The humble corkscrew is an essential piece of any wine-lover’s toolkit. That and really expensive glassware that smashes if you even look at it too hard. These devices have a singular purpose – to draw the cork from a bottle of wine and free the liquid from its glass prison for our enjoyment. It probably says a lot for wine that you need a specialist tool to get to it.
The Simple Screw
No frills here. A simple ‘T’ shape with a handle and a helix screw. You can use the sharp end of the screw to cut the foil in a pinch, though for intransigent corks you’ll need some strength to free your wine from its prison.
The Wing Screw
Probably the first image that pops to mind when you say corkscrew. Depending on how sturdy it is either a very effective tool – screw down, use the levers to pull the cork free – or a fiddly and uncomfortable device that hurts your hands when you push down the levers and is liable to snap in the face of a stiff cork. Often has a bottle-top remover as the turning key.
The Clever Screw
Simple in its genius. A small catch at the top flips when you screw, reversing the mechanism so that you keep turning the same direction to remove the cork. Elegant and effective. Keep turning it to ‘unscrew’ the cork for disposal once removed from the bottle.
The Engineered Corkscrew
Impressive looking bits of kit that can whip a cork out in short order – a design improvement on the traditional lever screw with elements of the clever screw built into it, only bigger. Not exactly portable, but very easy and quick to use – at its best when you have many bottles to open and not a lot of time, though they tend to get jammed on synthetic corks.
The Waiter’s Friend
This little chap is, in the humble opinion of many a bartender, waiter and wine professional, the only corkscrew you’ll ever need. It has a small blade to cut the foil, a lever to help pull the cork from the bottle, and has a beer bottle opener on the reverse of the lever. All in a package so tidy you’re liable to forget its in your pocket when you go through airport security.
The Oversized Monstrosity
It works. It’s huge. Bit like using a sledgehammer when a scalpel would do, but hey! It’s fun! Keen eye’d amongst you will notice this example is made by cycle manufacturer Campagnolo.
Perhaps the most simple and elegant solution of all. Ask your butler to open it for you. He’ll pour it and clear away your glass when its empty too. The Fez option.
We say grab a waiter’s friend, but whichever corkscrew you choose, we suggest you avoid using them on screwcaps…