There are tons of wine opener choices. Corkscrews come in a variety of styles, from traditional to novelty, and have been around since the 1700’s.
I’ve had my standing wine opener for over 20 years. I paid about a hundred bucks for it…then. It has an oak base and handle and an antique bronze mounted corkscrew. It’s easy to use with just a pull of the lever. About 5 years ago I bought one for each of my daughters. From the beginning and to this day neither of theirs has worked as well as mine. They are wobbly, have a cold hard granite base. (Not good if you let the bottle slip out of the clamp… learned that one the hard way!)
The standing wine opener looks great on the bar top. All you have to do is insert a wine bottle into the clamp, pull the handle toward you and the corkscrew, also known as “the worm” (yuck, I know!) enters the cork. Then you hold the bottle, release the clamp, and push the arm back to pull the cork out. It’s not rocket science, people!
Well, in my family, apparently I’m the only one that can use it properly. My sisters and daughters have failed miserably, all with the same result as my brother who recently tried. Not sure how, but he managed to push the cork into the bottle of wine, splashing 1/3 of the bottle onto my off-white (now slightly pink) living room wall. I have now covered that area with 4 tin ceiling tiles as a new back splash.
My girlfriend uses a battery-operated wine opener. To me, it’s like the difference between reading a paperback book verses reading your story on a kindle. Both get the job done, but you’re cheating yourself out of the feel of the paper and the smell of the ink—Tradition! Without manually twisting the corkscrew and by just pushing a button you miss out on earning the tease of the first whiff of tartness or sweetness depending on what you are opening. Again, Tradition! As I was reading about this type of wine opener “for the (wo)man who has everything,” I actually read in one advertisement… “for those who find opening wine a hassle.” Really? A hassle? How sad!
By the way, she also had a “Rabbit” or lever corkscrew. I’ve never seen it in use, it seemed to be on display only. The reason I know it was for opening wine is because I asked. I asked what was with the “dental tool displayed on the bar.” She informed me, “it was a very expensive tool for opening wine. It was engraved. It was a gift.” Ummm…ok.
So, if you don’t use a standing wine opener or an electric corkscrew maybe you use a vintage styled table model corkscrew with a continual turning handle to lift the cork straight out, probably the most eloquent way to open a bottle. Or, possibly you use one of the several varieties of a winged or butterfly corkscrew with two levers that, once you screw the corkscrew (still can’t say the word “worm”) into the cork, it lifts the cork out with minimum effort.
Of course, if you are in the business, you use a wine key. Also known as a “waiter’s friend” or “sommelier’s knife”. This double hinged, double lever opener folds like a pocket knife, some even have bottle opener and a knife to slice the foil. (As if you can’t just use the sharp end of the screw to slice off the foil!) You’d be surprised at how many restaurant waiters my husband (yes, the Rum Drinker) and I have taught to use their wine key! Scary, I know!
By the way, for those of you who don’t happen to have a butler, a butler uses the “Butler’s Friend”: A Two-Pronged Cork Puller. (Guess they don’t like to twist!)
Since I brought up the Rum Drinker, his favorite wine opener is the simple hand-held T-shaped corkscrew- wood handle, metal worm. (OK there, I said it!) And, we both have that “emergency portable corkscrew” – the plastic corkscrew that uses the cover of the screw to form the handle of the ‘T”-- in our car, and one on the boat, and one in my purse, and one in the tackle box, and one in my night stand, and one in… well, you get the picture!
I spend a lot of my daytime hours writing, reading and/or researching for my writing. I start in the morning, after an online yoga or barre class, when my brain cells are at their freshest. A few diet cokes and left-overs for lunch easily get me through to around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I wrap it up then if I have a previously scheduled appointment or errand to run. If I have neither, I continue on until 5 pm. (My wine time is the carrot on the stick that gets me through those last two hours!) Recently, I have been researching fairy tales and fables for a writing project (More on that front later!).
I came across one of Aesop’s Fables that sums up my intentions for IF CORKS COULD TALK. COM
“The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar
You must know that sometimes old women like a glass of wine. One of this sort once found a Wine-jar lying in the road, and eagerly went up to it hoping to find it full. But when she took it up she found that all the wine had been drunk out of it. Still she took a long sniff at the mouth of the jar.
"Ah," she cried, "What memories cling 'round the instruments of our pleasure.”
Excerpt From: Aesop. “Aesop's Fables.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/dlHTD.l
I’m pretty sure I am “one of this sort.” I can relate. The aroma of cabernet’s dark fruit and savory scents instantly brings me to picnics on the beach, card games at the kitchen table, sunset cruising on the boat. Girlfriends sitting cross-legged on the couch, candle lit bubble baths with a good book, even mouth-watering medium rare steak and potato meals, come crashing in with just one sniff.
Care to share the first thing that comes to mind when you take “a long sniff of the mouth of the jar” of your favorite vino?
When my husband, better known as The Rum Drinker, brought home a beautiful new boat, he invited a few friends and family out for our inaugural sunset boat ride.
It was a clear, late afternoon, perfect for a ride east out of Beverly Harbor to watch the sunset astern (behind us) and see the Boston skyline starboard (to our south).
We picked up cheeses, meats, some grapes and strawberries for our version of a Charcuterie. Adding crackers, I set up one tray on the galley table underdeck and another topside so our visitors could appreciate our new “second home.” (Really, nothing more than a sleek trailer in a glorified trailer park- but on water with great views!)
I stocked the cabinets with Crystal plastic cups, appetizer plates and silverware. Of course, there were red Solo cups, too. Jimmy Buffet- and the likes of him- played on the stereo system and an American flag flew off the stern.
The bow of the ship was equipped with plenty of cup holders and a couple of cozy blankets should someone need one on the return ride.
I even had a vase of Sunflowers to set the mood. The Rum Drinker made sure every piece of fiberglass and vinyl was glistening like a white iceberg in the morning light. The 39-foot white with blue trim Formula PC was set to go.
My sister was the first to arrive. After a tour of the boat, we poured a couple of red cups of Cabernet. We were headed to the dock to greet other guest we saw heading our way when, before either of us had even taken a sip of our wine, my sister tripped. Her generously-poured cup of red wine spewed and covered the entire stern bench. The perfectly laid out Charcuterie was upside down on the deck, cheese and strawberries smashed into the brand new snapped-on carpet.
The Rum Drinker stood in silence, mouth agape. Apparently, some people do cry over spills. My sister fell to her hands and knees to scoop up our appetizers. I graciously greeted our incoming guests.
Every once in a while you come across a story that makes you go … why didn’t I think of that?
This past Valentine’s Day brought me one and I can think of no better place to share it.
My niece Megan is a 2017 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She and her BF Jun both graduated in April and spent the fall semester (harvest) studying wine and spirits in Napa. Need I say more? If only ‘those’ corks could talk …
Anyway, back to the story. Let’s fast forward to <3 day.
She says, “Please DO NOT get me flowers for Valentine’s Day”.
He complies … sort of ... and instead, shows up with 12 bottles of Rosé!
Jun is now working as a sommelier in NYC. Meg is also working at a top tier NYC restaurant. I have a feeling there are a lot of excellent corks in their future! I hope I get an invitation to share some of them!
A dozen Rosés … #evenbetter #heisakeeper
National Rosé Day- the second Saturday in June.
Kyle Ann Robertson
Chief Writing Officer at Ifcorkscouldtalk.com and BBWalsh.com