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Ultimate Guide to Using Wine Bottle Openers and Corkscrews

Your love affair with wine is never complete without the perfect wine bottle opener. Uncorking a wine bottle is an unique experience. After all, getting that cork out of your bottle of wine requires more skill than popping a beer bottle.

Without the perfect corkscrew, there is a risk of breaking your wine bottle, crushing the cork, or worse, not being able to enjoy that wine. Hence, corkscrews and wine openers are also important wine accessories. This is why you will find wine openers of diverse styles and designs suitable for different events. Each type of them comes with its unique advantages and drawbacks.

There are also no perfects as your ideal one will depend on your style, preferences, and budget. Therefore, we have created this guide to share with you the different types including step-by-step processes on how to use them.

How do corkscrews and wine bottle openers work?

Every corkscrew comes with a unique design and style. This equally influences the process of using these corkscrews or wine bottle openers. However, every corkscrew would typically have a handle, boot lever, and corkscrew worm. Your corkscrew may also come with added features such as bottle cap removers and foil cutters.

Here are the common components of every wine bottle opener:

  • Foil cutter – This is usually a small smooth, or serrated blade used for slicing the protective foil covering at the top of your wine bottle.
  • Corkscrew worm or spiral – This is a spiral-shaped device, usually metal that drives into the wine cork. It works by grabbing the cork when twisted in, to remove the cork from the wine bottle.
  • Bottle cap remover – This add-on device comes with many modern wine bottle openers. It transforms your corkscrew into a tool for popping the tops off soda or beer bottles.
  • Corkscrew handle/wing/lever – This may provide grip or leverage to remove the cork from the wine bottle. Some corkscrews such as winged corkscrews come with two levers.
  • Corkscrew boot lever/foot – This is usually a shorter lever that provides additional leverage. Waiter’s corkscrews are a typical example of wine openers with boot levers.

9 Types Wine Bottle Openers

1)  Electrical

Electric wine bottle openers are very easy to use. They automate the process of uncorking wine by using their hidden spiral and tube shape. However, they come in diverse styles and off-course quality. You can find corded or cordless, and rechargeable electric wine bottle opener options. One thing we love about electric wine bottle openers is that they can add spice to your kitchen decor. They are ideal for everyone especially, beginners and people with limited strength in their hands.

How to use an electric wine bottle opener

As said earlier, there are many different variations in electric wine bottle openers. Regardless, the process of using them is quite similar.

Here is how to use an electric wine bottle opener:

  1. Cut the foil under the lip of the bottle.
  2. Place the electric corkscrew at the top of the bottle’s neck. Ensure that your wine bottle opener is vertical.
  3. Turn on the corkscrew, and that is all the effort you will make. Your electric bottle opener automatically inserts the worm into the cork and removes it.
  4. Once your electric corkscrew is done, you can remove it from above the bottle.
  5. Finally, reverse the motion of the corkscrew to get the cork out of the worm.
Expert tips on uncorking wine with an electric wine opener
  • Although electric wine openers are seamless, you should always read the instructions carefully.
  • Go for a model that works on corks of diverse sizes and has a mechanism for removing the cork from the worm.
  • Be sure to hold the bottle and opener firmly so that the electric wine opener can penetrate and extract the cork without mishaps.
  • Extremely easy to use and portable.
  • Excellent for uncorking your wine without any effort from you.
  • Diverse options include cordless and rechargeable options that are highly portable.
  • A great choice for beginners.
  • More expensive than winged corkscrews or waiter’s wine bottle opener.
  • Requires you to charge or replace batteries when they run out.

Our picks:

electric gun wine opener
Electric gun wine opener, rechargeable and battery operated – Brankd WineOvation

Our picks for gift sets:

2) Rabbit Wine Opener

Rabbit wine openers are known for their ease of use, sturdy design, and beauty. They are a variation of the lever corkscrew but with even more ease of use. They are far easier than an electric opener. However, they might be a little more expensive, but you will get your money’s worth if you buy one that comes with a replacement spiral for when the original one becomes challenging to use.

How to use a rabbit wine opener

Rabbit wine corkscrew comes with a clamp and lever.  The clamp will go around the neck of the bottle while the lever modulates the spiral or worm. Here are the steps to use this wine opener in uncorking wine;

  1. Place the lever against the bottle, so the worm faces up and clamp the handles around the bottle’s neck.
  2. Push the lever up so the worm can penetrate the cork and then move the lever down to extract the cork. Be sure to fully extend the lever so it resets perfectly. If not, you might end up pushing the cork into the bottle.
  3. Now to get the cork out of the worm, repeat the same motion. This means to pull the lever up and down again, and the cork falls off.
Expert tips for using a Rabbit wine opener
  • Don’t forget to pay attention as the spiral goes into the cork. Once it becomes very challenging to do so, replace the worm.
  • The worm or spirals in your rabbit-style wine opener are usually coated with Teflon or other non-stick material, so it slides easily into the cork. At some point, the coating material may start to wear off. This is why a decent wine opener will come with a replacement spiral so you can keep enjoying your rabbit wine opener a lot longer.
  • Rabbit corkscrews are the easiest wine bottle openers.
  • Some models come with an in-built foil cutter.
  • The non-stick coating ensures that the worm can slide easily into the cork.
  • Saves time and effort.
  • Newer models can also be electrically operated.
  • Pricier than most electric wine opener.
  • Not ideal for uncorking aged wine.

Our picks:

3) Wine Puller or Ah-So

This wine puller is incredibly simple and portable. However, it looks quite different from other kinds of wine bottle openers because of its two-pronged design. Wine pullers are excellent for vintage corks as they will not damage or break apart the cork. They are also quite compact and portable. However, you require a great deal of strength to use this wine bottle opener.

How to use the wine puller

The Ah-So Wine puller is an easy tool to use even as the design looks overwhelming. But notwithstanding, it still requires a great deal of strength to work the prongs into the cork.

Here is the process of uncorking wine with a wine puller:

  1. Cut away the foil from under the lip of the bottle using a foil opener.
  2. Now firmly hold the bottle while working the two prongs between the bottle and cork and inside the neck of the bottle.
  3. You can use a left to right motion to make it easier to shimmy the prongs down.
  4. Once you have both prongs all the way in, twist and pull upward to remove the cork.
  5. Finally, slide the cock out from between the prongs to release the cork.
Expert tips for using uncorking wine with a wine puller
  • Avoid inserting the longer prong too much before twisting the second one in. That would mean bending the shorter prong.
  • Towards the end, use your hand to pull the cork so it does not fall off and onto the floor.
  • Remarkably easy to use.
  • Requires no learning curve.
  • Compact and portable.
  • Perfect for uncorking aged wine because they don’t cause the corks to break or crumble.
  • Requires a lot of strength, unlike other wine bottle openers.

Our picks:

4) Wine key or Waiter’s Corkscrew

Wine key or waiter’s corkscrew is a tool you will commonly find in bars, restaurants, and vineyard tasting rooms. They are best known for their compact size, simplicity, and portability. In truth, this opener folds up like a Swiss army knife and fits right into your pockets. Plus, they are affordable. However, they are not the easiest wine bottle openers to learn how to use. But once you master this wine bottle opener, it adds spice to your wine opening routine.

How to use a waiter’s corkscrew

A wine key or waiter’s corkscrew comes with two parts, a boot lever, and a spiral. Most waiter’s wine bottle openers may also have an attached smooth or serrated blade for cutting the foil.

Here is how to use the waiter’s wine bottle opener:

  1. If your waiter’s wine bottle opener comes with a foil cutter, extend the cutter out, and in a clockwise motion, remove the top of the foil.  Once done, fold the foil cutter back into the handle.
  2. Remove the foil from the neck of the bottle to expose the cork.
  3. Then extend the two levers, so that the worm or spiral is downwards.
  4. Start slightly off the center of the cork and place the screw onto the bottle’s cork while holding the bottle firmly in place.
  5. Begin twisting the worm into the cork for about six and half times or until you have one curl left showing (longer spirals may require that you have 2 to 3 spirals showing).
  6. Next, engage the top lever downwards and position it on the rim of the bottle. This allows you to lift the second lever upward to extract the cork gently. If the bottom of the cork is still in after using the levers, you can use a rocking or twisting motion to remove the cork.
  7. Now twist the cork off your waiter’s key and that is it.
Expert tips for uncorking wine with the wine key corkscrew
  • Some wine keys may have a longer spiral which is beneficial for extra-long corks. Some wine keys may only require five turns instead of six and a half. So you should always read the instructions accompanying your wine bottle opener. That way, you can avoid pushing the worm too far in that it tears or fractures the cork when you attempt to pull it out.
  • Overall, it might take a little time to master the art of using the wine key. But you will eventually get there.
  • If your waiter’s key doesn’t have a foil cutter, then use one. Avoid using the tip of the spiral as a replacement foil cutter. The tip of the spiral rarely cuts cleanly and using it will dull the tip.
  • Two-step constructions that make it unlikely to break the cork.
  • Some models come with built-in bottle cap openers and foil cutter blades.
  • Waiter’s corkscrews are known to last for years.
  • Requires a small learning curve.

Our picks:

5) Wing Corkscrew

A wing corkscrew can be regarded as a vintage wine bottle opener because it is just as old as time. However, we still use them today because of their sturdy build and the winged levers allow you not to worry about angling anything. They are also small and affordable but not as portable. Still, you need more arm strength with this wine bottle opener than others.

How to use a wing corkscrew

Wing corkscrews are incredibly versatile and can be used on corks of all sizes.

  1. First, cut the foil under the lip and around the neck of the bottle using a foil cutter.
  2. Twist the metal worm into the cork until the wings of your corkscrew rise up. You now have both levers or wings horizontal and as though on top of the metal worm.
  3. Push both levers downwards and to the sides of the bottle to get the cork out.
  4. Now to remove the cork from the metal worm, twist the handle in a counterclockwise motion.
Expert tips for using the wing corkscrew
  • Winged corkscrews do not require as much strength as an Ah-so puller. You need to be a bit gentle when using this corkscrew as it can also fracture the cork. This is also why we don’t recommend this type of wine bottle opener for opening aged bottles that tend to have sensitive or brittle corks.
  • Also, ensure to purchase one of decent quality as most cheaper options get bad quickly.
  • Popular and affordable.
  • Excellent choice for a casual wine drinker.
  • A superb choice for removing synthetic corks.
  • Easy to use with only minimum strength.
  • Less portable than Ah-So- wine bottle opener and wine keys.
  • Not ideal for opening aged wine or wines with natural brittle corks.
  • It may fall apart if it is a cheaper option.

Our picks:

Bronze Multi-Functional Bottle Opener, Wine Stopper and a Foil Cutter - Brnd: Obaly
Bronze Multi-Functional Bottle Opener, Wine Stopper and a Foil Cutter – Brnd: Obaly

6) Air Pressure Pump

As the name implies, this wine bottle opener uses air pressure to push the cork out. This wine bottle opener takes away the need to wiggle, pull or twist when moving the worm into the cork of your wine bottle. All you need is a few pumps and the cork comes out easily. You can think of an air pressure pump as an anti-corkscrew because it is so easy and simple to use.

How to use an air pressure pump wine opener
  1. Position the needle at the center of the cork.
  2. Now Insert the needle through the cork gently using even pressure until the needle penetrates the entire cork.
  3. Pump the cork a few times until it is pushed out of the bottle.
Expert tips when using an air pressure pump wine opener
  • The needle in this wine bottle opener is sharp. It should be handled with care.
  • Never exceed 12 pumps or there is a chance the bottle might break. All you need is a few pumps and the cork should be out with ease.
  • No need to twist, or pull on the cork.
  • Reduces the possibilities of damaging the cork.
  • Requires a bit of effort to push the needle into the cork.
  • Not a great choice for plastic or rubber corks.

Our gift set picks:

7) Tabletop/Bar/Legacy Corkscrew

This is the most expensive wine bottle opener out there and offers an ornate or antique style to show the elegance and artistry behind winemaking. This is why they are a cherished accessory owned by wine connoisseurs. Although it is pretty pricey, it is still incredibly easy to use. However, you need to have a dedicated surface such as the side of a bar or table where you can attach this gorgeous accessory. If you are looking for a decorative wine bottle opener that adds class to your bar or kitchen space, this is the perfect option. Regardless, they work just like lever corkscrews and are incredibly easy to use.

How to use a legacy corkscrew

Legacy corkscrews work just like lever wine bottle openers. The difference is you have these tools mounted against a platform. This platform can be a stand, table, or wall.

  1. Ensure the lever is in the back position before starting.
  2. Now push the wine bottle into the corkscrew so that the two claims can hold the bottle in place.
  3. While one of your hands holds the clamp firmly, use the other hand to swing the lever upward and forward.
  4. Now your bottle is uncorked. You can remove it from under the corkscrew and set it aside.
  5. Finally, release the cork by swinging the lever backward to the starting point.
Expert tips for uncorking wines using legacy corkscrews
  • Legacy corkscrews are so great that you can re-cork your wine with ease. As long as the corkscrew is still in position within the equipment, place your bottle back in and swing the lever backward to re-cork the wine bottle.
  • Excellent choice for devoted collectors.
  • Opens bottles faster and with minimal effort than many other wine bottle openers.
  • Doubles as a functional and beautiful wine accessory.
  • More expensive than other wine bottle openers.

8) Lever Corkscrew

Lever corkscrew is ideal for those who don’t want to use too much strength or force to open their wine. They are a closer relative to winged corkscrews but with much less strength and force. However, what makes lever corkscrews stand out is that they provide a great amount of control because the handle will hold the neck of the bottle firmly while the corkscrew does its work.

This is why they make a popular choice for people suffering from conditions that may affect mobility such as arthritis and carpal tunnel.  The downside is that lever wine bottle openers may not work successfully when used on some types of synthetic corks which might be a challenge as newer bottles of wine.

How to use a lever corkscrew
  1. First, cut away the foil from under the lip of the bottle to expose the cork.
  2. Position the screw above the cork while the lever is in an up position.
  3. Now pump the lever downwards. This motion drives the worm into the cork
  4. Once you have the lever down, you can pull the handle back up to extract the cork.
  5. Finally, lift the corkscrew off the bottle and pump the handle a few times to release the cork.
Expert tips on using lever style corkscrews
  • Do realize that lever corkscrews are very easy to use. But then to avoid mishaps, ensure that you are using a stable and sturdy platform.
  • Incredibly easy to use and efficient.
  • Compact size and portable.
  • Ideal for those with limited hand strength.
  • Costlier than wine keys and winged wine bottle openers.
  • May not work successfully with most synthetic corks.

Our picks:

9) Twist and Pull Corkscrew or Two-Step Corkscrew

Twist and pull corkscrew are known for their simplicity and sleekness. This corkscrew is similar to a waiter’s corkscrew with the same set of components. However, it is also smaller than the waiter’s corkscrew and very portable.

How to use a two-step corkscrew

They are also easy to use but may require a larger amount of effort to pull the cork out. To use a twist and pull corkscrew;

  1. Use a foil cutter to open the lid of the bottle in a circular motion. Remove the foil from the neck of the bottle.
  2. Now place the tip of the screw on top of the cork slightly away from the center. That way, when you twist the screw, it goes into the center of the cork and not sideways
  3. Twist the screw into the cork using gentle and even pressure.
  4. Push the first hinge of the screw down to the lip of the bottle, now using your hand pull the cork halfway.
  5. Then move the second hinge to the lip of the bottle and continue until the cork pops out.
Expert tips for uncorking wine with a twist and pull corkscrew
  • Never use the tip of your corkscrew as a foil cutter because it diminishes its capacity to last as long as.
  • It is important to move slowly when screwing into the cork to avoid breaking it.
  • Ensure the bottle is placed firmly on a sturdy surface; so there are no mishaps when pulling the cork out.
  • An easy-to-use wine bottle opener.
  • Portable and affordable.
  • May not be an excellent choice for uncorking vintage wine.

Concluding thoughts

The safest way to uncork your bottle of wine is with the proper equipment. Now you know how to use different types of wine bottle openers, you can go ahead and make the best choice perfect for your needs.

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