Wines with a cork closure will always have a seal, also known as a capsule. Most often this is a foil seal but these can also be made out of wax. They were created to prevent pests like rodents and insects from damaging the cork when they were stored in cellars. While this is no longer an issue today, the tradition still remains. So how do you remove the seal?
This method largely only applies to foil seals. Simply hold onto the neck of your bottle and gently, but with some force, twist and pull the seal off.
If you can't pull the seal off, or you find yourself with a wax seal, you can cut it off. Using either the serrated knife of your Waiter's Friend, the tip of a corkscrew, or a serrated knife, slice around the lip of the bottle. Once you've sliced all the way around you can use the tip of the knife or corkscrew to lift the seal off.
If you want something quicker or a method to impress your guests, you can slice the seal off. Facing the bottle away from you (and anyone else in the room with you), use a serrated knife or kitchen knife and slice upwards to cut through the side of the seal.
Once you've removed the seal from your bottle of wine, now it's time to get the cork out.
First, let’s cover the traditional methods of opening a bottle of wine: with a corkscrew. There are plenty of different types of corkscrews out there but we think the most common are the Waiter's Friend Corkscrew and the Winged Corkscrew.
This is perhaps the most common type of corkscrew. In fact, it’s the standard type used in restaurants and bars (hence the name).
To remove the cork from your corkscrew, simply unscrew it counterclockwise. Remember to save it if you don’t plan on finishing your bottle so you can use it to reseal your wine.
For some, these can actually be easier to use than the Waiter's Friend.
To remove the cork from your Winged Corkscrew simply hold onto the cork and rotate it counterclockwise.
Now let’s go into some of the more unconventional — or practical depending on how you view things — methods of opening a bottle of wine. After all, you won’t always have a corkscrew handy. A word of warning: some of these methods do have elements of danger so we do ask you to practice caution. Remember, patience is key to avoid breaking the cork, or worse yet, breaking the bottle.
If you’re a DIY-type person and have a fully-stocked tool box lying around then this method is for you. All you need is a long screw, a hammer (pliers or a fork will also do), and a screwdriver. You’re essentially creating your own corkscrew.
This method brings in some physics to get that cork of your bottle. Just make sure your bottle isn’t too cold to avoid shattering the glass with rapid temperature changes.
If all you have on hand are your keys then fret not, you can use these as well. All you need is a towel and a key.
This is perhaps one of the most dangerous methods so do exercise caution. Using a sharp steak knife you’ll follow the same steps as with the key method. Just ensure you have a good grip on the cork and start trying to rotate the cork out of the bottle.
The shoe method is one that seems ridiculous but for the most part is successful. If you’re curious about how this works, here’s a quick article on the science behind this method.
A word of warning, the cork may inadvertently shoot out of the bottle so make sure to do this away from anything breakable or away for any people.
If you happen to have a bike pump or a ball pump laying around, you can use this to remove the cork from your bottle. Just ensure that your pump is the style with a needle tip that can be inserted between the cork and the bottle.
This method will require some brute strength and patience. If you have a spare wire hanger laying around that you aren’t using anymore then it’s time to fashion it into a corkscrew. There are 2 methods you can use when it comes to a wire hanger.
It’s time to unleash your inner MacGyver. This is similar to the second wire hanger method but instead you’ll need 2 paper clips and a pen or some pliers.
Note: we have seen this method both work and fail but it’s always worth a go even just for the fun of seeing if you can get it to work.
If all else fails, the cork is starting to break, or you just can’t be bothered to pull the cork out; you can always simply push it into the bottle. Either using the end of a wooden spoon or even a whiteboard marker, you can push down on the cork until it's floating inside your wine. Of course, only do this if you plan on finishing the bottle in 1 sitting.
If the cork breaks while you’re trying to open the bottle of wine, it doesn’t automatically mean something's wrong (although do keep a nose out for any off-odors that could indicate the wine is corked). If the cork has started to crumble because you’ve attempted to open the bottle without a corkscrew there are a few simple “fixes”.
Although sparkling wine bottles come with cork closures, you won’t be needing a corkscrew to get these open. Here are 2 methods to open your bottle of sparkling wine.
We’ve all seen the movies and the TV shows where opening a bottle of sparkling wine is accompanied by a big pop and the overflow of bubbles. While this gets people excited, it can be a bit of a waste. In fact, what you really want to hear when you open a bottle of sparkling wine is a gentle pop as CO2 gets released. So how do you do this?
If you want to go full-on theatrical there is the saber method, which we don’t recommend you do indoors. All you need is a bottle of sparkling wine made using the traditional method such as Champagne (these will have the highest pressure inside the bottle) and something with a sturdy blunt edge that you can use to apply friction to the bottle.
Of course, if you'd rather not deal with the cork at all you can always buy bottles of wine with Stelvin closures. Just unscrew the cap and you're good to go — plus it makes resealing the bottle that much easier.
The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time to indulge, to celebrate the year that has been and the year that is to come. More importantly, it’s a time to spend with family and friends. This year, make these moments even more special with a little sparkle. There’s something undeniably festive about sparkling wine, so while we’re believers in enjoying it year-round, the holidays are the time to break out the bubbles. What better wine to choose than Moët & Chandon.