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I hate bottle circumcision

Disclaimer: wax is not covered in this post.

I just hate the idea of circumcising a wine bottle.
To be more precise: waste time and skills in order to cut a circumference around the capsule, leaving most of it intact except for a disk that will allow access to the cork.
I LOVE instead to just pull the useless thing off, or mercilessly cut it and throw it away.
At least, that's what I've been doing for way too many years -and bottles-, and I'm happy with it.
Am I missing something?

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  1. I too always try to pull the entire foil off before I have to cut. Unfortunately they all don't pull right off. I wish they would.

    1. I'd probably feel the same way you do if I didn't have a foil cutter. To me those gadgets aren't about neatness, but about easiness. With it you can expose the cork in about half the time as any other method, whether you cut around the top of just rip the whole foil off.

      1. I always remove the whole capsule.

        1. RicRios, Many premium wines are now being shipped with screw caps. Apparently the wineries or stores are worried about people "sampling the wines" by merely unscrewing the caps before purchase. To counter this, the wineries must have contacted the CD manufacturers to create caps that are almost impossible to open. Wait until you encounter one of these demons. I suggest a Dremel Moto Tool with #2 blade.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Leper

            Sorry, disclaimer update: wax AND screw caps not covered in this post.

            1. re: RicRios

              Why not? I think they are just as valid to discuss in this post.

              Capsules and corks are a continium from early styles to the modern ones and they all require different skills and methods to open.

          2. At the risk of sounding lewd, why remove the foil at all?

            While tending bar at a wine-and-beer only trattoria, we didn't have time to remove the foil when we were weeded. We had one of those bar installations that opens the bottle in two movements only. I always did cut the foil with the knife of my wine key table side, though, because I was performing the ritual for tips.

            But at home, I'm not proud, and I'm lazy.

            5 Replies
            1. re: julietg

              Not removing the foil might get messy when you're dealing with an old bottle and the top of the cork is schmutzig.
              But bottom line: I feel relieved now, nobody seems to be horrified at the idea of skipping circumcision. Now that you mentioned it, julietg, it makes sense: the entire foil-cutting ceremony was probably born as a tip-invoking ritual to be performed at table side.

              1. re: RicRios

                Actually the cutting thing came about to deal with wax sealed bottles which were difficult to open.

                Then the first foil sealed bottles had the capsule put on so firmly that you couldn't open them any other way than to cut the foil with a knife. The bottles were opened tableside so the customer could see the cork while still in the bottle and if it was deteriorated or clean. Otherwise a bottle could have the capsule opened in back. The bottle top cleaned, (or even re-corked) and then presented to the customer, who wouldn't know as much about the bottles condition.

                I remember when I was just starting in the wine business and the capsules had to be cut because they were much thicker and stronger than the ones we have now. It is only in the past 20 years or so that you could pull off the capsules, and even then it has been only recently that the foil ones came off so easy.

                The plastic ones are still a pain to get off. With those I just open with the capsule on and it breaks the plastic as you pull up the cork.

                1. re: JMF

                  Or in other words: An ancient custom that made a lot of sense in the past, now people keep doing it although they don't know why.
                  Thanks JMF, you made my day!

                  1. re: JMF

                    Just as a relevant aside...... I had a pre-holiday customer who was looking for a gadget as a gift. The gadget?....... a tool whose sole purpose is to remove the little plastic disc in the top of the bottle. Now that's niche marketing!! I've always just done as you do, or sometimes pop it out with the foil cutter blade or with the tip of the corkscrew. But a whole separate tool??????

                    1. re: Midlife

                      You gave me the perfect opening to relate the fact that my poor mom gifted me with an ELECTRIC CORKSCREW for Xmas and I eventually had to politely tell her that I didn't want to seem ungrateful, but I really didn't want to haul it all the way back to California only to have it sit in the corner and collect dust. I could (maybe?) see it for those who have frequent (as in weekly) parties where they open 10 or more bottles, but...

                      Of course, the gadget you describe tops that in terms of niche engineering/marketing.

              2. It's never a problem for me, I just put the box on the count... oh. Never mind.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Yeah, I use the little knife thing on the corkscrew to tear the paper sack open on my bottle of Ripple.

                2. I think bottom line is that if you're just opening wine to consume at home/casually, do whatever the heck you want.

                  But for better or worse, "circumcision" has become part of the tableside ritual in a restaurant that probably isn't going to go away. Let the professionals deal with that silly custom.

                  I circumcise, but I'm always slightly afraid I'm gonna let the blade slip somehow and lose a fingertip or worse...

                  1. I remove all the foil. On the couple of occasions I've cut the foil off the bottle, I've ended up with blood all over the counter.

                    1. Didn't I read some time back about health issues with the content of the foil touching and affecting the wine? Lead or something...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Bob Brooks

                        the foils are no longer made of lead.

                        the reason for not completely removing the foil is that it helps catch drips, which is a restaurant thing. most people at home don't care. but why people seem to think opening a wine bottle is hard has always mystified me. a simple waiter's corkscrew will cut the foil and open the bottle in about 20 seconds.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          Sorry, but NO WAY, foil doesn't catch drips.

                          BTW, DropStop DOES AWAY with drips, best invention EVER!:


                      2. I go right for it - I use a wing-style opener, and drill it through everything, foil and all. Then once the cork is pulled out, I insert a knife tip into the edge of the foil (from the inside towards the outside), and with a few pulls and tears, the foil is easily removed. Worked fine until I did buy a bottle with a screwtop! No problem - just finished it off and that was that!

                        1. I do the exact same thing.

                          I either use the end of the opener to rip the foil a bit and rip it all off, or if I'm feeling really impatient, I just open the wine through the foil and all and then rip it all off. None of that foil cutting crap for me unless it's really expensive wine and the foil is super thick and doesn't come off as easily.

                          1. The foil capsule around the neck is sometimes there to hide the occasional ring of sediment which can settle at the top of the liquid level. Not a quality problem, just a presentation problem.

                            At home, removing the capsule completely is not an issue. At a restaurant, they may want to do the neat circumcision for presentation purposes & to avoid showing that ring around the collar area for the same reason the producers want to.

                            Back in Korea, we used to use our service sabres to just chop the whole neck off bottles clean. Solves all problems in one fell swoop.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: evans

                              "Back in Korea, we used to use our service sabres to just chop the whole neck off bottles clean."

                              Wow. That might not be very subtle, but certainly gets mission accomplished!