The Comprehensive Guide to Opening a Bottle of Wine

I swear, every time I go to someone’s house for drinks there’s always a different type of corkscrew being used. How many types of corkscrew are there in the world? How do you use each one? Are some better than others? Help!

Here’s the breakdown: there are three different types of corkscrews you can use to open that precious bottle of vino. 

1) Twist Corkscrew

The twist corkscrew is your standard, basic screw that you probably bought as a freshly minted 21-year-old. Even though it has a simple design that consists of only a handle and a worm (aka a screw), it is the most challenging corkscrew to use. We’ll get into why in a sec.

To use this corkscrew, begin by twisting the coil into the middle of the cork until you can’t see the last coil. The difficulty in this corkscrew comes from the removal process. Using your knees for leverage, place the bottle between your legs and pull hard on the handle of the corkscrew until the cork pops out. Be careful not to tear the cork, lose the grip on your bottle or splash wine everywhere. Basically, this method really makes you work for that wine and we don’t necessarily recommend it. But if this is the only corkscrew you’ve got lying around, then you don’t have much of a choice. Beggars can’t be choosers.  

2) Waiter’s Corkscrew

Similar to a swiss army knife, the waiter’s corkscrew is small enough (and discreet enough) to fit in your pocket and take with you anywhere. This corkscrew can come in a few varieties, some fancier than others, but for the most part, all should come with a serrated knife, screw, and a fulcrum (the fancy name for the little hinged lever that pulls out with two ledges).

To use it, take the knife and cut the foil in two swift swipes just under the lip of the bottle. Peel away the foil to reveal the cork. Pro tip: cutting the foil right under that ridge ensures that no pesky pieces of foil have the opportunity to get into your wine. Then, taking the worm, position it in the middle of the cork and screw the worm in until the last coil disappears into the cork. Here’s where we get advanced.

With the worm still in the cork, fold the fulcrum so that the top ledge rests on the spout of the bottle. Holding the fulcrum in place, lift the handle until the cork comes about halfway. Re-adjust the lever so now the bottom ledge rests on the spout, and pull up again. Wiggle your cork out and revel in your talents. You’re such a pro.

3) Wing Corkscrew

You’ve definitely seen this corkscrew around and maybe got intimidated by its human stature. But fear not, this corkscrew makes opening a bottle of wine easier than picking one out at the store.

To start, make sure the ‘wings’ of the corkscrew are down and center the worm in the middle of the cork. Begin twisting the ‘head’ (or the handle at the top) until the screw is all the way in. As you do this, the wings should begin to lift up. Once the wings are fully stretched, push them down from both sides. The cork shouldn’t come out just yet, but it if does, bonus points for you! Holding onto your corkscrew, gently shimmy out the cork until pop! Now that wasn’t so scary, was it?

So no matter what corkscrew you’re faced with, you’ll know exactly how to use it.

No corkscrew? No problem! Here’s how you can open that bottle sans a traditional corkscrew.


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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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