Opening a Wine Bottle

To open a bottle of wine is to indulge in a sensory experience that carries with it thousands of years of history. For nearly 200 years, the act of releasing wine from the bottle has involved removing a cork-and removing a cork can range from the most simple of acts to a real challenge. We’ve been opening wine now for more than a few years, and we’d like to share a few of the tips we’ve learned.

Using the right tools

Since the 1800’s, corkscrews have become increasingly sophisticated in terms of style, diversity, and user-friendliness. There are primarily two types. The more traditional type, which includes the waiter’s corkscrews, winged corkscrew and Screwpull, has a twisted prong to screw into the cork and then pull out. The other type is technically not a corkscrew but more of a puller. The two-pronged Ah-So squeezes the cork around its sides for removal. The waiter’s corkscrew, with its small size and simplicity, is the one most commonly used by wine professionals. Winged corkscrews require less leverage, as the cork comes out when the handles are pushed down. Easiest of all is the Screwpull, which extracts the cork simply with continuous turning of the handle until the cork inches up the screw and out of the bottle. Test as many different corkscrews as you can to find the type you’re most comfortable with.

Left over cork?

Despite the many rumors around the act of smelling or feeling a cork, the only thing you really need to keep a cork around for is to remind guests what they’re drinking if the wine has been decanted. Otherwise, corks may be discarded or put to practical use around the house protecting the sharp end of tools and knives.