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TheWineBuyingGuide.com

How to Open a Bottle of Wine

Learn how to open a wine bottle with 3 different corkscrews.

By: Kristin Anderson, Editor, TheWineBuyingGuide.com
How to Open a Bottle of Wine
How to Open a Bottle of Wine
This image courtesy of thewinebuyingguide.com

Before I learned how to open a bottle of wine, I had my share of mishaps. I shredded corks trying to use the “waiter’s friend” (it didn’t seem friendly at the time). There was one 4th of July barbecue, where I just stared dumbly at this wine opener and then decided I’d have a beer instead.

I was intimidated by opening a bottle of wine and confused by the different types of corkscrews.

However, all of that could have been avoided. All I needed to do was read a tutorial and really learn how to open a bottle of wine. With a few simple instructions (and some practice at home), you too can confidently open wine every time. No more stress!

We have easy-to-follow instructions on how to open a bottle of wine using a variety of different wine bottle openers. Whether you have the waiter’s corkscrew, a wing corkscrew, or something else entirely, we have a guide for you. You can debut your new skills by tonight's cocktail hour!

How to Open a Bottle of Wine

How to Use a Waiter’s Corkscrew

What is the waiter’s corkscrew?

The waiter’s corkscrew is a simple, affordable wine bottle opener. It’s widely used in restaurants and in homes and is nice and portable. It’s also called a wine key or waiter’s friend.

Despite my cork shredding experience, this is actually a nice wine bottle opener. Once you know how to use this tool, you’ll find that it’s very easy.

  1. Cut the foil using the small serrated knife on the waiter’s corkscrew. Cut the foil at the top lip or the bottom lip, or peel it off entirely.

  2. Open the corkscrew as shown below.. Hold the wine bottle stationary and insert the worm (the curly screw part) into the center of the cork.

    Click on photo for larger version.

  3. Twist the worm into the cork until about 1 curl remains above the cork.

  4. Tilt the handle of the waiter’s friend so that the first step sits on the lip of the wine bottle. You’ll move the plastic handle up, so the metal lever goes down.

  5. Use the first step as leverage, and pull up on the handle. This will pull the cork up.

  6. When you can’t pull up anymore, set the second step on the lip of the wine bottle.

  7. Use the second step as leverage and pull up on the handle again.

  8. The cork should now be mostly free. Tug gently to finish removing it from the bottle.

How to Use a Winged Corkscrew

  1. Remove the foil from your wine bottle.

  2. Place the round bottom part of the corkscrew on top of the wine bottle. The 2 wings should be down.

  3. Twist the handle until the wings come all the way up and the worm is twisted all the way into the cork. The wings will rise until they're perpendicular with the handle, and they may even rise slightly higher.

  4. Carefully press down on both wings at the same time. This will raise the cork up and out of the bottle.

    *Years ago I actually injured myself with this type of corkscrew. Make sure all of your fingers are clear of the gears and the wings.

How to Use a Rabbit Style Corkscrew or Lever Corkscrew

Many people find the rabbit, or lever, corkscrew to be the easiest to use. It costs more (around $40), but it requires little practice and works every time.

  1. Remove the foil from your wine bottle.

  2. Lift the big lever on top up and all the way around the back. This will bring the worm up into the starting position.

  3. Place the round part of this corkscrew on top of the wine bottle. If there are 2 handles on your version, they should face you.

  4. If you have 2 handles, squeeze them firmly together with one hand to hold the wine bottle in place. In other designs, place the bottom handle against the neck of the bottle and hold it there firmly. The idea is that you need to keep the wine bottle from moving while the lever removes the cork.

  5. Pull the big lever up and over the wine bottle and push it down, driving the worm into the cork.

  6. Push the lever back up firmly to pull the cork out.

What is your favorite corkscrew? Give us your recommendations in the comments below!


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I have used the winged corkscrew because it almost always opens the bottle perfectly every time. I'd like to learn how to use the waiter's corkscrew, though.

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