Who Knew Buying a Wine Bottle Corkscrew Could Be a Challenge?

A recent attempt to buy a wine bottle corkscrew left me feeling highly uneducated. I own a few corkscrews and never gave much thought as to how they are made or how they work. I just want them to work and the ones I own don’t.

I thought buying a wine bottle corkscrew online would be my best option. Little did I know I’d spend three hours researching how to open a bottle of wine.

I discovered there are a wide variety of wine bottle openers including:

  • automatic
  • electric
  • battery-operated
  • waiter’s
  • wing
  • two prong extractors
  • a multitude of corkscrews with names I cannot pronounce.

Automatic corkscrews are considered the easiest way to extract a wine cork. These handy gadgets have a spiral-shaped ‘worm’ that is screwed into the cork. Once the worm is fully inserted, pull up on the corkscrew and the cork automatically pops out.

Automatic wine bottle corkscrews come in a variety of shapes and sizes and manufactured from a variety of materials. Most are stainless steel, brass, or chrome-plated. Some are made from exotic woods, while others are coated in non-stick silicone. Prices range from under $10 to over $500.

Waiter’s corkscrews could be compared to a Swiss Army knife. Not only are they used to open wine bottles, they also include a small pocket knife for removing seals and a hinge on the handle that pops the cork.

Waiter’s corkscrews require practice to conquer the technique, but those who can pull it off will impress their guests. These corkscrews are compact and can be carried in a pocket; making them the perfect accompaniment for picnics.

They are one of the more affordable wine bottle openers with prices starting below $10.

Wing corkscrews are a good choice for people who find it difficult to extract corks. As one who has a tinge of arthritis, I find wing corkscrews much easier to work with. This gadget literally has ‘wings’ as handles. The worm is inserted into the cork and the wings rise.

Simply press down on the wings and voila, out pops the cork.

My wing corkscrew was my favorite because it was purchased in Napa Valley where my husband proposed to me 12 years ago. It surpassed its 10-year warranty and finally wore out with my last bottle of wine.

While I couldn’t find an exact replica, I was able to locate a similar pewter wing corkscrew with a grape design at BottleOpener.com.

Wing corkscrews typically include an auger worm and are manufactured from stainless steel, brass, or pewter. Some of the newer models are covered in soft-grip silicone. Prices range from under $10 to over $300.

Two prong extractors are a useful tool for opening wine bottles without causing damage to the cork. My first exposure to this tool occurred last week while dining at a restaurant. This interesting corkscrew has a small handle with two prongs attached.

They are the width of a cork and inserted between the cork and glass bottle. Extracting the cork involves a quick twist and pull. This corkscrew is the most affordable with nearly all models priced below $8.

Battery-operated and electric corkscrews offer a one-touch bottle opening experience. These units can be mounted on walls or placed on countertops. All that is required is to place the wine bottle into the unit, press a button, and the cork is automatically extracted.

Opening wine couldn’t get any easier.

The downside to these types of corkscrews is the cost. The minimum price I found was $24.95, but some of these models sell for over $2500. You’d have to drink a tremendous amount of wine to obtain a good return on investment.

For most people, automatic and wing corkscrews are the best bet. They are affordable, easy-to-use, and don’t take up much drawer space.

A waiter’s corkscrew is a good choice for people on-the-go, while two prong extractors are better suited for wine connoisseurs with a high level of manual dexterity.

Regardless of the type of wine bottle corkscrew desired chances are good you can find exactly what you want at a price you can afford. It’s best to purchase a mid-range priced corkscrew with at least a 5-year warranty and avoid purchasing cheap corkscrews that break after a few uses.

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4 Great Wines for $6.50 Or Less

There is a trick to buying good, cheap wine. The key is trusting the wisdom of crowds and simply understanding that bad wine does not sell out. So when you are hunting for a new wine, just look at which wine is selling.

If most of the bottles for a particular brand have been sold, chances are it is selling because people like it. And if other people like it (the more the better), you probably will too.

When in doubt, follow the crowd, and you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised more often than not.

This is my time-honored method, and one that has yielded me very good results. While I’ve found good deals in nearly every wine-selling store I’ve frequented this way, I’ve had the most luck at Target and Trader Joe’s, as you’ll see below. Here are my current top choices for $6.50 or less:

4. Velvet Moon Cabernet Sauvignon — $5.99 (Trader Joe’s)

Velvet Moon Cabernet Sauvignon

I love red wine, though I don’t drink it very often. I usually drink sweet, white wines. Why? You ask.

Because the lady prefers sweet, white wines, of course!

Fortunately, I do manage to occasionally slip her a little red, and, very very occasionally, she even likes it.

The delectable Velvet Moon Cabernet is one of those very few she has approved of. I recommend you give its smooth taste a try as well.

3. Barefoot Moscato — $5.99 (Target)

Barefoot is a quality budget brand available nearly everywhere, with its bottles often displaying the many awards its low-cost wines have won. While I’ve tried most of their offerings, I find the Moscato to have the most refined taste of the lot.

Those with a desire for a more fruity wine should certainly enjoy Barefoot’s Moscato, which fairly claims “flavors of juicy peach and apricot” and “hints of lemon and orange citrus.”

It is quite sweet however, so if you’re looking for a more mild dessert wine I would recommend something like Dr. Beckermann’s Auslese (see below).

2. Fetzer Gewurtzraminer — $6.49 (Target)

Fetzer prides itself as being “the earth friendly winery,” using 100% green energy in its winery operations including solar, wind and geothermal energy, according to its label. While I can’t vouch for any impact green energy has on winemaking, whatever they’re doing, it’s working.

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The Gewartzraminer tops my list of Fetzer’s quality offerings as a delicious dessert wine that I could imagine purchasing for significantly more than the $6.49 it fetches at Target.

1. Dr. Beckermann Auslese Rheinhessen white dessert wine – $5.49 (Trader Joe’s)

Dr. Beckermann Auslese Rheinhessen white dessert wine

A steal at $5.49, this Auslese has gone toe-to-toe and beaten many of my favorite dessert wines that go for as much as 3-4 times the price.

Dr. Beckermann’s Auselese has a very elegant taste, like honey, that leaves none of the bitterness associated with cheap wines.

Bring it over for dinner and impress your friends with the blue-bottled Auslese and leave them marveling at its price — or keep it as your little secret.

Simple Tips of Brewing Wine at Home

Have you ever thought of brewing wine at home? What are the things needed? What about the expenses? Does it need authorization? If you are eager to start brewing wine at home, read on and get to know these simple tips.

Initially, you need to have a wine making kit to start out. Is it expensive? The answer is no. Yes so don’t be surprised. The price of a 5-6 gallon kit ranges from $50-$100. The cost of ingredients will be around $30-$70.

Winepress is not needed at home. You don’t need to extract the last juice drop from the fruit unlike the wineries.

Wine making at home is considered legal. A household with one adult can make about 100 gallons per year and make it double when there are two adults in the household. If you plan to distribute wine in your area, you need to consult the local authorities first.

What you need is simple a good instruction of using the kit and fine recipes. A lot of home wine makers fail when they have good recipe but unclear instructions, so make sure that you have both to make your wine-making activity successful.

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Some additives are required when making wine whether it is included on your list or not. There are wines that require shaking every 2 days while others don’t.

It all comes down to preference. You can make your wine sweet, dry or in any other way that you prefer it to be. After all, you’ll be the one enjoying your home-made wine. A hydrometer is needed for this to be possible and it comes in every wine making kit.

Sweet wine will get a reading of 1020, medium will have 1010 and dry will get 990.

As long as you have the right materials and equipment, it is not tough to make brew wine at home. Along with fine recipes and clear instructions, you’ll do well.

Lastly, serve your self-made wine on the white lacquer dining table. It’s only right that you use this table to do it. In addition, you can learn more about kitchen devices for making drinks here.

Food and Wine

Does it ever occur to you that wine – food pairings resemble relationships? People meet, become friends, and throughout their friendship, they conjure the best qualities of each other.
With food and wines as with friends, one must be careful in the process of making the right choice.

Going beyond the routine when selecting the right wine for a meal, would be a risky adventure. It is perfectly acceptable to be on the traditional zone, but pairing food to wine too precisely will narrow the options and take away most of the fun.

Normally, figuring out what wines goes with what food should not be something to be fretting around. Such a concern, however, arise considering the circumstances: you are about to cook dinner or lunch as enjoyable as possible for guests or family.

The way wine and food define personality and character should be seen as a valuable lesson when twinning the two of them.

You may want to think of the wine you want to serve, followed by the image of the food you think that goes with it; or do the reverse – food thinking followed by wine selections. Once you have intellectualized everything, the selection becomes a little easier.

Certain foods rely on certain drops styles, of course, but try to show flexibility in the process. Choose the wine that offer unexpected remarks on food flavors and strength, rather than reflecting them.

For instance, asparagus often pair beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc, as both have strong flavors, but a risotto can smooth things out a little. A glass of fruity Chardonnay, however, will counterpoint the vegetal yet strong tones of the asparagus.

It is worth considering the concept of balance when matching food to wine without causing any distress. For instance, one may fully enjoy a pork chop in the company of paprika baked potatoes having a red wine such as decent Bordeaux or any California red wine.

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At Christmas, also, when strong flavors of side dishes and meats are presented, a fruity red Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel or a plump even velvety Burgundy will work like the obvious choice. A white Gewurztraminer will might complement the obvious.

When it comes to balance chocolate desserts, as meringues or chocolate puddings, the wine should be sweet. A sweet, summery wine with a gentle bubble, a floral – grapey aroma such the mild Moscato/Muscat of Austria or California allows the complex flavors of chocolate come together.

These wines are also low in alcohol which makes them easier to drink, and more refreshing in warm weather.

Another way of twining food and wine is by staying geographically connected as a part of local symbiosis. Wine areas might specialize in a certain wine style and fresh ingredients – from meat to vegetables or cheese.

When both wine and food come together from the same land, the combined effect always works exceptionally well, with a natural, powerful sense of community.

There is always a feeling of mystery in this whole love affair between food and wine. Every time something unexpected and glorious is ready to unfold and deliver nothing less than pure pleasure.

And if you are not a wine lover, you may cook good cocktails with a blender for frozen drinks.

Boston Beer Works – Boston, Massachusetts: Bad Food, Bad Service!

I visited the Boston Beer Works in Boston, Massachusetts in December of 2010. Growing up in Massachusetts I have heard great things about their selection of beers that they brew in house daily. I had also heard that they had a great atmosphere and also a great menu to go along with it.

This prompted me to finally head over there on my next trip to Boston.

It was about two in the afternoon when myself and two friends went into Boston Beer Works. The place was totally empty, I am fairly sure that aside from the guy sitting at the bar we were the only ones in the whole place.

Yet, when we walked in it took the hostess about five minutes to realize we were standing there waiting for a table. This happens a lot in restaurants so we just let it go.

Once we were sat however, it took roughly another five minutes before we were given menus or even acknowledged by our waitress who happened to be sitting in the booth behind us texting on her phone.

Once we received our menus we were all very impressed by the selection of beers on the menu; some of them were very creative (blueberry flavored with blueberries in it for example).

As far as the food menu, the selections were fairly expensive averaging to be about fourteen a plate. My friends and I ended up ordering the Beer Works Burgers. They were your standard cheeseburgers with all the typical toppings.

Well, my friend is allergic to mayonnaise so we were very clear in stating that there should be none on either of our burgers. The waitress seemed annoyed by this request but we assumed it was not taken lightly.

Upon receiving our food (forty minutes later), we bit into our burgers only to find mayonnaise on them. As we waited for the waitress to come back so we could send it back to the kitchen, my friend found a hair in her burger, and we then proceeded to try the French fries.

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Much to our lack of surprise at this already horrible experience the French fries were cold as ice. At this point we were ready to walk out but instead patiently waited for the waitress to return so we could ask for a manager.

Another fifteen minutes passed and no sign of our waitress. We then asked the hostess to get the manager and explained to him everything that had happened. He offered to cook up new burgers, and he brought us out a new basket of fries but, we were too disgusted to eat anymore.

We simply requested the bill, and wanted to be on our way. As the waitress finally reappears to drop off the check all you could smell was the stench of marijuana, it was as if she had taken a bath in it. This was the final straw.

We paid the bill and told the hostess on our way out that “that was the worst experience we had ever had. ”

All in all, if you are all about the beer in exchange for poor service this is the place for you. If you are in search of an all around good experience I do not recommend this restaurant. The Boston Beer Work’s in Boston is one place I certainly will never visit again.

Overpriced, Gross, and horribly service is all I received.