You’ve had a long day. Or a long week. Or perhaps even a long month. You need a nice glass of wine. A gentle yet crisp sauvignon blanc or a robust and edgy pinot noir. Whatever your preference, you need the wine right now, no exceptions. The bottle is chilled to just the right temperature, the clear wine glass begging to be filled with the delectable nectar, your mood about to be significantly improved, and you open the drawer and there is no corkscrew. That’s not possible. It’s always there. You search and search and search to no avail. You tear through all your drawers and cabinets and counter space until your kitchen is a disaster! Just kidding, unless you are the person who has had the long month and things just hit a breaking point. If that’s the case then some of the solutions presented here may be more dangerous than usual. But in all seriousness, you don’t have a corkscrew. And there’s no way you are going all the way to a store right now to buy a new one. There’s wine to be drunk. So out comes your phone to search for help and in comes this article to restore your beverage enjoyment. You’re welcome.
There are many ways out there to get that cork out of a wine bottle without an opener or a corkscrew. This article will present various effective methods and tell you just how to execute the cool in-a-pinch maneuvers. From keys to shoes to fire to screws, it’s all about leverage and force, with a little ingenuity and patience sprinkled in. On to the first method!
Open the Bottle with a Shoe
This alternative wine-opening method is for those with slight anger issues or just want to show off your gym habits a little bit. All you need is a shoe and a sturdy wall and a little patience. First off, you’re going to want a shoe with a thicker rubber sole, such as a tennis or running or basketball shoe. The whole purpose of the rubber is to provide a buffer to the banging so the bottom of the wine bottle doesn’t shatter and break. Also, a shoe with a higher ankle coverage tends to work better because the bottle will be more secure within the shoe. Next, you need a sturdy wall, like of brick or concrete. No kitchen or living room walls here, you don’t want to make a dent or hole in your drywall just for a bottle of wine. Or maybe you do, and your therapist says anger management should be seriously considered. That’s neither here nor there, so on to the instructions.
- Remove any foil or cover to the cork so it is completely exposed.
- Place the base of the wine bottle in the heel of the shoe.
- Grasp the middle of the wine bottle and the toe of the shoe firmly.
- In one motion while grasping both the bottle and shoe, pound the heel of the shoe into the wall. You want to use a little bit of force, but definitely not all of your might. You are trying to coax the cork out of the wine bottle, not shoot it out like a rocket.
- Keep pounding the shoe against the wall until the cork is about halfway out of the neck of the wine bottle. This could take anywhere from 5-20 hits, depending on how hard you are hitting. At this point, you can use your hands or some pliers to grab the cork and wriggle the rest of it out of the bottle.
- Pour your grapes and enjoy the evening!
Open the Bottle with a Key
This next trick is for all of the wannabe MacGyvers out there. Or maybe you prefer MacGruber, and in that case, just be careful not to blow yourself up. Joking of course, and very poorly at that. For this method, all you need is a key, and perhaps a towel or cloth to create a barrier between the key and your hand. You’ll want to choose a sturdier key, but not necessarily one that is used frequently as there is a slight possibility it could bend. A car key is ideal as it is very sturdy, but most types of keys work for this. On to the steps…
- As in the first method, completely remove any foil or covering of the cork.
- Take the key off your key ring if it’s still on there.
- Start pushing the key into the cork at about a 45-degree angle, starting from the outside edge of the cork and working towards the bottom/middle.
- Keep pushing the key into the cork as far as it can go or as far as you can get it. The further the better, as this will allow more leverage when removing the cork. This is also where the towel or cloth can be of use as pushing the key in can require some serious force and can therefore hurt your hand if there isn’t a buffer. So use it if you need to.
- When the key is all the way in, start rotating the key with your thumb or thumbs, while holding the wine bottle still. This will break the seal between the cork and the bottle.
- Once the cork is rotating, begin to apply upward pressure on the key as you continue rotating so the cork begins to rise as you rotate. This will take several turns and the cork may begin to rip, but hopefully not so much so that the key comes out.
- Once the cork is about halfway out, you can just wriggle the rest of it out just as in the previous method.
- Drink a glass or two and relax.
Open the Bottle with a Lighter
This last method is for all the chemistry nerds or pyros. It’s very cool but also the most dangerous of the three methods in this article. Therefore, it is the least recommended and also very highly discouraged if you are not sober at the point of bottle opening. That’s just fair warning. Another reason to choose the other methods over this one is that it could potentially change the flavor and aromas of the wine due to the heat applied to the bottle and thus the steam trapped inside before it pops. So, if it’s a fancy bottle or you are a true sommelier, stop reading this article and just use your amazing electric corkscrew, we know you have one. Anyway, any ordinary lighter will work fine. And that’s all you need for this chemistry hack. The idea behind this method is that you heat the air underneath the cork, thus causing it to expand and push the cork out. Instructions are as follows.
- Again, take off any foil or covering to the cork completely.
- DO NOT STAND OR LEAN OVER THE WINE BOTTLE OR HAVE IT POINTING AT YOURSELF OR ANYTHING BREAKABLE. The cork will shoot out of the neck like a champagne bottle when the air is heated enough, so don’t put yourself or anything important in harm’s way.
- Light up that lighter. To do this, you need to apply swift downward pressure on the wheel and then hold the provided button down with your thumb. Hopefully that previous sentence wasn’t necessary, otherwise you’re in trouble.
- Grasp the base of the bottle and put the flame to the neck of the bottle, underneath the cork. Rotate the bottle slowly so the flame eventually gets to all parts of the neck.
- Keep doing this until the cork pops out. This could take up to about a minute long, so have some patience if it isn’t working right away.
- Remember that the cork is most likely going to shoot out of the bottle, so stay clear.
- Pour a glass, Walter White, and reap the rewards of your ingenuity.
You’ve opened your bottle; the day is now good. Just remember that a corkscrew is always the preferred method to open wine. It’s safer and easier. So use one if you have it. And please use caution and smarts when using these methods. Now go enjoy your wine, you creative, cork-conquering badass!