How to open a bottle with or without a wine opener?

To open a bottle of wine, Terry Pomerantz almost always uses a waiter’s corkscrew, also known as a wine key, and used by most waiters and waitresses in restaurants. On occasion, Terry also uses a wing, or winged, corkscrew, also called a “Charles de Gaulle” in France.

Opening a bottle of wine with a corkscrew

 Here is how Terry opens a bottle of one of his favorite Italian wines with a waiter’s corkscrew:

  1. He unfolds the tool to release the worm, boot lever and foil cutter.
  2. With the cutter, he removes the foil covering the cap.
  3. He inserts the tip of the worm into the center of the cork.
  4. He twists the wine opener clockwise until only one spiral is visible.
  5. He pushes down the boot lever against the bottle’s neck and places one of the notches on the lip of the bottle.
  6. He holds the bottle with the other hand while he uncorks it.
  7. He pulls the cork by moving the corkscrew slightly from side to side until the cork comes out of the neck.

When Terry gives in to the curiosity of discovering a new organic wine, he uses a winged opener in the following way:

  • He removes the foil covering the cork.
  • He ensures the spiral worm is raised inside the wine opener’s central part by holding the 2 wings down.
  • He centers the round base on the lip of the bottle, keeping the wings lowered, and gently inserts the worm tip into the center of the cork.
  • He twists the lever clockwise to push the worm into the cork and continues twisting until the wings rise all the way up.
  • He steadily pushes both wings down, gradually raising the cork into the wine opener’s central part.
  • He completes the process by tilting the winged opener from side to side until the cork is free of the bottle.

Opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew

There have been times when Terry Pomerantz did not have a corkscrew on hand when opening a bottle.

He would have liked to know some of the tricks he learned later by listening to the sommelier misadventures of some of his acquaintances.

“I implore you, do not use any of these tricks to open a good bottle. The risks are too great. There are limits to defying the wine gods,” Terry recommends very piously…

  1. With a screw and pliers

    Using a screwdriver, insert a screw in the center of the cork. Then uncork the bottle with pliers.

  2. With a sharp knife

    Insert a sharp knife into the cork, then gently turn the bottle on itself and pull the cork out.

  3. With a key

    You can use the same technique with a key that you plant diagonally in the cork.

  4. With a hammer and nails

    Drive 2 or 3 nails into the cork with a hammer. Remove the cork with flat pliers.

  5. With a shoe

    Place the bottle into a shoe and tap the shoe against a hard surface. Gradually, the cork will emerge from the neck. But be careful! Wine really does not react well to this treatment! The cork may suddenly eject, allowing precious drops of wine to be spilled.

  6. By pushing the cork down

    Push the cork into the bottle with a rounded knife or a pen.

  7. With a kitchen torch or a lighter

    Heat the neck of the bottle with a blowtorch or lighter. The heat will cause the cork to come out of the bottle until you can remove it effortlessly.

“In any case, you may find cork in your wine and you will surely disturb the tannins, aromas and body. Opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew, whether with a lighter, a needle or a shoe, should only be done in cases of extreme necessity and never, ever, with a quality wine,” Terry Pomerantz concludes with deep pity for such poorly treated wine.

An avid wine lover, Terry Pomerantz shares his love of fine bottles, guided by a responsible approach to the art of living. Discover his advice on food and wine pairing, his favorite bottles, and the ideal choices for each season and occasion. Immerse yourself in his passion and learn to fully appreciate each bottle in good company.