Choosing a Corkscrew
"We lost our corkscrew and were compelled to
live on food and water for several days." -
W. C. Fields
are so many corkscrew options out there... What makes a good corkscrew?
Can a corkscrew help in appreciating a wine? Does it really make a
The first, and best, corkscrew rule is: the Easier
the Better. Some corkscrews are bad for the wine and even dangerous
to the user. Others are just a real pain to operate and make it hard
to get the cork off the corkscrew.
The next rule is: Try Not to Break
the Cork or Let it Fall Into the Wine. That's not as easily said as
done, but a good corkscrew does the work for you. All you have to
do is operate it properly.
The last rule is: No Matter How
Difficult, It's Always Better to Struggle With a Corkscrew Than
to Drink Wine with a Twist-Off Cap.
Here are some corkscrew options:
In my opinion, the best corkscrew is the 'waiters corkscrew'. This
is the contraption that folds up into itself and is often given as
a complementary gift with wine purchases. This corkscrew is easy to
carry and has 3 main parts: the small knife section with which you
cut off the top cover (usually foil) of the bottle; the screw itself
which goes directly into the cork; the lever with teeth that you place
along the rim of the bottle allowing you to control the lifting of
the cork. It is simple and never fails.
Another popular corkscrew is the more elaborate
shape "with hands" that you press down and then lift to remove
the cork. Although popular and decorative, these corkscrews are very
poorly constructed and often break. But they are foolproof - when
properly used. When not used properly, they often rip the cork or
sink in too deeply forcing the cork into your wine. One of the least
appetizing things to drink is wine cork.
Another variety of corkscrew, marketed as foolproof,
is the variety that just swirls down and down and down. The screw
is large and comes with handles that extend horizontally off the top.
The nozzle of the corkscrew, housing the screw, is placed over the
bottle (after removing the foil covering). And then you rotate the
handles sending the screw down into the cork. You keep turning and
turning until the cork is completely removed from the bottle. When
worked properly, the cork comes out smoothly and cleanly. When botched,
it is often difficult to retrieve the entire cork.
About twenty years ago the asau corkscrew was developed
in California. Small and compact, this corkscrew has two long "tongues"We
lost our corkscrew and were compelled to live on food and water for
several days." - W. C. Fields" that slide down between the
inside of the bottle and the outside of the cork. With a quick twist
of the wrist and an upwards yank, the cork is removed. If you twist
or yank incorrectly, the cork goes plopping down right into the wine.
This is the corkscrew used by professional wine stewards. It takes
time and practice, but the benefit of mastering this corkscrew
is all the wine you taste in the process.
Beware: Another popular corkscrew
looks like a syringe. You insert the needle into the cork and pump
several strokes until the cork pops out. The concept works by injecting
air between the wine and the cork. When enough air is present the
cork gives way. This corkscrew is dangerous. Many bottles have been
burst by the pressure exerted against even slightly imperfect bottles.
In addition to the mess of red (or even white) wine bursting all over,
shards of glass can go flying. I recommend throwing these corkscrews
The list of corkscrews goes on. Some are functional,
others are decorative. If you've found one that works, stick with
it. Otherwise, experiment. The more wine you uncork, the more wine
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