Types of Wine Openers & How to Use Them
We tend to only think about corkscrews when we need a wine opener, only to realize there isn't one around. Opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew is no easy feat, and attempting to use anything other than a specialized wine opener is risky. Luckily, there are many types of wine bottle openers, and they all work equally well. Here are some of the different types of bottle openers and how to use them.
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5 Different Types of Wine Bottle Openers
The most common types of bottle openers are: the waiter’s friend, the winged corkscrew, the electric corkscrew, and the slick two-prong cork puller. Wine lovers and enthusiasts often collect these tools; they are just as important as the wine and type of glassware when it comes to enjoying a bottle of wine with friends and family. Read on to learn more about these corkscrews and find your favorite.
The most affordable type of corkscrew is the waiter’s friend, or waiter’s corkscrew. It's one of the simplest and most effective tools to open most types of wine bottles. These corkscrews can have one or two notches on the lever, and they come with a handy blade to cut the bottle’s capsule.
The best thing about the ‘sommelier’s knife’ is that you can easily carry it in your pocket. A word of warning: you might struggle to pull out old corks, leading to a crumbled cork or a chipped bottle!
- Pros: Easy to carry in your pocket
- Cons: Not ideal for crumbly corks
The anthropomorphic shape of the winged corkscrew makes it a popular item—it looks like a happy little person raising their arms while you twist the screw. Also known as butterfly screws, these come in all shapes and sizes and are clever little gadgets.
The arms or levers rise as the worm enters the cork. Push the levers down and watch the cork rise effortlessly. The downside? You can’t carry a winged corkscrew in your pocket.
- Pros: Neat looking and easy to use
- Cons: Too large to carry around
Electric corkscrews have been around for a while now. Often bulky and not precisely elegant, these gadgets use an electric motor to spin the worm, pulling corks out smoothly.
Although not recommended for nice dinner parties or fine-dining scenarios, electric corkscrews have proven ideal for people with mobility issues or lack of pull strength for whatever reason. Electric corkscrews have gotten more sophisticated and are easier to use than ever; simply push a button. Of course, make sure the corkscrew’s battery is charged first!
- Pros: Effortless to use and efficient
- Cons: Requires charging and doesn’t look all that nice on the table
Two-Prong Cork Puller
This type of corkscrew doesn’t have a screw but two thin metallic prongs that you must slide between the bottle’s neck and the cork. Gently twist and watch even the most stubborn corks come right out.
Two-prong corkscrews are particularly good for delicate and crumbly corks, often like those in old wine bottles, as the prongs don’t damage the cork.
- Pros: Good bottle opener for old bottles with crumbly corks
- Cons: Won’t work with plastic corks
Mounted corkscrews have been around since the 1800s and are some of the easiest to use. However, they can still be complicated since you must mount them on a wall or counter.
Mounted corkscrews are screwed or clamped to a surface, supporting a lever that pulls the corkscrew’s worm. If you have a home bar, a mounted corkscrew is not a bad idea, but it’s not for everyone. There’s no place for a mounted corkscrew in most standard dining rooms.
- Pros: Great addition for businesses and home bars
- Cons: Can’t use it at the table
Less Common Wine Bottle Openers
A quick search reveals there are many unusual ways of opening wine bottles. People have tried it all, from tapping a bottle open by banging it against a wall with a shoe to using a lighter to force the cork out due to the expansion of the air trapped inside the bottle. We are certainly creative when thirsty!
However, wine is more delicate than you may think, and opening bottles properly is safer and better for the overall wine tasting experience. Find the corkscrew that works for you, and don’t leave your home without it; you never know when you might need it! Be the hero.
Always Be Prepared
More often than not, the best corkscrew is the one you have in hand. And although every bottle opener is different, and you probably prefer using one type over the others, they all do the job just right.
If you have to choose, a waiter’s friend is a good alternative to have handy, especially when you’re on the go. However, consider building a collection of different bottle openers at home—it’s part of being a wine enthusiast!