Wine Tools | Corkscrews

Man opening a wine bottle with cork sealant by using a winged corkscrew and lifting up the levers, pulling the cork out

Who else is so used to having screw caps on their wine that when they suddenly have a cork sealed bottle it's a mad scramble to find some kind of tool to open it up? With our wines being imported from France all our wines are sealed by cork, so next time you reach for a Frenchy bottle don't forget to have one of these corkscrews on hand so you can enjoy every last sip! 

Simple - Twist and Pull

Traditional style corkscrew, twist and pull

Earliest corkscrew design (Great Collectors Items) - Harder to use - Require a lot of effort - Affordable “pocket” versions

The original design, still utilised by a few, the simple twist and pull design is an elegant and traditional concept that is becoming more of a collector’s item than a tool for opening wine. With it’s simple structure of a solid wooden, or other material, base and a solid worm in the centre like a T, it doesn’t hold much secrets into how to open the bottle. A slight twist of the worm and a lot of brute strength when pulling is the key to popping a cork with one of these corkscrews. For those lacking in muscle or simply don’t have the energy it would not be the ideal option. 

But as small, affordable, and sleek products it always pays to have one on hand if you happen across a cork sealed wine bottle, also allows for a moment of prowess as you pop the cork in front of your amazed friends.

Waiter’s Friend (AKA Sommelier’s Knife)

Waiters Mate, corkscrew

Affordable - Easier than a simple twist & pull - Lightweight and portable - Can take time to master - Usually comes with a foil cutter

The most popular and most synonymous with sommeliers is the Waiter’s Friend corkscrew. Providing the perfect pocket size corkscrew with the added support of a wine key to leverage the cork out slightly easier than a simple corkscrew. Similar to a Swiss Army knife it folds up neatly when not needed providing the perfect option for on the go, many even have a bottle opener attached too for those friends that opt for an alternative beverage to wine. 

This is often the recommended purchase for any wine lover starting off with wines sealed with corks, coming in at a reasonable price and not requiring as much muscle as a simple corkscrew. Skill is still required though to ensure you don’t break apart the cork, be mindful when it is an older bottle and the cork more fragile. To smoothly pull the cork out, make sure you get the worm into the center of the cork and screw it in enough for a solid grip but not so deep that it pierces the bottom of the cork (could leave cork floating in your wine!). Then with the lever/wine key resting on the rim of the bottle, keep it at a steady angle to then pull out.

Winged Corkscrew

Winged corkscrew

Popular - Affordable - Effortless - Not ideal for older wines - Less portable

Aside from the simple corkscrew pull the Winged Corkscrew is one of the oldest, and affordable, designs. Many people have these as staples in their kitchen drawers but started to turn away from them when travelling due to the size and bulkiness. But if you don’t mind putting in a little effort into allowing yourself a nice glass then this would be a perfect option. With the straight vertical design there is no need to worry about lining it up correctly or twisting at an angle. The design allows you to place the device on top of the bottle, then applying force you twist the worm into the cork allowing the ‘wings’ to slowly elevate. As the wings have gone as high as they can, you can stop twisting the worm and press down the two wings at the same time to leverage out the cork with ease. To avoid breaking the bottleneck many of them have rubber inlays to soften the connection between the metal and glass. The only thing to keep in mind is the brittleness of aged wine corks, as the Winged corkscrew may cause it to snap or break, but if you enjoy sticking to younger wines then it will not pose a problem.

Lever Corkscrew

Lever Corkscrew

Easy to use - Quick and efficient - Can be pricey - Don’t always work with synthetic corks

If you like your wine instantly with no effort required then the Lever Corkscrew is your new best friend. With a nice solid base you can fix the lever to the bottle neck and press down the lever, inserting a rod into the cork, then pull back up. There’s your bottle open and ready to drink. Slightly easier than a winged corkscrew, there is less muscle required, with the handles holding the bottle in place as the worm is inserted. The catch is simply that it costs a few extra dollars, but if it means saving your sanity and allowing you access to the wine sooner then it might be worth it in the long run! Just take note that if it is a bottle with a synthetic cork it may not work as well, so always have a spare corkscrew on hand that can work with them.

Advances on this design include the Rabbit Corkscrew. It has three levers rather than one and requires little to no physical strength. It uses two levers for securing the bottle in place with the third to leverage the cork fully.

Electric Corkscrew

Electric corkscrew

Easy to use - Super quick - Cost a bit more - Battery or Rechargeable options - Popular gift idea

Zero effort, all the wine? Yes please. Perfect for the beginners that have no time or no idea of how to pop a cork out of a stunning bottle of wine. The electric corkscrew helps prevent any attempt to accidentally break or crack a cork within the bottle upon removal. The most important rule with this style is to keep it charged and on full battery, there is nothing worse than craving a glass of wine then having to wait half an hour to be able to open it. To use these devices you simply secure the bottle in place and put the device on top of the bottle, with a click of a button the worm will do its work and you will have a freshly popped bottle of wine. The main pitfall is the cost, slightly more pricey than a lever corkscrew and much more expensive than the winged designs. But overall, you will not be out of pocket a ridiculous amount and if it means getting to your wine sooner then you are more than welcome to treat yourself to an electric corkscrew.

Tabletop/Legacy Corkscrew

Legacy corkscrew

Expensive - Not Portable - Less on the Market - Decorative and functional - Perfect for wine collectors

A highly popular option among the wine connoisseurs that have home bars or cellars to fix their corkscrews too. With a few options out there, you can purchase highly decorative versions that are not just an art piece but a signifier of an elite wine drinker and collector. They are often fixed to bars or walls in which you simply place the bottle under the corkscrew and use a lever to press the worm in and pull the cork out. Still requiring a bit of manual labour, it is more about the look and prestige of having one rather than the effortless nature. Mounted corkscrews also reduce risk of broken corks or bottles with the added bonus of stability, ensuring the bottle doesn’t slip away with a firm clamp on the bottle. The cost is high but even some restaurants find the ease of use outweighs the cost, with high-end restaurants often needing to pop corks efficiently and without mistake

Cork Puller

Cork puller with cork between prongs

No worm to screw - Lots of strength required - Best for brittle corks

Not a corkscrew? Not quite, considering there is no worm to screw into the bottle cap, but still a highly effective way of opening up that beautifully aged bottle of red. Easily stored and carried as it is a very compact design, it has two prongs attached to a handle. The prongs are slid down between the cork and bottle, then with a simple twist and pull the cork will be released. This does require a lot more strength than most options, similar to the original design of the corkscrew. But provides one of the best options for the older bottles of wine that have more brittle corks that could break apart with the screwing in.

Air Pressure Pump

Air Pump cork remover, wine bottle opener

Another option without the worm inserted into the bottle is the Air Pressure pumps. Utilising a thin metal rod that pushes all the way through the cork to the bottom it pumps air into the bottle until the cork is forced upwards and out of the bottle. Some have automated elements and some are manual pumps to get the air into the bottle, the manual versions do require some muscle but as it is more lever style it requires minimal effort overall in comparison to the original simple models. With the automated options the cartridges full of air often need repurchasing and refilling which can get quite expensive.

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