One of the most well-known parts of a bottle of wine is its cork. Corks serve several purposes, from keeping the bottle sealed to improving the aging process.
But as handy as corks are, they can be tricky to remove. If you’re trying to open a bottle of your favorite wine, but you don’t have a corkscrew handy, you might feel like you’re out of luck. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
There are many methods you can use to open a bottle of wine if you’re caught without a corkscrew.
In this handy guide, we’ll cover 5 simple and easy ways that you can open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew.
We’ve also included a short FAQ section to help guide you through any questions you might have.
So whether you’re opening a bottle of your favorite wine after a long week or sharing a drink with your friends, by using these methods you’ll never be left hanging without a corkscrew. So let’s get right into it!
5 Ways To Open A Bottle Of Wine Without A Corkscrew
1) Make Your Own Corkscrew (With A Nail And A Hammer)
You might be short a corkscrew, but if you’re at home then chances are you’ll have a hammer and a screw kicking around.
With just these simple tools, you’ll be able to make a quick and basic corkscrew. All you need is a screw (the longer, the better), and a claw hammer. You might also want a screwdriver to make things a bit easier.
First, take your screw and drive it into the cork at a slight angle. Using a screwdriver will help here, but it’s not necessary.
Once the screw is most of the way into the cork (there should only be around an inch remaining) you have something for the hammer to latch onto.
Avoid screwing in too far, as you want the claw of the hammer to fit between the cork and the head of the screw.
Nestle the screw between the claws of the hammer, making sure it’s locked in place, and use the hammer to pry the cork out.
Unlike getting the screw in, this part is easy. This method requires a bit of work, but is very effective if you have the tools.
2) Use Your Keys/A Knife
If you don’t have a toolbox handy, don’t worry. This method uses something you’re far more likely to have access to – your keys.
This is a fairly similar method to using a hammer and screw. Work your keys into the cork at a 45-degree angle, avoiding pushing all the way through and splitting the cork.
From there, make circular motions with your key until the cork begins to shift and loosen, ready to be removed.
A faster (but far more dangerous) alternative to your keys is to use a serrated knife.
This will go through the cork much more easily, while the serrated blade offers a more secure grip than keys.
However, for obvious reasons, this method can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention or do it incorrectly.
You’ll need to be extra careful if you’re using this method (especially with a knife) to help keep you safe from injury. Maybe give this one a miss if you’ve had a glass or two already.
3) Make A Wire Hanger Corkscrew
This method is the most effective recreation of a corkscrew, although it takes a bit more time and effort to pull off.
It involves modifying a wire clothes hanger to replicate the twist of a regular corkscrew, making it function practically the same way.
Start off by unwinding the hanger. Take one of the ends of the wire (or cut a suitable length with some pliers) and wrap it tightly around a small cylindrical object such as a pencil or a wooden dowel.
This is to replicate the shape of a corkscrew. From here, insert the spiraling piece of wire into the cork and pull it out of the bottle as you would with a normal corkscrew.
The best thing about this method is how similar it is to a regular corkscrew. Because the cork isn’t damaged too much, you can easily put it back in the bottle when you’re done.
The hanger itself is also reusable, making the small bit of extra work worth it.
4) Push The Cork Through
While other methods involve pulling the cork out of the bottle, you can also open your bottle by pushing the cork all the way inside the bottle instead.
This might sound simple enough, but having the right technique will prevent the risk of your bottle smashing or spilling.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a similarly-shaped object, gently push down on the cork.
Press down as straight as you can, as pressing at an angle can cause the bottle to slip and spill or even break.
Use a light amount of pressure to keep the cork from breaking into pieces, until the cork is completely pushed through.
Bear in mind that once you push the cork through there’s no chance of getting it back. There’s also the risk that it will crumble or shed sediment into the wine.
To prevent any pieces of cork or sediment from making their way into your glass, pour the wine into a second container through a strainer or coffee filter before you drink.
5) Use Fire To Push The Cork Out
For this method, you’ll need to rely on the power of science. You’ll need to heat up the neck of the bottle, so the warm air beneath the cork pushes it out of the bottle.
Using a chef’s blowtorch on a low setting is a great way to do this, but a regular lighter is also able to pull this trick off.
Hold the flame directly beneath the bottom of the cork, slowly turning the bottle. After a while, the warm air in the bottle will begin to shift the cork, pushing it up the neck of the bottle.
Over time, the cork will be pushed out completely; alternatively, you can wait until there’s enough to get a good grip on and pull it out the rest of the way.
Since you’re heating the bottle up with an open flame, you’ll need to take care not to get burned.
Be careful when you’re handling the flame, and avoid touching the neck of the bottle until it’s cooled down.
Applying heat to a cold glass bottle can cause it to shatter, so let your wine bottle warm up out of the fridge before attempting this trick.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Corks Used For?
As mentioned earlier, corks have several functions. They protect the corked wines from oxidation, they provide a seal for the wine, and they help preserve the wine’s flavor.
But while cork keeps most oxygen from getting in, their pores allow a small amount of air through, which oxidizes the wine in a way that makes it even better.
What’s The Safest Method?
Doing something dangerous isn’t a great idea when you’ve been drinking, so you should avoid any methods that can potentially go wrong.
Using a knife or a flame to remove the cork is also dangerous even without the influence of alcohol, so you should take extra care if you’re using these methods.
Simply pushing the cork into the bottle is the simplest and safest technique to use, as long as you have a second bottle handy.
Can I Reuse The Cork With These Methods?
Depending on how you remove the cork, there’s a chance you won’t be able to use it again after.
This could be down to breaking the cork (with a knife/screw etc.), or because you’ve pushed the cork into the bottle where it’s lost forever.
If you want to reuse the cork, you’ll have to avoid damaging it; using a screw and hammer won’t damage the cork if you’re careful, and a wire hanger corkscrew will only do as much damage as a regular corkscrew.
Using heat to push the cork out will leave it completely untouched and ready to be reused.
So there you have it – 5 simple ways you can open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. All of these methods are quick, easy, and effective.
So next time you’re caught without a corkscrew, don’t worry, because these tricks have got you covered.