How to Open a Wine Bottle

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So you need to open a bottle of wine, but it stresses you out. We have all been there! Wine openers can be complex and difficult to operate at first, but once mastered, it is simple. Learn how to use the two most common wine openers.

How to Open Wine Bottle With Corkscrew

The most common corkscrews are a winged corkscrew and a wine key. While both types are affordable, readily available, and simple to use, improper application can result in cork breakage. Here's how to utilize both.

1. The Wine Key

wine key

A wine key contains three parts: a foil cutter, a lever, and a corkscrew. The foil cutter is used to remove the foil from the top of your wine bottle. Press carefully to pierce the foil cutter right above the first ridge at the top of the wine bottle. Circularly turn the bottle so the cutter goes all the way around the neck. Remove the foil top. Insert the corkscrew into the center of the cork and twist clockwise until fully inserted. Place the shorter notch on the lever (the metal arm!) on the wine bottle's lip, then lift up the handle to remove the cork. Pull up until the cork is entirely removed. 

2. Corkscrew with Wings

corkscrew with wings

Remove the foil from the top of your wine bottle with the wine key. Twist the top handle to further insert the corkscrew into the cork. (Hint: the top handle also serves as a beer opener!)When the corkscrew is within the cork, use both hands to press down on the opener's "wings" towards the bottle's core. The levers lower, the cork rises! If it is not totally out, twist the corkscrew deeper into the cork and repress the wings. Grab the opener's bottom and the bottle with one hand and carefully wiggle out the remaining cork.

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How to Open Wine Bottle Without Corkscrew

There are more ways to open a bottle of wine than there are ways to seal them. Many of these methods run the risks of breaking the cork and having it shed into the wine, or chipping the wine bottle. If you have a rare and/or expensive wine that would break your heart if broken in this process, we'd advise you to wait until you've got a corkscrew.

1. Use a long screw, a screwdriver, and a hammer.

This is arguably the safest option on this list, but it does need some guts and patience. Simply insert a screw (ideally long) into the cork with a screwdriver until only one inch or so remains. Then you pull the cork out with the backside of the hammer.

2. Push the cork in with the handle of a wooden spoon, or any blunt object similar in size.

Once inserted, the cork is nearly impossible to remove. It may crumble and fall into the wine when pushed in. If you are drinking with pals and intend to finish the bottle, do not panic. Pour the wine through a filter into a decanter.

3. Hook ‘em With a Hanger

Then insert the wire into the sealed wine bottle, bending the hanger tip 30 degrees back. Pull the wire up 90 degrees so the hook is underneath the cork. Tie the hangers if they get trapped.

4. Twist It Out With Keys or a Serrated Knife

Using a 45-degree angle, insert your keys or a serrated knife into the cork and move the top in a circle. The cork should come out after a few rotations. Be cautious to securely push your things into the metal cork, as it may crumble under strain.

5. Apply Heat to Move the Cork Out.

Heat a wine bottle's neck with a blowtorch or lighter. The heat should push the cork upward and out of the bottle. If your bottle is already chilled, let it warm up before heating it.

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