Open Up! Wine Police!
Many centuries ago, people determined that a bottle with a cork was an excellent way to store wine. The next day they had to decide how to get the cork out.
The corkscrew. Most early corkscrews were quite adequate. It is only through the marvels of modern technology that we have been able to make some truly bad ones.
The central part, the auger should not look like a wood screw, but a slender “worm.” A worm is a twisted metal coil that firmly grips the cork from within. Teflon coated worms are best.
So let us start with the worst, first, the wing corkscrew. As you insert the auger into the cork, two wings open out to the sides. `Two problems here. Most wing type corkscrews have an auger that looks like a wood screw. It very frequently ruins the cork by pulling the center out and dumping fragments into your wine. Even the ones with worms are usually too short to work effectively. Leave this monster in the drawer, or give it to someone you don’t like. The same goes for the pressure air - pump bottle opener design. When the possibility of breaking a bottle comes with the instructions, you don’t want it.
The best tool, in my not even remotely humble opinion, is the single pull “Waiter’s Corkscrew.” This is the universal restaurant opener which includes a foil cutter and perhaps a cap opener on one end. Even easier to use is one with a spring loaded foil cutter, which snaps back when you’re done.
There is one modern improvement that actually works. It is a Waiter’s Corkscrew with a longer hinged lever. The cork is pulled out with much less effort utilizing the extra leverage. The “double-pull,” as it is called, is my odds-on favorite for functionality.
Then there is the “Ah-So.” You have seen it. It has two flat, metal prongs, one slightly longer than the other. It takes a little practice, but can be very helpful with older vintage wines, whose corks require a gentle approach.
The vertical style lever pull known as “The Rabbit” works fine but it’s bulky and does require some hand strength and dexterity to use that isn’t as practical as the simple waiters corkscrew. If price is no object, or you are opening a lot of bottles regularly, there are counter top stationary vertical models. They work well and are more efficient and less hard on your wrist for mass openings, but they take up space and you can’t carry it around in your pocket. Make sure the gear inside isn’t plastic before you buy a pricey one.
For absolute ease of use, try the basic electric openers. These are great for anyone with hand strength or grip issues. They are less portable and take a battery but the overall benefits make this a good option.
Be kind to your wine. Use the right tool to open it and you’ll be thinking about the wine and not the opener.
The Black Sheep Wine and Beer Shop- John VerPlanck and Jennifer Laskey VerPlanck