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!
Kyle Ann Robertson
Chief Writing Officer at Ifcorkscouldtalk.com and BBWalsh.com