It takes the average person less than ten seconds to open a wine bottle with a corkscrew.
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? Can you open wine without a corkscrew, or needlessly suffer in silence (and sobriety)?
Fear not. Below are 9 unusual – but extremely effective – ways how to open wine without a corkscrew…
Top 9 Ways – How to Open Wine Without A Corkscrew
#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
This method of opening wine without a real corkscrew may seem a little wild, but it can work as long as you don’t drop the wine bottle! 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, or be prepared to get a wine bath in the process!
#3 – The MacGyver Method
Got a toolbox? Great. Grab a pair of pliers and a screw. The screw should be a least 4 inches long and the greater the distance between screw threads, the better (provides more grip in the cork).
Step 1: Place the screw into the cork until it’s roughly half an inch sticking out. Be careful not to go too deep to where it goes all the way through the cork and taints the wine.
Step: Gently use the pliers to pull out the screw. Alternatively, use the back end of a hammer to pull the screw out. Voila you now have open wine without a corkscrew!
#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 Mommie Dearest Method
If you’ve seen “Mommie Dearest” you’ll get the reference. If not, watch the movie. It’s worth it.
For this method of how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew 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 a wine bottle open without a bottle opener: 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 fool proof way of how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, 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.
How to open wine with a knife / sword / sabre:
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. If not, you will have a lot of wine and glass flying everywhere, so safety goggles would be prudent. Dare we suggest, leaving this one to the experts?
Video credit: How to Sabre Champagne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ2vU3lvwx0
If all else fails…
FIND A PROPER WINE CORKSCREW HERE >
Keith Winter is renowned gift expert. His gift collaborations and designs have enriched over 1.3 million lives. He has a unique insight into the art of gifting, with his 20+ year history. In 2023 he achieved certification in the “The Art of Luxury” from the prestigious Parsons Designer School of Paris and has participated in design workshops at Chanel Paris. He has appeared on TV shows and collaborated with multiple brands as a gifting expert. Keith has a reputation for unmatched knowledge in finding gifts that leave a lasting impression.