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ISO corkscrew and wine preserver

ktown378 Sep 27, 2006 05:00 PM

i'm looking for a new wine opener and wine preserver. either purchased separately or in a set, which would you recommend?

i came across the rabbit corkscrew set that had a preserver as well. had decent reviews but would rather hear from fellow chowhounders. which do you use and/or which would you buy or own? TIA

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  1. carswell RE: ktown378 Sep 27, 2006 05:34 PM

    Clamp-and-lever-type corkscrews are efficient but unweildy. I tend to use them only when I have a large number of bottles to open, like for a tasting.

    The closest thing I've found to a fail-safe corkscrew is the Screwpull. That said, I almost always reach for a hinged waiter's friend: fits in a pocket; is easy to hold; has an integrated foil-cutter; is unfazed by wax capsules; allows fast removal of corks from the worm; and is inexpensive (the luxury models are nice but don't do a better job).

    By the way, the worms on most fancy corkscrews are Teflon-coated these days. While that's generally a good thing, beware that many synthetic corks will strip off the Teflon. That's why I keep a non-Tefloned waiter's friend just for the synthetics.

    Having tried and even taken part in blind-tasting tests of most popular domestic wine-preserving systems, including air pumps like Vacu-vin, I've come to the conclusion that inert-gas systems like Private Preserve www.privatepreserve.com are the only way to go.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carswell
      Robert Lauriston RE: carswell Sep 27, 2006 05:59 PM

      Second on all of that.

      Some synthetic corks I've ecountered have been hard enough to bend a Screwpull.

      Another caveat on corkscrews: most Italian bottles have a slightly narrower neck, so if you push an Ah-So all the way down, it'll crack the glass.


    2. Husky RE: ktown378 Sep 27, 2006 06:13 PM

      An effective wine preservation system I use is to transfer the leftover wine from a 750ml bottle to a half bottle and store it in the refridgerator (yes, even reds).

      1. n
        newJJD RE: ktown378 Sep 27, 2006 07:38 PM

        I've been very satisfied with the inert gas system made be WineLife.


        About $10 a can, will treat 120+ bottles.

        As for corkscrew, I really like the new auto-twist model by ScrewPull. Like a lever opener, no "yanking" is involved, just twist and out comes the cork. Not as bulky as a lever opener either.

        1 Reply
        1. re: newJJD
          Midlife RE: newJJD Sep 27, 2006 10:31 PM

          By way of another suggestion, but also to ask if you have any comparison to offer....... Private Preserve seems to be a more widely available inert gas preservative in this area. But......... I notice that Winelife claims TEN days of preservation without any oxidation, while Private Preserve seems to offer NO specific claims.

          Everything I've ever read on this subject suggests that a fairly educated palate can detect changes after 4 days or so at best with ANY of the available systems.. Does Winelife stand up to it's 10 day claim, in your opinion? Any experience with Private Preserve?

        2. n
          newJJD RE: ktown378 Sep 28, 2006 03:30 AM

          Sorry I am not familiar with Private Preserve, I'd never even heard of it until today... maybe it is not available in Canada, where I live!

          Winelife does hold its claim in my opinion, within reason. If there is an inch of wine at the bottom of the bottle, the life span for drinkability is 3-4 days depending on the quality of the wine. If the bottle is half or 2/3 full, 7-10 is not out of the question.

          Case in point - We did a blind tasting featuring 6 bottles of 2003 Los Cardos Malbec (a well made $10 wine) as follows:
          1) Freshly opened bottle
          2) A 1 hour decanted bottle
          3) A half-full bottle that had been "vaccumed" for 3 days
          4) A winelife treated near full bottle left for 10 days
          5) A winelife treated half full bottle left for 7 days
          6) A winelife treated near empty bottle left for 5 days.

          The results

          #2 was clearly the most flavorful
          Very little difference betweeb # 1, 4, 5
          #6 had started to oxidize
          #2 undrinkable

          For anything less than half full - I transfer it to an empty sterile 1/2 bottle first. And I re-cork IMMEDIATELY after spraying (The stopper/cork is already on it way in as the straw is coming out!)

          Hope this helps

          4 Replies
          1. re: newJJD
            maria lorraine RE: newJJD Sep 28, 2006 05:51 AM

            hey, newJJD... I'm sorry...I think you have a typo here with
            the second #2 --is that supposed to be wine #3??

            Good, informal study, BTW...

            1. re: maria lorraine
              newJJD RE: maria lorraine Sep 28, 2006 06:33 AM

              Yes it should have read #3 undrinkable, thank you for pointing that out.

            2. re: newJJD
              Steve K RE: newJJD Oct 1, 2006 04:48 PM

              Your posting of your blind tasting is much appreciated. Our group is of many minds regarding how to save an open bottle (mostly hey, just drink it), and your data helps.

              What is missing datawise (for me) is 1/2 bottle, vacuumed vs corked for one day. Although, the comments above and below regarding the use of a half bottle make more sense regardless. Can the half bottle just be run thru the dishwasher to sterilze, anybody?

              1. re: Steve K
                Husky RE: Steve K Oct 3, 2006 06:24 PM

                Yes, the dishwasher does the trick (just make sure to rinse it afterwards to remove any lingering soap residue).

            3. m
              MikeG RE: ktown378 Sep 28, 2006 11:52 PM

              Not to mention that if you know you're not going to finish a bottle and have a half bottle lying around, it will keep longer if you immediately fill it when you open the larger bottle and then cap it off. If you fill it far enough, you don't have to bother with gas or vacuuming.

              1. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: ktown378 Oct 1, 2006 12:47 PM

                Don't worry about the fancy corkscrews. The basic waiters' friend corkscrew does the job with a minimal amount of fuss, is very small, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I have used a lot of them and my favorite one is the one they sell at IKEA for six bucks. The worm (the twisty bit in case you aren't familiar with the jargon) could be a bit thinner, but everything else about it is just splendidly designed, it's a pure joy to use. One caveat about it (and all of this corkscrew type, for that matter): Make sure the worm is completely buried in the cork, or you run the risk of pulling out only half the cork.

                1. f
                  fnarf RE: ktown378 Oct 3, 2006 01:06 AM

                  The best way by far of preserving wine is to drink it up!

                  The only thing you need to worry about with a corkscrew is that the screw is a true spiral, and not a solid straight spike with a spiral ridge running around it. The center of the spiral should be open. Ikea six bucks sounds perfect. Heck, I'm not picky; in an emergency I've opened a bottle with a wooden spoon!

                  1. d
                    drobbia RE: ktown378 Oct 5, 2006 09:01 PM

                    -try to get a waiters friend with 6 spirals on the worm (better for longer corks) - most have 5.

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