How to Open a Wine Bottle

Written by Robin Brown on October 25, 2022
Wine openers are available in various sizes, shapes, and designs. These versatile tools have multiple functions but share the same purpose of opening bottles. Almost everyone owns a bottle opener due to its undeniable usefulness in removing caps. But what exactly is a bottle opener? It is a tool used to remove metal lids from glass bottles. It is commonly associated with wine-related equipment for removing corks or seals from wine bottles.

There are numerous distinctive designs for bottle openers. Hand-held bottle openers are more commonly found and used in households, while wall-mounted openers are often seen in bars. Although the appearance and feel of bottle openers can vary, their functional components remain relatively consistent. These components typically include a tooth or lip to grip the underside of the cap, a lever to apply force for removing it, and often a mechanism for mechanical advantage.

Types of Bottle Opener

Waiter’s Corkscrew

The waiter's wine tool remains a popular choice for wine openers due to its simplicity and portability. To use this opener, you screw it into the top of the wine cork, position the lever on the edge of the bottle's rim, and pull the cork out with force.

Twist And Pull Corkscrew

The twist and pull wine tool gained popularity due to its user-friendly nature and relative obscurity compared to other mentioned alternatives, as it requires more effort to remove the cork. Simply insert the corkscrew and pull!

Wing Corkscrew

The wing wine tool remains the most classic type of wine opener in use today. Although it requires more effort compared to other openers, its popularity has declined in favor of more advanced wine equipment. To use a wing wine tool, start by screwing the metal worm into the cork, then push the two wings downward to release the plug.

How Can You Open a Wine Bottle?

Utilize a screw, screwdriver, and a hammer

One of the safest methods on our list is to use a screw, screwdriver, and a hammer, although it requires strength and flexibility. Insert a large screwdriver into the cork, leaving a few millimeters exposed. Secure the back of the screwdriver and remove the cork by pulling it out. After completing the task, you may need a towel to wipe away the sweat from your forehead.

Push the Cork

This method, like others on the list, is safe but has limitations. Insert the handle of a wooden spoon or similar object into the cork and gently pry it out. However, removing the cork completely can be challenging, especially if it is old and prone to breaking. If the cork does break and ends up in the wine, strain the wine to remove any cork fragments before pouring it into a decanter.

Hook It With a Hanger

While this technique is usually simple, you will have to say goodbye to one of your wire hangers as it won't be suitable for hanging clothes anymore. Insert the wire into the wine bottle alongside the cork and twist it 90 degrees. Hook the wire beneath the cork and lift to remove it. If the hanger gets stuck, use pliers or another household tool to remove it, ensuring your safety by wearing gloves or having a towel nearby.

Pump It Out

This method is relatively straightforward. Attach a bicycle pump to the cork directly and pump air into the chamber. As you pump, the pressure should gradually push the cork out of the bottle.

Twist It Out 

This technique is similar to using a key to remove the cork. Instead, twist the cork while inserting keys or a serrated blade at a 45-degree angle into the cork's prominent point. After a few turns, the cork should start to protrude. Ensure everything is securely inserted to avoid any injury.

Strike the bottle against a wall after wrapping it in a towel

Exercise caution as this method can be quite dangerous. Wrap the narrowest part of the wine bottle in a thick towel (or double up for added safety) and gently tap it against a wall. Be careful not to break the bottle initially, as you won't have an opportunity to remove the cork if it shatters. Gradually tap the bottle against the wall to gradually loosen and remove the cork.

With a shoe, slap it out

This method is similar to the previous one but slightly less risky. Wrap the bottom of the wine bottle in a towel and place it between your thighs. Use a shoe to strike the bottle and dislodge the cork. While it may take some time and effort, it is a safer alternative than method 6. Be cautious, as you might end up with a mess or stains if you don't stop before the cork completely emerges.

Heat the cork to remove it

This method is a discreet way to achieve your goal. Apply strong heat from a blowtorch or lighter to the neck of the wine bottle just below the cork. The cork should rise due to the heat and eventually fall out of the bottle. Ensure the bottle is not cold, as the sudden temperature change could cause it to break. If the bottle has been intentionally chilled, allow it some time to return to room temperature before applying heat.

Use scissors to open the bottle

This is a simple approach that utilizes common household items. Insert one of the scissor's blades into the center of the cork. Be careful not to injure yourself. Once the blade is pressed in, curve the scissor handles and pull up on the cork while bending to remove it from the bottle.

Use a string to pull the cork

For all the DIY enthusiasts, this method involves using a string to remove the cork. Carefully create a small hole in the cork using a screwdriver. This might require some effort. Once the hole is made, tie a large knot at one end of a string and push the knot through the hole using a screwdriver. Once the knot reaches the other end of the cork, gently pull the string to extract the cork. Remember to strain the wine and transfer it to a decanter if any cork fragments disintegrate into the wine.

Final words

There are two primary types of wine bottle openers. The first type is a wine tool that utilizes a single screw. The screw is inserted into the cork and twisted down until it grips the cork tightly, allowing for its removal from the bottle. This type of wine opener can be enhanced with side levers to stabilize the bottle and an additional lever to facilitate a smoother extraction. Many restaurants also offer efficient wine tools with levers designed for quick and easy cork removal.

The second common type of wine opener features two sturdy prongs. Instead of piercing the cork, these prongs are inserted between the cork and the bottle's edge, creating friction that enables the cork to be rotated and pulled out smoothly. This type of wine opener requires some practice and may take time to become proficient with. However, once mastered, it significantly reduces the risk of damaging or dropping the cork. If you're still undecided about which type to choose, we recommend considering custom bottle openers.

Article written by Robin Brown
Robin Brown is part of the content team at Vivipins where he develops resources to help customers start and grow their own businesses.
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