You’re Screwed! 9 Unusual Ways to Open Wine Bottles Without a Corkscrew

wine bottles
It takes the average person less than ten seconds to open a bottle of wine.

With a corkscrew, that is. But what if you find yourself stranded on a desert island (or worse, someone’s house who doesn’t drink) with a bottle of your favorite Burgundy? Is there hope? Will you open it without a corskscrew, or needlessly suffer in silence (and sobriety)?

Fear not. Below are 9 unusual – but extremely effective – ways to open wine bottles without corkscrews…

#1 – The Tree Method

Wrap a towel around the base of the bottle. Then firmly hit the base of the bottle against a tree, wall or any other flat, hard surface. Each hit pushes the wine against the cork, and eventually pushes the cork out.

#2 – Dropkick Burgundies

Place the wine bottle upside down and hold it between your knees. Repeatedly strike the base with your shoe until the cork is roughly halfway out. Then remove the cork by hand. This method works with sparkling wines, too; just be sure to let it sit at least ten minutes before fully removing the cork.

#3 – The MacGyver Method

Got a toolbox? Great. Grab a pair of pliers and a screw (the greater the distance between threads, the better). Place the screw into the cork until it’s roughly half an inch sticking out, then use the pliers to pull out the screw. Alternatively, use the back end of a hammer to pull the screw out.

#4 – The Archimedes Effect

The ancient Greek philosopher Archimedes once boasted “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the world.”

Our aspirations aren’t quite as ambitious. But the concept of fulcrums still applies. For this method, take a small paring knife or pocket knife (Swiss Army knives work too, but then, they usually have corkscrews. You don’t have a Swiss Army knife around, do you?).

Gently work the knife around the edge of the cork. Don’t push down too hard; you’re trying to slide the blade around the cork, not through it. Once the blade is past the cork, begin working the blade back and forth. This will loosen the cork, allowing you to pull it out by hand.

#5 – The Mommy Dearest Method

If you’ve seen “Mommy Dearest” you’ll get the reference. If not, watch the movie. It’s worth it.

For this method you’ll need a wire hanger. Bend the tip of the hanger back about 30 degrees so it looks like a fish hook. Then slide the wire down alongside the cork, and rotate it roughly 90 degrees so the hook sinks into the cork’s bottom. Then pull the wire up.  You can use pliers or by hand (but use a towel or gloves to protect yourself).

#6 – The Knot’s Landing Method

Remember the Dropkick Burgundy method? Well, if your shoes have laces, here’s another way to get to the good stuff: tie a knot at the end of your lace and push it down the side of the cork. Then oh-so-gently pull the lace – and the cork – out. If the lace keeps popping out, tie a larger knot and try again.

#7 – The Cork on the Snob Method

You know those small handles you place into corn on the cob? They make great corkscrews, too. Place the corn cob holder into the cork and gently pull upward while twisting back and forth.

#8 – The Hammer Time Method

Hammer five nails into the cork. Pull them out with the hammer. Pretty simple, huh?

And now for a special bonus method:

#9 – The Napoleon Dynamite

Also known as le sabrage, this method lets you remove Champagne corks (or any other sparkling wine) with a sword. Seriously, how cool is that?

The custom began with Napoleon’s troops and is still considered an effective – not to mention entertaining- method for removing corks.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Chill the wine overnight in the refrigerator. If you haven’t, try soaking the bottleneck in ice water beforehand.
Step 2:  Remove the foil and wire cage from atop the cork.
Step 3: Wipe down the bottle to remove all excess moisture.
Step 4:  Find the seams on the bottle. This is where the two bottle halves join together.
Step 5: Tilt the bottle to a 45 degree angle. Safely point it away from others (but you already knew that, didn’t you?).
Step 6: Place the blunt edge of the sword on base of the bottle. Slide the sword along the seam towards the cork in one fluid motion. If done correctly, the sword will “behead” the bottle, taking the bottle top and cork clean off. Plus, it makes you look really, really cool.