Dievole's blog

Corkscrew: the best wine openers and how to use them correctly

Have you ever tried to open a bottle of wine using the classic winged corkscrew in front of a wine-connoisseur? If you have, I imagine you can still remember the look of disgust on their face!

Jokes aside, I felt the need to write about this this because if there’s one thing that differentiates a wine-lover from a mere wine-drinker it’s the wine opener they have. The former will always have a professional model to hand, the latter will most likely have the classic home type with “arms”, a bit like wings, and a bottle opener ring at the top.

But let’s look in detail at which corkscrews are most popular in our homes and what are their main pros and cons.

Most common model of wine opener: from the “winged” bottle opener to the t-shaped spiral corkscrew

We’ll start by talking about the corkscrew that everyone has in our homes, or at least did in the past: the classic “winged” corkscrew. As a wine-lover and sommelier, I no longer have any of these at home, as these are not a tool suited for opening a bottle completely safely. Although I’m not saying it’s a dangerous tool for us, when I say safety I actually mean the “safety” of the wine. You can use these to open young wine for quick drinking, but for great wines that have been improving in the bottle for years, using one of these could be a grave error as you risk irreparably damaging the cork and therefore, the wine.

Using them is very simple: insert the so-called worm (screw) into the cork and screw it in by turning the bottle opener ring. The more the screw goes in, the more the “arms” rise. Then, lower the arms and gently remove the cork, taking care not to pierce it. And that’s it!

Another very popular model of corkscrew is the traditional T-shaped spiral corkscrew, sometimes called the French name tire bouchon.

Even more simple than the previous – given that it is made up of just the handle and the classic spiral or worm screw – it is actually more difficult to use if you aren’t used to it. In fact, opening a bottle with this model of corkscrew requires the use of not only your hand and arm muscles but also your shoulder, back and even your leg muscles.

 

Professional corkscrews: the sommeliers’ tools/waiter’s friend

For the true lovers or professionals in the wine industry – whether you’re an oenologist, manufacturer or sommelier – there is no corkscrew other than the professional one, that being the one used by sommeliers, that is recognised for its simplicity, pocketable size and entirely metal body, sometimes with a wooden or plastic handle. It is made up of:

  • The blade – hidden in the body of the bottle opener which can be extracted thanks to a retractable mechanism – used to cut the seal of the wine bottle. According to the rules of being a sommelier, the cut must be made under the rim, i.e. the highest part at the top of the bottle neck, and once removed, the seal must be lace on a special plate;
  • The worm, or rather the part that you insert into the cork to extract it with some light pressure from your right hand;
  • The lever is the part of the bottle opener that is used to extract the cork from the bottle neck. How? The suitable support ledge is placed on the neck of the bottle and levered to extract the cork with a careful but firm movement.

Now that you know about all of the main types of corkscrew, their pros and cons and how to use them correctly, you just need to practice by opening several bottles of wine, such as those suggested by Dievole.