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Wine opener

I was planning on buying some nice wine glasses for my dad, but that whole endeavor nervouses me with all those different lines for all the different types of wines.

Instead, I'm now planning on buying him a nice wine opener. Which one's considered the best wine opener? The only nice wine opener I've heard of is the Rabbit, but I don't know if that's due to their marketing or quality.

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  1. The 2-step waiters friend is by far and away the best wine-opener.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve_K

      I agree. I get Pulltops (sp?) brand from TJs. Faultless, easy, portable, cheap, and consistent.

    2. There are some great ones out there that get pricey! If you are looking for something really nice, consider Chateau Laguiole. They can easily run over $200. -mJ

      1. The Laguiole wine opener is very nice and has some prestige. It is, however, only a one-hinge model. I really like the double-hinge openers (what Steve_K called 2-step).

        The Rabbit is the poor man's version of the Leverpull.

        If you dad has old bottles in his collection (if he has a collection), then a nice ah-so opener would be a good second gift in addition to whatever other opener you give him. But get a sturdy ah-so; not one with flimsy tines.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Brad Ballinger

          The Ah So is one thing I have yet to master. I want to know the secret to these clever little devices! -mJ

          1. re: njfoodies

            No secret. Gently "rock it" back and forth when insterting the prongs alongside the cork, then twist and pull. There's got to be a video out there somewhere.

            Use only on natural corks.

            1. re: Brad Ballinger

              I think I need to invest in a good Ah So! The ones I have are cheap ones from wineries...I am guess that is the problem as that is the same way I have been trying for years... -mJ

              1. re: njfoodies

                The good ones are all chrome-plated. And they are made in Germany.

                1. re: njfoodies

                  I paid $4.50 for mine.
                  It's plastic and ugly.
                  Works better than a Patek Philippe.

          2. Can we assume that you understand that the Rabbit and Leverpull are different kinds of openers than the 'waiters friend' type whether they're $5 basics or $200 Laguiloes ? The lever action of the Rabbit style is easier to use for most people so, if there's an issue of hand strength with your Dad, that type should work more easily for him.

            For an inexpensive, simple device I'd agree that the any two-step Pulltap Brand waiters friend is best.

            I've had a $100 Leverpull for years...... used it for the first few months and put it away in favor of the two-step. I tried using it in the tasting bar we owned and had so much trouble with the 'worm' (screw part) being hard to get off many types of man-made corks after opening that I stopped using it. It got all corks out well but I didn't have the time to wrestle so many 'corks' off of it.

            I, too, have never been able to master the AhSo. Seemed like too much work to learn how.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Midlife

              you use the AhSo wen your Pull Tap only came back with half the cork!

              I had the same experience as Midlife with Screwpull and Leverpull and the mounted contraptions. Once I put my ego aside, I realized that these were overbuilt monstrosities that just took up way too much space.

              1. re: kaysyrahsyrah

                Talk about taking up space -- the Oster Electric Wine Opener (a gift, folks) takes up massive drawer space but actually works, when you remember to recharge it.

              2. re: Midlife

                Can't speak for the Rabbit, but the Leverpull (AKA Screwpull) has a self-ejecting cork mechanism. Pull the cork, bring the lever back toward its original position until it audibly clicks, pull the lever forward again to eject the cork. I rarely (almost never) have problems with corks resisting this built-in ejector--occasionally a synthetic cork will be very tight, but they twist off the teflon-coated screw manually with a little effort if necessary. To each his own. I regard the Leverpull as a simple rack-and-pinion Occam's Razor of a cork puller and love its precision design and split-second performance.

                My go-to portable corkscrew is the Pulltaps waiter's friend that has also been mentioned. Can be found nearly everywhere for <$10, but also available in higher level gift-quality versions with a little searching. Equal to nearly all challengers at a very affordable price.

                1. re: ecustard

                  I think the 'stuck' synthetic cork' issue with LeverPulls and Houdinis is probably that either the Teflon-coated worm needed to be replaced, OR it may be that the Teflon itself was the problem. In either case, stuck corks was a continuing time waster in a place where we were opening a dozen bottles a day.

              3. Having been a waiter for 5 or 6 years, I've used the simple "waiter's friend" style of opener for nearly three decades. All that changed when I got a Rabbit opener as a gift about three years ago. It's a better opener by far than the single hinge style opener I've always used. Easier to open any bottle & easier to shed the cork (follow ecustard's same instructions for the Leverpull).

                As a waiter, you'd never use one of these things. They're way too bulky to carry around to the tables, & many guests expect a certain level of "basic operator competence" when it comes to waiter functions. Using a "waiter's friend" style of opener fills these size & use requirements. But as a nice gift for someone, the Leverpull & Rabbit openers are much nicer. Pair it with a terra cotta wine cooler!

                6 Replies
                1. re: Eiron

                  I was cleaning up my place and going through some old food magazines and books, and realized why I'd heard of the Rabbit in the first place. Circa early 2000s, there were a couple of reputable sources that had recommended it.

                  Was the Rabbit the first of that type to come out or something? Or, since then, is it the case that better options came on the market?

                  1. re: hobbess

                    If I recall correctly the Leverpull was the first of this type of opener on the market and then Rabbit came out with less expensive 'knock-offs'. Both are very similar in what they look like and how they work. I also think thatmost of the Rabbit/Houdinis are plastic, while the Leverpull is metal. Leverpull, I think is owned by LeCreuset; Rabbit & Houdini are owned by Metrokane. There are now dozens of level-style corskcrews on the market, but these two seem to be the best known.

                    The principle behind both is more similar to the"wing"-type corkscrew than to waiter's friends.

                    1. re: hobbess

                      I don't know about the different product timelines, but W-S lists the Leverpull intro at 1979. Metrokane was formed in 1983.

                      The current W-S Leverpull version (labeled "Trigger") is about 50% larger & twice as expensive ($50 vs $100) over the current Rabbit opener with the same accessories.

                      The Leverpull is made of glass-fiber-filled plastic, which makes it more substantial (heavier, stiffer, durable) than the regular Rabbit's standard plastic construction. Of course, you can also get the polished chrome Rabbit (with the leather case) for the same $100 as the glass-fiber plastic Leverpull. :-)

                      The Leverpull should be easier to operate 'cuz it's bigger; the larger operating lever makes it easier to manipulate. I have no idea what the "trigger" does on the new model. IMO, the polished chrome Rabbit looks the best (from a gift-y standpoint).

                      1. re: Eiron

                        Just to be factual, there are Leverpull models made of nickel and also of zinc alloy. I've had one like this for years:http://www.tenera.ch/screwpull-corksc...

                        The Le Creuset warranty is for 10 years. It's been really easy to use, except on some kinds of synthetic corks that get stuck on the worm and are hard to remove.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          Sorry! I didn't know to search for Leverpull under the Screwpull brand. (It looks as thought the LM-2000 model still uses a plastic body, but I have no issues with the durability of the material.) I did find polished nickel & satin chromed versions of various Screwpull models online at Winestuff.

                          Here's the all-metal polished chrome version of the Rabbit:
                          It also carries a 10 yr warranty.

                          If you're having trouble with syn corks & have had your Leverpull for a while, you might need to replace your corkscrew. My Rabbit has no more trouble with syn corks than with real corks.

                          1. re: Eiron

                            We're on the same page.

                            I've replaced the "worm" (that's what they call the corkscrew thing), but there are still some synthetic cork materials that seem not to want to let go of it.

                            Such is life

                  2. I've never used one, but noticed today that Amazon has the electric Oster on sale for $12.99 with free shipping. Do a search on Oster 4207. I'm not one for gadgets, and guessing this thing doesn't work all that well, but maybe someone else has experience with this thing. To me, it looks a little big and bulky, and I am not one for storing something like this on the counter, but it may appeal to some. -mJ

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: njfoodies

                      Until someone writes back to say this thing is a ringer, I'm sticking with my Pulltap's. Somehow it already reminds me of the Oster Electric Knife...

                      1. re: njfoodies

                        It is big and bulky, but it works (on cork). We use it sporadically, for family get-togethers, so I only charge it up the night before those occasions, IF I remember. Meanwhile it eats up drawer space... but it never fails to amaze and awe with its quick efficiency.
                        ps - in response to njfoodies - don't know why that doesn't show