A Guide On How To Open A Wine Bottle Without A Corkscrew
You've laid out the stemware and brought out a bottle of wine that you've been waiting for months to drink. There's only one problem: You can't find your corkscrew.
How in the world will you be able to open that delectable vino without a, well, opener? Fortunately, you may be in luck if you have one of many tools and household items. People have long been opening wine bottles with screws, clothes hangers, scissors, tongs, and shoes, among many other items.
Vint understands the frustration that can arise from not having an opener when you need it the most. That's why we've listed 11 everyday tools and methods to use instead. Here is how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew:
1. A Screw and Hammer
Most people end up with random screws in their toolbox or junk drawer for some reason. If you find yourself in that boat, you are in luck!
With one screw and a hammer, you can twist the screw into the cork, hook the hammer's claw around the screw head and pull the cork out. Et voila! You have an open bottle of wine to enjoy.
2. A Wire Hanger
Those wire hangers we pick up from the dry cleaners can be multi-purposed to free the cork from the bottle. While using such a large trinket to free a small cork may seem excessive, it never fails to work.
Just grab a pair of pliers, bend the hanger back to the shape of a hook (about 30 degrees), place the new hook into the cork, and keep pushing it down until you can cup the wire under the cork. Then, pull up on the wire. Soon, you should hear that sweet "pop" and be able to enjoy your favorite wine!
3. Paper Clips
Not everyone keeps wire hangers around, but most people have a paper clip or two to spare. Although you will need a little more accuracy and force, two paper clips can be used as a dual hook (similar to the wire hanger) to pull the cork free from the bottle.
Straighten out the middle of the paper clips, being sure to leave hooks on each end. Slide the paper clips along the neck of the bottle (one on each side), rotate the hook 90 degrees to cup the hook into the cork, and twist the tops of the paper clips together. Then, grab a spoon or pencil to anchor the contraption and pull.
4. A Wooden Spoon
Why use so much effort to pull when you can push? Most homes have at least one wooden spoon available, and the hard object with the mix of a bit of pressure can force the cork down into the bottle.
Push the cork with the back of the wooden spoon, being sure to hold onto the neck of the bottle so it doesn't slip out of your hands. The cork will be floating in the bottle in no time. Caution! Watch out for little pieces of cork that may fall off.
5. A Bike Pump
If you are a cyclist or have kids, you probably have a bike pump in the garage. That pump can do more than inflate tires or balls; it can also open your bottle of wine.
Insert the pump's needle through the cork until it reaches the other end and is exposed to air (be sure not to plunge it into the wine), then gently use the pump to put air in the bottle.
As you do, the cork should gently rise, but be careful that the air does not push it out too quickly and make the cork fly.
6. A Serrated Knife (or Keys)
If you're out and about, you may find a knife or keys to be more readily accessible. While you have to be extremely careful not to cut yourself, you can use both of these tools to get the cork out of the bottle.
With a knife, you can push the blade through the cork by gently wedging the knife into the cork until it reaches the bottom and gently pulling the knife out with a bit of a rock and twist.
You can use a key similarly, but you need to insert it into the cork at about a 45-degree angle, then twist and pull simultaneously. In both cases, it is possible to break the knife/key or the cork, so use caution.
That pair of scissors you use for crafts, cutting off tags, removing threads, and opening boxes can also uncork your wine bottle. Open the scissors all the way, and carefully and slowly insert one of the scissor blades into the cork. If you use too much pressure, the cork can break apart.
Twist and pull up once the blade is tightly in, the same way you would a corkscrew. With this method, you should have a clean, easy opening and enjoy your wine right away.
8. Heated Tongs
If you want to try a science experiment, this method will do the trick. Grab a pair of metal tongs (rounded, not sharp) and heat them over the fire until they are nice and hot.
Put the tongs around the bottleneck of the wine bottle, leaving it there for about ten seconds. Place some cold water on the hot part of the neck of the bottle with a wet towel, and then use a dry towel to break the neck of the bottle off.
Use a filter as you pour your wine into the glass to avoid any rogue glass pieces.
9. A Shoe
If you do not want to mess around with sharp objects or broken glass, this may be the best method for opening your bottle of wine. Find a shoe with a raised, sturdy sole. Turn the bottle horizontally or upside down between your legs while maintaining a firm grasp on the bottle, and give the bottle an assertive whack on the bottom.
The cork should nudge out, and then you can grab the cork with your hand and twist it the rest of the way out. Make sure to keep an eye on that cork to avoid spills!
10. A Wall
It would seem counterintuitive to hit a wine bottle on a wall to open it, but if you do it wisely, it can be an easy and safe way to open your wine bottle. There are two methods where the wall can prove your best available tool.
The first method is to put your bottle in a shoe with a sturdy sole and tap the sole against the wall. The second method is to wrap the base of your wine bottle in a thick towel and tap the bottom of the bottle firmly on the wall.
The key for both of these methods is to use enough force that the pressure from the bottle pushes the cork up without breaking the bottle.
11. A Lighter
Heat can be an excellent resource to get the cork out of the bottle, but you will want to protect your eyes and stand back a little.
Use the flame along the neck of the bottle — under the cork before where the liquid begins (look for that pocket of air). Keep the flame there for about a minute. The heat and air should cause enough pressure that the cork will pop right out. To avoid the bottle exploding, make sure it is room temperature before beginning.
Don't let the lack of a corkscrew stand in the way of you and your favorite bottle of wine. Look around your surroundings to see what you have available to work with, and try one of the methods above to get the cork out.
In no time, you will be sipping your glass of wine and have a good story to tell others later. Visit Vint for more wine tips or information on wine investing.