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

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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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