We’ve all been there.
The perfect day, the perfect company, and the perfect bottle of wine. And then the perfect mistake.
You forgot your corkscrew opener.
How are you going to uncork your wine without a corkscrew?
You feel like a bear gazing longingly at a hive full of honey just out of reach. So much delicious goodness kept from you by just a few millimeters of glass and a cork.
Luckily, there are a few hacks you can use to get the goods.
A word of caution, though. Any of these measures could mess up your wine.
Corks can shred and contaminate your wine. The cork may break halfway in the stem, making it impossible to extract without a corkscrew. Worst case scenario, you could shatter the bottle altogether. Exercise some caution when trying these tips, and chances are you’ll succeed in a field-expedient extraction of your libation. Ready to uncork your wine without a corkscrew? Let’s get hacking.
1. Just screw it
This fool-proof method is very effective. If you have a long screw handy (long and narrow enough to sink into the cork) and a hammer, you’ve got an ad lib corkscrew. Drive the screw into the center of the cork, about the same depth you would with a corkscrew. Gently pry up the screw with a claw-tooth hammer, and voila, you can uncork your wine without a corkscrew! You can also use pliers to lift the screw, though this will require extra work on your end.
2. Push it real good
Another fairly fool-proof method is to push the cork into the bottle. Using a narrow wooden spoon or other long, blunt object, gently push the cork until it escapes the narrow stem and plops into the bottle. Cork on older wines may shed into the wine using this method, but can simply be strained out and decanted. This method is best if you anticipate finishing the bottle in one sitting (preferably with friends … if you’re finishing a bottle alone you should probably reconsider your drinking habits).
3. Pump it up
Are you a biker? Then you’ve probably got a bike pump handy, and a great impromptu wine opener! Insert the slender needle through the cork and into the bottle. Start pumping, gently. The air introduced by the pump will lift the cork from the stem. Just don’t be too aggressive, as the cork could fly like you’re opening a bottle of champagne!
4. Unlock it … with a knife!
Using a key, serrated knife, etc, insert the object 45 degrees into the cork.
Make sure it’s deep enough to get a good grip, otherwise the cork is likely to crumble. Twist the cork several times until it’s extracted.
(Note: 2 Words to master this wine bottle opening strategy: Pull and Turn. Check out this video below to see.)
5. Get slap-happy
Admitably, this method is a last resort, but if you don’t have tools handy, this could be your only option to get that vino.
Method 1: Wrap the bottle in two towels. Gently knock it against the wall a few times, checking every few whacks to see if the cork has budged.
Method 2: Place the bottle between your knees a knock the bottom of the bottle with a shoe.
In both methods, stop whacking the bottle when the cork is out enough to pull it with your fingers, otherwise you’ll suffer the misfortune of stained clothes and irrecoverable wine. Both of these options require a bit of bravado, as they run a real risk of shattering the bottle (and staining your clothes with wine or, if you’re not careful, blood). So, exercise some caution when you uncork wine without a corkscrew, ok?
6. Turn up the heat
The laws of thermodynamics play to your advantage with this option. Using a blowtorch or candle, apply the flame to the stem just below the cork. The heat will cause the air in the bottle to expand, pushing the cork out. It’s absolutely essential that the bottle is at room temperature or lukewarm! If it’s right out of the fridge, it will likely explode from rapidly a growing pressure differential between the cool wine and the warming air. If your bottle is cool, let it sit for a while or give it a bath in warm water.
Armed with these useful hacks, you’ll be sure to save the day in the near future (as well as impress your friends). But just to be on the safe side, why not invest in a few portable wine openers? Put one in your car, backpack, etc. to avoid using these last-resort (albeit helpful) wine hacks.
7. Wrap the bottle with a towel – (High risk of breaking the bottle)
This strategy to open your wine without a corkscrew is rather fun – but you have to be careful to not break bottle!
You are going to wrap the bottle of wine with a towel – or 2 towels – and then gently bang the bottle against the wall over and over.