You are at a social event, by the pool, on the beach, sailing in a boat with friends, or at a picnic with your special someone, only to find out that you forgot your reliable corkscrew. If that’s you, don’t succumb to despair.
There are hundreds of other ways to open a bottle of wine, ranging from hooking it out with a wire hanger to using a spoon handle. And more than a matter of necessity or thirst, trying out new ways to open a wine bottle is fun.
This post provides you with the ten best and most clever hacks to open wine bottles without a corkscrew.
Let’s get started!
How do I get a wine bottle open without a corkscrew?
Whether the waiter’s corkscrew in your home has gone missing or you forgot it when going out, knowing how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew is an essential skill for any wine lover.
Here are tested-and-proven methods that work as excellent as a corkscrew in opening a wine bottle:
Method #1: Use a wooden spoon handle
First on our list of best ways to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew is using a wooden spoon handle. It’s a safe method that is a surefire to open your wine bottle without much effort and strain.
So, how do you go about it?
Take the wooden handle of a wooden spoon and press with consistent pressure down on the middle of the cork. Yes, removing the cork from the bottle may be impossible, but you’ll have your wine to enjoy.
Unfortunately, if the wine bottle is old, the cork may crumble and shed into the wine once you push it in. However, this should be a concern; most wine corks are made from cork oak trees, which are not toxic to humans.
However, having cork pieces in your wine may feel uncomfortable. Use a filter to remove the pieces.
Note: If you can’t find a wooden spoon, use any blunt object the same size as the spoon. It should work just as fine as the spoon.
Method #2: Bike pump method
This method uses sweet science but is one of the easiest ways to open a wine bottle besides using a corkscrew. You only need a bike pump or any air pump with an attached needle.
Here is how you use the bike pump needle to open the wine bottle:
- Plunge the pump needle through the cork until it reaches the air between the wine and the cork.
- Then, gently pump air into the bottle. The cork should start moving out slowly as the air pressure increases
- Be careful as the cork may forcefully and quickly due to pressure from the bike pump.
Also, be careful not to push the cork further into the wine, especially if you don’t plan to drink the whole bottle. A blunt needle could push the cork further in.
Method #3: Use keys or a serrated knife
Your car or house keys offer a creative way to remove the cork from the wine bottle in just a few seconds. However, the success of this method depends on the key you use, with long and sharp keys working the best.
To use this method:
- Insert your house or car keys into the cork at a slight angle, as you would a corkscrew or wine key, leaving a little part of the key outside the cork
- Then, turn the cork clockwise, up, and out of the bottle
- The catch here is to turn the cork in circles as you pull it up in the same movement
Note: You can use a serrated knife – such as a butter knife – in the place of the keys; it should be as effective.
Method #4: Use a pair of scissors
Like the key method, this method only needs household items to open the wine bottle – a pair of scissors. Push one blade of the scissors into the center of the cork and gently twist the scissor’s handles clockwise as you pull the cork up.
Warning: Be careful with the scissors’ blades! They may cut you if not handled with care.
Method #5: Hook it out with a hanger
This is yet another very effective method, but it involves destroying your wire hangers – a sacrifice all wine lovers will be willing to make!
Here is how to use the wire hanger:
- Using pliers, bend the last half inch back making about a 45-degree angle – almost similar to the angle of a fishhook
- Place the new hook on the edge of the cork with the U-shape facing up
- Twist the hook in circles and back and forth until it’s about 2 inches into the cork
- Twist the hook so it inserts the pointy part into the bottom of the cork
- Pull up the cork once the hook is underneath the cork. Use a pair of pliers or other household items to remove the cork if it seems stuck.
Method #6: Apply heat to the neck of the bottle
This method isn’t always the most effective, but it works, especially in winter, when a mulled wine is perfect. Using a lighter or a blow torch, apply heat to the neck of the wine bottle right below the cork.
Air expands when heated and should force the cork to move upward and eventually out of the wine bottle. However, ensure the wine bottle isn’t cold, or it could explode from the rapid temperature change.
If your wine bottle is cold, leave it in a lukewarm surrounding for a while before heating it. You can also place the bottle inside warm water, and the cork will come off, too.
Alternatively, you can use heated bottle tongs, placing them on top of the bottle – in the area between the wine and the cork. Once the cork comes off, rub chilly water on the neck using a kitchen towel or brush.
Take extreme caution as you could hurt yourself. Leave the heated part of the bottle to cool before serving your wine.
Method #7: The screw method
This is one of the best and safest wine openers but requires strength and resilience, and access to some household tools. The method involves driving a screw (a long screw possibly) into the cork, then pulling it out with the claw at the back of a hammer.
It’s recommended that you use a log screw and drive it in until only about an inch of the screw is left showing. Using a screwdriver to drive the screw will make this activity easier.
If you can’t get a claw hammer pair of household pliers can suffice. Ensure you pat yourself on the back once you complete the mission.
Note: As with most other methods, be careful when using this method, as you would injure yourself or spill your wine.
Method #8: Use a string to pull the cork out
Like the screw method, this wine bottle opener requires much strength, effort, and access to some household tools. You need a screwdriver or a long thin metal and a thick piece of cord or string to pull this off.
Once the tools are ready, use the screwdriver or its alternative to create a hole through the cork. Once you are done, tie a large knot in one end of the string and push it (the knotted end) through the cork using the screwdriver.
Then, you can pull the string out, and it should come off with the cork.
You’re likely to find crumbled pieces of cork in your wine, which makes your glass of wine less desirable. Use a coffee filter to remove the cork bits.
Method #9: Use the wall to smack it out
This is not always the best method as it is dangerous, so use it as your last resort when everything else fails. It should only be your best friend when you have no tools to open your wine bottle.
So, how does the method work?
Wrap the bottom of the wine bottle in a thick towel and bang the hard surface against a hard wall several times. The bottle may break, so refrain from using your full strength. Instead, hit the base of the bottle lightly but repeatedly; the cork will come off.
Method #10: The shoe method
This method is almost similar to the previous one but a little safer. It works the best with a shoe with a higher profile heel or one with a raised sole – such as a leather loafer that a gentleman would wear to work.
Once you have a shoe that fits this description, proceed to open your wine bottle as follows:
- Choose an outside area in case the wine spills. Also, remember to stay to the side of the bottle to avoid having wine spillage tarnishing your clothes.
- Remove wrapping around the cork and place the bottle upside down between your legs.
- Smack the bottom of the bottle using the sole of your shoe. The cork should start coming off the bottle
- Once it’s free enough to come off, use your hands to remove it.
Note: This method may take a long time, but it’s safer than smacking the wine bottle against the wall.
Important: Some of the methods mentioned above aren’t 100% foolproof and risk breaking your wine bottle or chipping it. So, if you have an expensive wine, you should keep it until you find a corkscrew.
At a wine shop, you can either buy a bottle with a cork closure – more attractive and classy – or one with a screw cap that’s easy to open. If you choose the former option, only to realize that you don’t have a corkscrew, don’t worry.
This post provides you with the ten best ways to open a wine bottle without using a corkscrew. Good luck as you use it to enjoy your hard-earned happy hour without a broken wine glass or floating bits of cork.