How to Open a Wine Bottle

Opening a bottle of wine seems straightforward, but we’ve all had those moments when the cork won’t budge, or maybe you don’t even have a corkscrew in the first place.

You might have even wondered how many ways to open a bottle of wine and which method is the easiest. 

If you’re curious, keep reading, as there are several ways to open a wine bottle apart from the traditional way.

The Traditional Way to Open a Bottle of Wine

Apart from a normal corkscrew, there are actually three standard corkscrew tools you can choose from. Let’s look at the first step you must take before opening a wine bottle and how to use the three types to open your wine bottle easily.

The First Step

Regardless of your method, you’ll have to remove the foil around the opening of the wine bottle. Here’s how to do it. 

  1. Hold the neck of the bottle firmly on a flat surface. A kitchen counter or sturdy table are both excellent for this. 
  2. Keeping fingers at the bottle of the neck, use a serrated knife to carefully cut the foil around the neck near the opening and just below the lip. 
  3. Remove the now-separated foil from the top of the wine, revealing the cork. 

After completing these steps, you’re ready to use your preferred wine opener. 

1. Wine Key

Also known as a waiter’s corkscrew, a wine key is a thin, foldable device with a metal lever. It’s like the Swiss army knife of wine openers.

To use a wine key, unfold it until the cork is out and pointing at the floor. The handle and lever should be winged in a “T” shape. 

Push the tip of the corkscrew into the cork and rotate about six half turns.

Keep the bottle stable with your other hand as you do this.

Then, fold the short metal lever down until its bottom points to the floor. The end of it should rest on the lip of the bottle. This is where most of the work will be done for you. 

With the lever firmly in place at the top of the bottle, pull the handle of the wine key upward and slowly remove the cork. 

Be careful not to let any foil fall into the bottle!

2. Wing Corkscrew

Much like a wine key, a wing corkscrew uses the lever technique. But with the base centered and both sides doing the work, this method makes getting the cork out of the bottle much more effortless.

Once the foil is removed, place the wing corkscrew at the top of the bottle while stabilizing the bottom with your other hand. Turn the key at the top to screw it into the cork. 

Once the wings have lifted far enough, grab each side with a hand and press downward simultaneously. 

Keep pushing down slowly, and presto! The cork is removed as quickly as taking a deep breath.

3. Electric Corkscrew

The easiest of the three methods, an electric corkscrew takes all the effort of twisting the cork out of the equation. 

While holding the wine bottle stable with one hand, use your other hand to place the electric corkscrew over the top. 

Hold firmly while pressing the button, and watch as the cork is prepped and removed before your eyes. 

Some electric corkscrews will require you to press the button again to remove the cork from the bottle, but many will complete the process with just one press. 

How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew

Imagine you’re at a luxury rental house on a weekend getaway, ready to relax, cook dinner, and open that fancy bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. You pull a glass from the cabinet, grab the bottle, and realize (oh no!) you forgot the wine opener!

You tear the house apart, only to come up empty-handed. 

If you’re ever caught in a similar situation, here are six ways to open a bottle of wine without a wine opener. 

1. Wooden Spoon

If you’re looking for the most straightforward method for opening a bottle of wine without an opener, this one’s for you. 

Grab a long wooden spoon from your kitchen and hold your wine bottle stable on the counter. Place the end of the spoon at the top of the cork and push the cork down into the bottle. 

Super simple, right?

Remember that you won’t be able to retrieve the cork when using this method. If you’re okay with that, go for it!

2. Get the Hook

Have an extra wire hanger around? You can use it to open a wine bottle, just don’t expect it back after. 

To do this, unfold your wire hanger until the top end resembles a flat fishhook. Slide the hook down into the bottle alongside the cork. 

When the hook reaches the bottom of the cork, rotate it about 90 degrees until it’s underneath. 

Pull the wire gently upward, and the hook should push the cork out of the top.

3. Use the Wall

For this method, you’ll need either a towel or a shoe and a wall. 

Wrap a towel around the bottom of the wine bottle or place your wine bottle in a tennis shoe. 

After doing one of these, put the covered bottom side of the bottle against the wall. The bottle should be parallel to the floor. 

Start pounding the base of the bottle against the wall, striking harder as you progress. 

Eventually, the pressure created inside the bottle will push the cork out. 

4. Break Out the Toolbox

Handy with tools? For this next method, you’ll need the longest screw you can find and a hammer. 

Just like a regular corkscrew, twist the screw through the center of the cork.

Once the end of the screw has reached the bottom of the cork, take the backside of the hammer and lock it under the screw. Gently pull the hammer’s handle like a lever and remove the cork. 

5. Turn Up the Heat

We’re not exactly recommending fire, but we know this next method works.

Grab a lighter or a match and apply the flame to the neck of the bottle beneath the cork.

As the air beneath the cork heats up inside the bottle, accumulating air pressure will cause it to rise through the top slowly. 

Manipulating air pressure is a surefire way to go with these last few methods!

Make sure to be careful and always take precautionary measures with any of these methods. 

6. You Have the Key

Along with their intended function, everyone knows keys are useful for many things. 

With a wine bottle, you can plunge the key through the cork at a 45-degree angle and twist slowly, gently pulling up as you do so. 

This makes a key the smallest wine opener you’ll always have around.

Fine Dining Thanks to Everyday Items

Now that you know how to open a wine bottle without a wine opener, you’ll never be at a loss again when you can’t find the corkscrew. 

While we think the first three traditional methods are the best way, there’s nothing wrong with getting creative when necessary.  

Be careful when opening a wine bottle, and never do something if you can’t do so safely. 

Keep your fingers clear when cutting the foil, stabilize the bottle, and you’re good to go!

Looking for your next bottle of wine to open? Visit our wine shop for a complete list of curated wines.  Visit the Macy’s Insiders Blog for more practical wine tips, recipes, and more!