the hot water and wait for the cork to slide out of the bottle.
  4. Throw away the hot water and empty the bottle of wine into the pan and make mulled wine from it, because let’s be fair, no one likes drinking warm wine.

So there you have it, 8 ways to open a wine bottle, including if you don’t have a corkscrew. Have you ever had to try one of these methods? Or have you found your own way to open a bottle of wine? Let us know.

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