Open wine without a corkscrew? That’s a frustrating experience. It has happened to me while traveling. Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that you have no way to buy a corkscrew. Let’s also assume that you have a bottle of wine with a cork rather than a screw top.
Understand The Risk
There is a reason that fine restaurants and most people worldwide use a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine. If you want t safe method to open a wine bottle, the corkscrew is your best bet. Using the other methods outlined below will be challenging for most people. There is a good chance you might ruin the wine with bits of cork, spill wine or have some other kind of accident. If you have a nice bottle or an expensive wine, avoid these methods! These unconventional wine opener methods are likely to lead to wine stains. Only use these methods on affordable wines that you don’t mind ruining or spilling.
Still want to open wine without a corkscrew? Okay, let’s dive into some of the most common options. By mastering these methods, you might just become the first wine MacGyver in the world. For those uncomfortable with these ideas, stick to the safe method. Buy a proper wine opener from your local wine shop.
1 The Wooden Spoon Method
You probably have one or two wooden spoons in your kitchen. If somehow how lost your wine corkscrew, a wooden spoon can save the day.
-1 Wooden Spoon. The method works best when you have a relatively narrow end. The wooden spoon needs to be able to fit in the bottle of wine.
1. Remove the foil covering the wine cork
2. Press the spoon to the top of the wine cork
3. Keep pressing until you force the wine cork down into the bottle
4. (Optional) Pour the wine into a decanter
5. Pour the wine from a decanter into your wine glass.
The wooden spoon method is relatively safe. The major downside is that you end up with a wine cork floating in your wine. This problem can be solved relatively easily by using a wine decanter.
2 The Screw and Hammer Method
Want to buy some common household items for a new use? The hammer and screw method is one way to start an evening of wine that you’ll remember. Of course, using essential items like a hammer and screw isn’t for everyone. If you have wine at home often, buy a basic corkscrew and learn how to use it.
-1 hammer with a forked end
-1 small metal screw (approximately 1 inch long)
1. Remove the wrapper covering the top of the wine bottle. You need to have easy access to the wine cork.
2. Position the screw in the center of the wine cork
3. Gently tap the screw about halfway into the wine cork.
4. Use the forked end of the hammer to pull out the cork slowly
5. (Optional) If the cork falls apart, pour the wine into a decanter
If you are desperate, you could substitute the screw for another sharp object. Keep in mind that using a sharp object can be risky. Consider wearing work gives to avoid hurting yourself. IF you are uncomfortable with the risk, buy a corkscrew from your favorite wine shop.
3 The Towel Wrap Method
The towel wrap method is helpful o keep in mind if you are traveling the world. Many hotel rooms include glasses, but you might not always find a corkscrew when you want one. This is a high-risk method of cork removal. Only use it as a last resort. Opening a bottle with towels is not a beginner technique!
-A towel to wrap the bottle. Note that the towel might get wine stains.
-A rugged, robust surface like a tree
1. Wrap the towel around the base of the wine bottle.
2. Strike the base of the wine bottle against a hard surface.
3. Keep up the process until the cork comes out.
4 The Shoe Method
The shoe method is a bit bizarre. It is not for everyone by any stretch of the imagination. Only use this method if you don’t mind getting wine stains on your shoes.
-A shoe with a sturdy sole.
1. Remove the foil covering so that the cork is exposed.
2. Place the wine bottle upside down
3. Put the wine bottle upside down between your knees
4. Strike the base of the wine bottle over and over again until the wine cork starts to come up.
5 The Wire Hanger Method
In many situations, you can probably lay your hands on a coat wire hanger. Your closet might be full of metal wire hangers from the dry cleaner, for example. Before going further, note that this method requires some strength and comfort working with metal. Wire hangers were note designed to be used as a wine bottle opener after all.
-1 Metal Wire Hanger
-Gloves or a towel (keep your hands safe)
1. Bend the tip of the hanger back so that it looks like a fishing hook
2. Insert the wire hanger on the side of the wine bottle cork
3. Rotate the wire hanger’s hook so that the wire hanger fits into the bottom of the wine cork
4. Pull the wire up
Step two is usually the most challenging part of this method. It is usually little or no free space on the side of a wine cork. If this method doesn’t work for you, try one of the other methods outlined above.
6 The Sword Method (Sparkling Wine Only)
Wine legend states that this tradition began with Napoleon’s soldiers. By far, this is probably the most dangerous wine bottle opening method. Only attempt this method if you are experienced using a sword and don’t care about the wine. There is a good chance that you will end up with spilled wine and broken glass. Not sure what wine to use with this method? Check out my guide to champagne alternatives.
-Sword or knife
-A container larger than the wine bottle. This wine opening method involves spilling wine and broken glass. Therefore, it is recommended to have a way to capture those fragments.
1. Chill the wine overnight in a refrigerator
2. Prepare the sparkling wine bottle by removing the wire cage and metal foil from the bottle.
3. Dry the bottle from excess moisture
4. Identify the seams on the bottle.
Wine bottles are typically made by joining two seams together. Finding the seam is vital for the next step of the process.
5. Tilt the bottle away from you at a 45-degree angle
6. Aim the blunt side of the sword at the bottom of the bottle and slice upwards along the seam.
If everything goes smoothly, the top of the wine bottle will break off. Voila! You will be able to enjoy a fresh glass of wine.
To see a live demonstration of this unusual wine technique, take a look at this YouTube video:
There is one more method we haven’t covered in this post. I haven’t covered it because it required using an advanced piece of wine technology. Stay tuned on this blog for a review once I have a chance to test out this new product.