Everyone has been there. You get a couple of friends together, you buy a few nice bottles of wine, and you get ready to have a good night. Everyone gets there, and you are looking forward to opening up one of those bottles of red wine, rose, Bordeaux, cabernet, or whichever your wine of choice is for everyone.
You go to look for a bottle opener or a corkscrew and all of a sudden, your heart drops. You can not find your corkscrew and now you do not know what to do. How will you get this bottle of wine open and get this night started? Thankfully, there are many other ways through which you can open wine without a corkscrew or a wine opener, some harder than others.
Depending on what you have around your home, you should be able to use something else in order to get that cork out and enjoy the great wine inside. Here, we will show you ten different ways that should have you covered on how to open a wine bottle regardless of whatever other tools you have available.
1. Use Some Tools From Your Toolbox
If you have a toolbox in your home, then you should be able to open a bottle of wine easily enough. All you need is a screw and a hammer (ideally, you should also have a screwdriver). Then you need to get your wine bottle, peel the wrapper off of the top and stick the screw into the cork.
If you do have a screwdriver, then you can use it to push the screw further into the cork. If you do not, then you can use the back of the hammer (not the head but the end) to try and twist it into the cork carefully so you can make sure that your cork does not fall apart.
After your screw is significantly inside the cork, then you can use the end of the hammer again to pull out the screw as well as the cork. This should be a fairly straightforward way to get the cork out without much work or physical effort.
2. Push The Cork In With A Wooden Spoon
If you do not mind having your cork go into your wine bottle and want an even more effortless method of opening your bottle of wine, then you can simply push your cork in with a wooden spoon. You probably have a wooden spoon somewhere in your kitchen with a long, thin handle that you can pick up and push through the cork into the inside of your bottle.
You should probably do this over a sink so you can make sure you do not spill any over your table. If you need to, also, you can cover the top of your spoon with a towel so you can push it in a little bit easier. Once your bottle is open, you can leave the spoon inside so the cork will not ride up while you pour it and cover the neck of the bottle, preventing you from pouring it at the optimal rate.
3. Yank It Out with String
You should also be able to pull the cork out of the bottle once you have pushed it in. What you need to do is tie a figure 8 knot into a piece of string and lower it into the neck of the bottle. You can tilt the bottle onto one side to create some leeway on it and make the string slip past the cork and underneath it.
Once you have done this, pull the string so it will bring up the cork. The knot should wedge against the neck of the bottle on the bottom of the cork and force the cork out, as demonstrated in this video.
4. Use a Wall to Pop It Loose
You may have seen this one in movies before, or maybe your cool resourceful friend has shown you this trick (often called the shoe method) before. This one definitely is the most entertaining, especially if you and all of your friends have already had some wine and are already a little bit more giggly.
If you have absolutely no tools except for perhaps a towel or a shoe, then you can either wrap your bottle in a towel or put it on the heel of your shoe and hit it against the wall to try and smack it loose. All you have to do is bang the base of the bottle while it is parallel with the floor (in a horizontal position).
The cork should start popping out slowly, and after a while, you should be able to just pull it out with your hands. Be careful not to break the cork in half while you do it. Also, be careful not to bang it too hard against the wall as it can definitely burst open in your hands. If you are outdoors and do not have access to a wall, a sturdy tree should do the trick too.
5. Slap It Out, No Wall Required
You can also do the trick above without having to smack your wine bottle against the wall. For this one, all you need to do is put the bottle upside down on your knees (holding it in place with your knees) and slap it on the bottom of the bottle with the flat sole of your shoe.
Make sure you hit it evenly so as to prevent it from breaking. Once you see the cork pop out a little bit, lift the bottle back up and take the cork out with your hand. As mentioned above, you should be careful when you pull the cork out so you can make sure it does not break in half while you do it.
6. Add Pressure with a Bike Pump
Imagine that you went for a bike ride with a friend or significant other, got into a beautiful spot atop the city, and decided to share a much-deserved bottle of wine together. You might have forgotten to bring a corkscrew, but you happen to have a bike pump in your backpack.
You can use this unexpected tool to open up your wine bottle fairly easily. All you need to do is stick the bike pump into the cork and start pumping. The air is pushed into and through the cork, which will eventually create enough pressure that will make it fly out of the bottle and you will be able to enjoy that bottle of wine, as well as impress whoever you are with with your incredible ingenuity.
7. Unlock the Cork with Your Car Keys
Now, this is one most people should be able to do. It is highly likely that either you or someone in your group has car keys (house keys should also do the trick). If they do, then all you need to do is insert them into the cork at a 45-degree angle until most of the key is inside the cork.
Then, very carefully so as to not break apart the cork, you can wiggle it while simultaneously pulling up, which should slowly bring the cork upwards and eventually make it pop out of the neck. This is an easier trick to do with higher-quality corks, since they are less likely to break apart, but you can still use it for other kinds of corks as long as you are careful.
8. Just Stab the Cork Out with a Knife
This is a method that is quite similar to the one above, except instead of using either car keys or house keys, it uses a knife. You can also use a pair of scissors or thin pliers. You should try and look for a serrated knife rather than any other one, but it will still work with all kinds of knives.
Be careful using a lower-quality knife though, since it could break inside your cork and make it even harder to open your wine. Once you have the knife inside the cork, you can wiggle it and twist it while pulling the knife up, which should make the cork pull up through the neck of the wine bottle.
Also, once you have the cork halfway up through the neck of the bottle, you should be able to stab the middle of the cork (the side of the cork) and simply turn the knife so the cork slides completely off the neck of the bottle. You should be extra careful with this method as handling knives can be slightly dangerous.
9. Slice It Off
Alright, now this is probably the most dangerous trick of all on this list, but also, let’s face it, the coolest party trick of all. If you are drinking sparkling wine or champagne, then you should be able to slice off the cork and the top bit of your wine bottle.
There is even a name for this trick, sabrage, or sabering, and you should be able to do it with a saber, a sword, or a machete. If you happen to have one of these lying around in your home, then you can try and slice the top off of your wine bottle with a quick and swift motion of the blade.
10. Heat It Up
This trick will only be useful if you want to make mulled wine, or if you are willing to then put back the open wine bottle inside the fridge so it can cool down again since it relies on warming up the bottle and the wine inside it. All you need to do is boil some water, then take it off of the heat and put the bottle in the pot. After a while, the cork should start creeping up on its own and eventually pop out. If you have access to a blowtorch, then you can use that to heat up the neck of the wine bottle as well.
What Kind Of Corkscrews Are There?
Even though there are certainly a number of ways through which you could open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew, it is always a good idea to have one in your cabinet for those days when you do not feel inventive enough to figure out creative solutions to a problem easily solved by a very cheap and effective product.
Proper wine lovers will know how to open wine in many ways but will know that the best way is always with the proper equipment. So here, let us look at the different types of corkscrews so you can see which one or which ones you would like to have in your home so you never have to open a bottle DIY ever again.
- Air Pressure Wine Openers: With this kind of wine opener, all you need to do is insert the needle all the way through the cork, give the handle a few quick but firm pumps, and the air pressure that will be generated inside the bottle should force the cork up through the neck and out of your wine bottle.
- Continuous Pull Corkscrew: These kinds of corkscrews work by using a twist motion that drives the worm inside of the cork. The sides of this corkscrew will sit on the neck of the bottle and should provide a firm grip for you to pull the cork out with one single motion.
- Counter-Mount Corkscrew: As the name suggests, these kinds of corkscrews are attached to a table or counter for support, which means you should be able to open bottles faster and with less effort than with other types of corkscrews.
- Electric Corkscrew: These kinds of corkscrews are the easiest kind and the ones that require the least amount of effort, although they are often also the most expensive. With this kind, all you need to do is push a button and the corkscrew will do the rest for you.
- Lever Corkscrew: Lever corkscrews are also incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is insert the worm into the cork and gently pull it out.
- Pocket Corkscrew: These kinds of corkscrews are the most useful for carrying around with you in case you are going to a friend’s house or out into nature. They often feature a sheath to keep the worm from poking through the fabric in your pockets which is quite useful.
- Waiter’s Corkscrew: These are the most common kinds of corkscrews which you will find in any home or establishment. They can also be called wine keys.
- Wall-Mount Corkscrew: As the name suggests, these corkscrews are mounted onto a wall or a beam for both stability and security and are often found in establishments where opening wine bottles is a common occurrence.
- Wine Cork Extractor: Wine cork extractors get rid of your cork without damaging it, and should ideally be used with vintage corks that are made from natural cork and not synthetic cork. They feature prongs that slide down between the bottle and the edge of the cork and remove the cork completely without poking into it.
- Wing Corkscrew: Wing corkscrews are most commonly used for synthetic corks and, again, as the name suggests, are made up of wings that spread off to the side which you push down in order to make the cork pop out of the bottle.
So, now when you find yourself in a rut without a wine opener and the longing to pour a nice glass of that fine red, you can remember these simple tricks and get the bottle going around the table in no time. And if you do, by some chance, choose to open your bottle of wine the old-fashioned way, we’ve got a great selection of the best corkscrews just for you!
Bonus tip: While you’re at it, check out this awesome video on more ways to open a wine bottle with a shoe!
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