Mini-class No. 6 … Wine openers

I admit it, I am clumsy. I have an inordinately difficult time opening packages. All of those packages that allow you to tear the top off and then reseal the package later … not happening with me. I always over-tear.

That is why, when it comes to opening my wine, I generally use the simplest method possible: I ask someone else to do it! If that’s not an option, however, I have learned that it is possible with practice and patience to open a bottle of wine using one of four types of commercially available wine openers.

Wine Opener No. 1: the fool-proof “rabbit ear” style. The biggest problem that I usually have have when opening wine is not being able to get enough leverage to get the cork out. This type of opener makes this challenge a non-issue. Put the wine opener in the starting position with the “ears” down. After removing the foil or plastic from the top of the cork, simply position the point of the cork screw near the center of the cork and while holding the neck of the bottle and bottom of the wine opener still with one hand, twist the key on the top of the opener. As the key turns, the “ears” will raise from the sides of the opener. When they are horizontal, pull them down and simply remove the cork and opener from the top of the wine bottle. This method doesn’t take much muscle or dexterity because the “ears” do the leverage work for you.

Wine Opener No. 2: the waiter’s corkscrew. This wine opener generally has a fold-out corkscrew with a hook on one end. To use this corkscrew, remove the foil or plastic from the top of the bottle. Unfold the corkscrew portion and position it near the center of the cork. Twist the screw into the cork to the end of the spiral. Fold down the metal end and use the hook as leverage on the lip of the wine bottle to pull the cork out. Because there is less leverage than the “rabbit ear” style, it is very easy to lose your grip on the bottle, so be careful. This opener takes a bit of practice.

Wine Opener No. 3: the “T” shaped corkscrew. This method takes some wrist dexterity. To use this corkscrew, remove the foil or plastic from the top of the cork. Position the corkscrew in the center of the cork. Holding the wine bottle still with one hand, twist the corkscrew into the cork to the end of the spiral. Hold the wine bottle firmly in one hand and pull on the handle until the cork pulls out of the bottle.

Wine Opener No. 4: the Ahso. This wine opener is the most interesting of the four openers as it does not contain the familiar corkscrew. Instead, it is just a handle with two prongs, one longer and one shorter. This opener takes some dexterity, but opens the wine without damaging the cork and could be a preferred method if you like to use wine corks for craft projects, or if you have an older bottle of wine with a delicate cork. To use this opener, remove the foil from the top of the cork. Wiggle the longer prong between the side of the cork and the wine bottle, pushing it in far enough that the shorter (second) prong can be wiggled into the other side of the cork. When both prongs are in, pull and twist simultaneously to remove the cork from the bottle.

The internet offers many other methods for opening wine using methods such as string or a shoe. However, in most situations, a good wine opener is preferable, so be sure to keep one with you for picnics and parties. Most local wineries sell small corkscrews for your convenience.

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