The sound of pulling a cork and then that imminent glugging of the first pour is a thing of beauty, if you are passionate about wine of course. If you are not a wine lover, then look away now.
Getting the wine open can be an art in itself and when it goes wrong it is probably one of the most frustrating things in the world (yes it is). The dreaded broken cork, or the cork crumbs in your wine is every wine lovers nightmare, so what is the best wine bottle opener to save us from cork hell?
Different Types Of Corkscrew
There are several types of corkscrew and the type that you use will depend on your own preference and/or your ability when it comes to cork extraction. You may prefer brute force and go for the basic twist and pull corkscrew and if you are a bodybuilder that’s fine.
On the other hand perhaps you struggle with strength in your hands and arms, in which case an electric opener would suit better. There are different types of corkscrew and there will be one to suit any wine lover, so don’t despair if you have had trouble with your cork extraction system to date, now is the time to fix that problem.
Now is the time to see the options available for a trouble free cork extraction system that you will get you opening your wine like a professional. Okay may be not like a professional, but at least you will be able to pick a corkscrew suitable for you and your home bar.
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Twist And Pull
It’s the basic of all corkscrews and can be effective, but can also be a power struggle too. You literally screw the worm (the metal spiral part) into the center of the cork and then get a good grip of the handle and pull.
Sounds easy, but unless you have biceps like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then it can be a struggle to say the least. It is not a good look at a dinner party when you have the wine bottle between your legs and you are going red in the face tugging with both hands on the corkscrew handle.
This of course could be down to technique, so if you have the strength or technique, then the basic t shaped corkscrew is an old favorite and a dependable bit of home bar kit. Unless you decide to buy a solid gold one, then it won’t break the bank either, they are a simple design that are cheap to buy.
The Waiters Corkscrew
The waiters corkscrew which is also known as a wine key is probably one of the most popular corkscrews known to the world and any wine lover will recognize one and probably have one too. This essential tool is used by waiters and waitresses worldwide to open wine and other bottles right at the customers table.
To use is simple, just screw the worm into the cork, rest the boot lever against the bottle rim and pull the lever upwards and that cork will just slide out perfectly (well that is the plan). There is a certain amount of strength still needed with this type of corkscrew, but not as much as the basic t shaped type as the lever takes most of the strain.
These beauties normally have a foil cutter incorporated which is to cut away the foil coating around the top of the wine bottle before pulling the cork. They also normally have a bottle opener too, which is why they are used by the trade, a versatile bit of kit.
You can get a good quality one for a very reasonable price, but like all things there are many designs which carry a higher cost to them.
This is the classic corkscrew that you will find in many cutlery draws around the world and for good reason, because they work, and they work well. Unlike the two already mentioned this is a mechanical corkscrew with moving parts and a gear system to extract any cork with ease.
They do work well, but still require a little muscle to get those corks out, and from both arms too, but it really is just a little effort needed, so don’t be put off.
Just marry the round base on top of the bottle rim and turn the handle on top clockwise and watch the two levers rise, when the levers are pointing upwards just pull them both down simultaneously until they are back to the start position and your cork is out and you are ready to pour your wine.
The top of this type of corkscrew normally doubles up as a bottle opener like the wine key type. Again these are available at a reasonable price unless you go extravagant on the design.
The Lever Corkscrew
The lever corkscrew is a nifty bit of kit and just requires only two swift motions to successfully pull a cork from its bottle neck, a simple downward and then upward motion is all it takes.
They are not effortless and still require a bit of force, but simple to use and effective too. There are two levers, one to grip the bottle neck with and the other to remove the cork.
Push the lever into the upright position and place the base onto the bottle rim, squeeze the second lever to put pressure on the neck and grip the bottle. Pull the lever all the way down which inserts the worm into the cork, then pull it back up to the start position and it will extract the cork, simple.
A satisfying bar tool to use.
Air Pressure Pump
Now here is something a little different, we are going to pump that cork out of the bottle using air pressure as our friend. Is this a genius design that removes corks without the hassle of twisting or pushing and pulling, or is it just a fad.
First you pop the wine bottle into the bag and tie the top, remove the foil and insert the needle into the cork until the base of the corkscrew is in contact with the rim. You now pump the device forcing air into the bottle and the cork will rise up until it is clear of the rim.
The idea is to insert pressure within the bottle neck causing the cork to rise up and out of the bottle. Sounds good, but bear in mind it is advised that it could make a damaged or weak bottle explode, which is why it is supplied with a bottle bag to put the bottle in whilst using this device.
It is also advised not to be used with plastic corks, so it is limited to real corks, which means you will need a second corkscrew for the synthetic corks.
I had one of these years ago, but it didn’t perform to well, and I didn’t know about the possible exploding bottle problem, Phew. Like most products though, improvements have been made in time, so it is not to be dismissed on my old one not performing very well.
Counter Top Corkscrew
These are a large bit of equipment that will not fit neatly into a cutlery draw, on the other hand would work perfectly for a home bar, as long as you have room on your counter.
As the name suggests this corkscrew fits to the edge of a counter or bar top. You place the top of the bottle into the corkscrew, pull the lever down which will insert the worm, pull the lever back up to the start position and remove the bottle. If you then pull the lever down again the cork will drop off the worm.
An effective corkscrew that are often used in a professional bar or restaurant, but if you have the room in your home bar, then this would be a great option. Less effort is needed to other smaller corkscrews because the lever is longer giving better leverage to pull the cork.
Wall Mounted Corkscrew
These are the same concept as the counter top version, but obviously mounted on a sturdy wall rather than a counter or bar top. This means that if you like this type of corkscrew, then you have more options of where to mount it.
Again used more in professional set-ups, but a great addition to a home bar. You will not get these type of corkscrews for the same cost as their smaller counter parts, these do cost a pretty penny, but are a good investment all the same.
Ah So Cork Puller
This cannot be described as a corkscrew as it has no worm to insert into the cork. Instead, it has two prongs designed to slide between the cork and the glass of the bottle neck. To use then you push the prongs between the glass and cork, then twist and pull to extract the cork.
It will take a fair bit of effort, but are good for old corks you will find in vintage bottles of wine as this bar tool is less likely to damage the cork.
This is inspired by a vintage style corkscrew and looks similar to the wing corkscrew, but without the wings. It works by inserting the worm into the top of the cork and then with the base on top of the rim turn the handle clockwise and the worm will work its way into the cork.
By continuing to turn the handle the cork will begin to rise up the body of the cork screw. One the cork is out you can spin the handle back to the top and then turn it anticlockwise and the cork will work its way off of the worm.
It looks good and work well, a nice bit of kit for any home bar.
Electric Wine Opener
This has to be the easiest way to open a bottle of wine that has a cork. It takes little effort and does the job fast. Once you have cut and removed the foil from the bottle rim, just place the electric corkscrew on top of the rim, press the down button and your cork is out. To retrieve the cork just press the up button until your cork falls off.
On average these little gadgets can open around 30 bottles of wine before they will need charging, so a good idea to think about recharging after 27 – 28 bottles, then you will not have a flat unit when you go to open your wine.
These are the best option for people who have problems with their hands, but are good for anyone and a great gadget to have at your home bar.
The Best Wine Opener
It is hard to determine which corkscrew is the best because it comes down to a personal choice. Some of us like the old traditional things in life, so might go for the vintage style or the waiters corkscrew. Then there are some of us that like up to date gadgets and would definitely go for the electric type.
The easiest to use has got to be the electric version, while the ah so cork remover is probably the trickiest to master. If most of the corks you remove are the synthetic type then these can be harder to remove than the cork ones, so a corkscrew with leverage is probably the type to go for, like a wing, a wall mounted or of course the electric type.
Maybe old or vintage bottles of wine are what you normally open, then it would be a good idea to have an ah so cork remover as these are less likely to break or damage the old cork which can become brittle with age.
Are any of the corkscrews we have covered familiar to you, then share your experience with us below, or of course if you have a different type then let us know how it performs.
Useful Tools For The Wine Enthusiast
Here are a few little tools to make your life easier when opening and serving your wine.
These are great little tools that cut the top of the foil off around the rim of the wine bottle leaving it ready for the cork to be extracted. Cheap and simple to use, there is no reason not to have one, and once you have used it you will not want to open a bottle without one.
If you do not consume a whole bottle of wine in one sitting, then it is hard to keep the wine fresh. A handy wine vacuum and stoppers are just the job to keep your wine fresh for another day.
You insert the wine stopper, attach the vacuum and pump out the air from the bottle to keep it for the next sitting, a great little tool.
If you have ever had the annoying drama of pushing the cork into the wine bottle, then you may want to look at this nifty cork retriever. A fine little gadget that can also fish out small pieces of cork if it has broken up in the bottle, by using a mesh with the cork retriever.