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Which corkscrew is the best?

PotatoPuff Aug 20, 2010 10:52 PM

I am working on my wedding registry, and need a corkscrew. I feel guilty registering for a super fancy-schmancy one (i.e. the rabbit), however I struggle alot with opening wine (I'm a certified bartender, but have NO upper body strength). Any recommendations? Is the rabbit worth it?

  1. l
    LaureltQ Feb 12, 2011 06:46 PM

    I registered for a rabbit one and didn't get it. But I really wanted it, and got a Martha Stewart brand one for $37 on sale after the wedding. I LOVE it. And since I don't tend to travel with a corkscrew, it works great for me.

    1. k
      kaleokahu Sep 2, 2010 02:17 PM

      Let me weigh in with another suggestion, which follows from the axiom "The best corkscrew is the one you have available to you." That is, the humble "picnic knife". They come in all sizes, and are cheap enough to outfit your backpack, pocket, picnic basket, beach cabin and Gulfstream V. For the gearheads out there, the ne plus ultra one pictured (poorly) below is 13 inches unfolded. Found at http://www.spitjack.com/page/SJ/PROD/...

      2 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu
        GraydonCarter Sep 2, 2010 05:11 PM


        Oh, you're smarter than the average bear! Now, where's my pic-a-nic basket?

        1. re: GraydonCarter
          kaleokahu Sep 3, 2010 01:15 PM

          Well, if it's just us two, it's this one I think.

      2. GraydonCarter Sep 2, 2010 10:39 AM

        I like the double pronged cork puller - no cork bits.


        6 Replies
        1. re: GraydonCarter
          smkit Sep 2, 2010 11:33 AM

          I used to like these too, but they seem to not work as well with many of the synthetic corks made these days. That is just my experience. But if you have plastic corks, you also don't need to worry about cork bits I guess.

          1. re: smkit
            GraydonCarter Sep 2, 2010 05:06 PM

            I suppose that's true. However, for older wines with a natural cork from the bark of cork oak tree, this style of opener is particularly nice for when the cork seems "glued" to the bottle. If for some reason there is oak sap around the cork, this style can be turned around the entire mouth of the bottle to loosen / cut the cork from the sap around the inside of the bottle.

            1. re: GraydonCarter
              smkit Sep 2, 2010 06:51 PM

              I can see that. I used to have three different pulls that all worked better in different circumstances, and I used to use the pronged one for a lot of tough corks.

              The newest tough corks for me though are some of the synthetic corks after I have put the bottle in the freezer for a quick chill. Sometimes they are so tight already and then the freezer puts a little 'chill glue' on it. Man they can be tough.

          2. re: GraydonCarter
            ZenSojourner Sep 2, 2010 11:41 AM

            I used to like those. But as I've gotten older, I find I no longer have the strength to get the cork out with one of those anymore. I need the leverage a "regular" waiter's style corkscrew gives me.

            1. re: GraydonCarter
              BobB Sep 3, 2010 05:05 AM

              I liked that type for a while too, until the time I inserted the blades, gripped the top of the bottle and twisted to extract the cork - and the top 1/4 inch of the bottle shattered and shards of glass chewed up my palm. No lasting damage other than a minor scar, but I'll never touch one of those again!

              1. re: GraydonCarter
                Bada Bing Sep 3, 2010 05:14 AM

                Those two-prong ones often work pretty well, but I've seen people end up pushing the cork down into the bottle a couple times (old wines with not-so-tight corks).

              2. t
                Td61 Aug 31, 2010 11:40 AM

                Simply the easiest corkscrew evah... http://corkscrew.com/sales_sieger.html

                1 Reply
                1. re: Td61
                  BobB Sep 1, 2010 05:44 AM

                  Except that the blurb says, "Not recommended for synthetic corks." Which constitute a significant and ever-growing proportion of the market.

                2. Antilope Aug 28, 2010 05:18 PM

                  Cook's Illustrated review of Wine Openers
                  Published May 1, 2007. From Cook's Illustrated:

                  Highly Recommended

                  Williams-Sonoma Screwpull Trigger Wine Opener Set, Model Number 36-7078876


                  Wine Enthusiast QuickSilver Deluxe Corkscrew Set, Mfg. Wine Enthusiast, Model Number 418 19 45

                  Recommended with Reservations

                  Wine Enthusiast Lever Style Concorde Corkscrew Set, Mfg. Wine Enthusiast
                  Metrokane Deluxe Rabbit Corkscrew, Mfg. Metrokane
                  Bonjour Chateau Royale Wine Opener, Mfg. Bonjour Chateau Royale

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Antilope
                    PotatoPuff Aug 30, 2010 08:42 AM

                    wow, that is helpful! thanks! do u have a link to the article?

                    1. re: PotatoPuff
                      Antilope Aug 30, 2010 10:33 AM

                      Here's a link, but Cook's Illustrated is a pay site and you have to be an online subscriber to view much of the content:


                    2. re: Antilope
                      hobbess Feb 12, 2011 05:40 PM

                      Cook's Illustrated updated their wine openers' review this month, and of course, got some new results. How else are they going to convince subscribers to keep renewing for the same recipes if they didn't keep changing their recommendations for the same equipment...

                      This time, their previous winner fell out out of their winner's circle because CI argued that these new choices were a lot cheaper more compact. Although, they gave the WS Screwpull Trigger a highly recommended rating last time, their winner, the Oggi Nautilus, this time only got a recommended rating.

                      And, to answer the OP, CI recommended the Metrokane Vertical Rabbit as their second highest pick, with the others following it only getting recommended with reservatons or not recommended rating.

                    3. t
                      taos Aug 28, 2010 04:32 PM

                      Another vote for the waiter style corkscrew. Make sure you get the strongest, best made one you can find. The one I currently have was for sale on the counter at my local wine store. It's marked EPIC PRODUCTS on the side of the cork lifter and on the end of the knife black it says ACUTUS. I think I paid $6 for it. The handle is big enough and ergonomically shaped to provide leverage.

                      It's this one:

                      1. k
                        kaleokahu Aug 24, 2010 02:04 PM

                        I think your starting point ought to be to ask yourself: How many bottles in an evening (or better, morning!) am I planning to open?

                        If the answer is one or two an evening, then the ubiquitous "waiter's corkscrew" (ubiquitous for a reason--it works well) is great. My only cautions are get one with (1) a forged tapered worm; (2) the twist that matches whether you are R or L handed; (3) good leverage; (4) a decent foilcutter blade; (5) a worm whose tip folds flat into the handle (doesn't stick out to snag your pocket or apron; and (6) a crowncap opener designed in. You might check out the Laguiole line for your wedding registry.

                        If you open a lot of bottles or are showy, the table- wall- and tripod-mount corkscrews can be nice. The best ones are one-pull--a continuous pull drives the worm into the cork AND extracts it. A good selection from a good manufacturer is here: http://www.rogarwineopeners.com/all-w... I use a wall-mounted Rogar in my winery, and like its firm operation. One thing to remember about these models is that they can be somewhat unwieldy--you typically have to support the bottle underneath, even though the "jaws" or funnel gizmo may hold the bottle's neck. The pedestal mounts are rarely the exact height to fit your bottle, so you have to hold the bottle in place. Therefore I would choose the wall-mount or clamp-on-counter models.

                        I do not care for the fold-down the-wings style corkscrews, simply because I find them slow and clumsy.

                        Good luck.

                        1. ZenSojourner Aug 22, 2010 03:18 PM

                          I've been trying to resist . . . but I can hold out no longer!

                          The best corkscrew is . . . .

                          Whichever one I can actually find!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ZenSojourner
                            smkit Aug 22, 2010 03:50 PM

                            Or a screw cap...

                            1. re: smkit
                              CrazyOne Aug 24, 2010 10:37 AM

                              That's always my favorite. ;-) If not a screw cap, then the Screwpull type seems to work well. It removes all question as to how well it's going to work, getting it straight or when to start pulling. Not that these are necessarily difficult, just like so many other things, but it removes all question which is saying something. It's more repeatable than any other style that I've seen. The Rabbit is just silly, really, more design than function.

                          2. p
                            PotatoPuff Aug 21, 2010 02:49 PM

                            eek, didn't consider the fact that they need to be available at bed bath and beyond or bloomingdales (where I registered)... they don't seem to have too much variety

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: PotatoPuff
                              srgoodman Aug 22, 2010 01:10 AM

                              I recommend a Pulltap's [sic] two-step "waiter's friend" style corkscrew.. It's $4.99 at Trader Joe's.
                              I rarely see a server or bartender using anything else.
                              The Pulltap's has replaced my pricey Chateau Laguiole as my "goto" corkscrew.

                              Go buy it yourself, and put something more interesting on your registry! ;-)

                            2. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Aug 21, 2010 02:27 PM

                              Don't waste your friends' money on a Rabbit. Rabbit corkscrews are good if you drink wine as a form of showing off. A waiter's friend style corkscrew is better if you actually enjoy drinking wine.

                              The corkscrew that I've come to enjoy the most is the $5 waiter's friend one ("Groggy") from IKEA. I partially make a living as a bartender. Through my years, I've opened a lot of wine; I've used a LOT of different corkscrews, and a properly handled IKEA one gets the job done for me faster and easier than anything else I've used. Put the bottle upright on the counter, cut the foil, bury the worm all the way in the cork, catch the hinged part on the lip of the bottle, then push up on the other end of the corkscrew and the cork pops out like Fred Astaire. As smkit said, you might want to get yourself a double-action one, as they are easier to open; I find that the second hinge just complicates things.

                              1. s
                                smkit Aug 21, 2010 08:28 AM

                                I am a big fan of the waiter's style corkscrew. They are compact, inexpensive, and I like how they have a foil cutter on them whereas a lot of other styles don't have one.

                                I also prefer ones with teflon coated worms and double lever action. I've had a couple single lever actions and they take more force to open, but with that said my favorite corkscrew is a single action Chateau Laguiole. It just feels nice in the hand.

                                If you do get an inexpensive double action screwpull though, the hinge can wear out, so try finding ones with a solid hinge system. Even though I don't own one, I think those locking ones might be more durable.

                                1. f
                                  fourunder Aug 21, 2010 05:38 AM

                                  Try your shoe......


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: fourunder
                                    HillJ Aug 21, 2010 07:28 AM

                                    Hilarious! Great party trick....save the walls!

                                  2. HillJ Aug 21, 2010 05:10 AM

                                    One of the easiest corkscrews to use and it travels well! $20.00.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      CindyJ Aug 24, 2010 07:16 AM

                                      That's my corkscrew of choice, too. My problem with a waiter's style corkscrew is that I too often screw the worm in at an angle and end up breaking the cork, or worse, grinding the glass bottle. The Screwpull is failsafe that way; the worm goes through the middle of the cork every time.

                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                        Bada Bing Aug 24, 2010 07:26 AM

                                        CindyJ's point is good: all of us fans of the waiter's style need to acknowledge that it calls for a bit of skill. There's a learning curve, as I said above, but it's not steep.

                                        Like others, I assume, I've evolved a way to do it right every time--and I could describe it if the OP is interested--but you really do have to initiate the insertion of the screw in the cork just so.

                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                          Davwud Aug 24, 2010 07:51 AM

                                          The one described punches through the bottom of the cork though.

                                          I don't think the waiters style is all that tricky. A bit of aim and you're good to go.


                                          1. re: Davwud
                                            Bada Bing Aug 24, 2010 08:16 AM

                                            It's a bit tricky, is all I'm saying. And it is possible to mis-insert a waiter's-style corkscrew along the side of the cork in such a way that you can tear apart older corks, even if you back it out and reinsert.

                                            But the fact that you can precisely locate the insertion point of the waiter's style is also a great plus. A friend of mine once pulled only the top of an old cork out using wing-style puller, leaving so little remaining cork that pushing down at all on the remaining cork would push it into the wine. Only the waiter's style allowed us to put lateral pressure on the cork at just right point, and we got it out. It's totally my favorite style for ease and versatility.

                                          2. re: CindyJ
                                            HillJ Aug 24, 2010 09:02 AM

                                            I love this corkscrew! Can't count the number of folks that have converted to this and the ideal bottle/cs gift this has made. Fits in a purse, pocket with ease. I've been using the same one for a long time with no issue. Waiter's style is fine but I prefer the one I highlighted above.

                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              CindyJ Aug 24, 2010 03:44 PM

                                              You're right, HillJ - the Screwpull is as small as a waiter's style; all the pieces just fit so nicely together. And it requires such minimal effort; one finger can twist the "thingy" and pull the cork right out.

                                            2. re: CindyJ
                                              JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Aug 24, 2010 12:51 PM

                                              I remember breaking a couple of corks when I first started using waiter-style corkscrews. There's an easy way through the short learning curve: Just enjoy more wine.

                                            3. re: HillJ
                                              BluPlateSpec Aug 26, 2010 07:38 AM

                                              I have that model and the original model and I like the original best. It's now called:
                                              Screwpull by Le Creuset Table Model Corkscrew
                                              This was the model that made Screwpull famous. The fixed two finger handle on the top is easier using than the removable one finger one. The screw is coated with teflon which makes going into and out of the cork very easy and clean. I have a kitchen draw with most of the other ones mentioned here and they never get used anymore. I did once have one that worked by injecting air to push the cork out. You would stick what looked like a giant hypodermic needle through the cork and then begin pumping the handle to build pressure inside the bottle. It was amusing until I tried it on a bottle of sangria which exploded. Definitely don't get that one.

                                              1. re: BluPlateSpec
                                                vstock Aug 29, 2010 05:49 AM

                                                I have this exact corkscrew, and the drawer of ALL of the others, and this is the one that gets used and used and used. Through wedding and wine clubs, I have received all of the others and while I can use a waiters corkscrew without much angst, this one requires to effort at all. Put piece one over the bottle of wine, insert piece two, turn to the right until the cork comes out. Hold the cork and turn to the left to remove the cork. Repeat on your 2nd bottle of wine!

                                            4. Tripeler Aug 21, 2010 05:03 AM

                                              I am very happy with the Campagnolo corkscrew that I bought in Italy. The screw is planed so that the surfaces that pull the cork are flat. I never have any trouble getting a cork out, and the corks never break apart, no matter how bad their condition. It doesn't need to be a Campagnolo corkscrew, but the screw should be planed in a similar manner.


                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: Tripeler
                                                flourgirl Aug 29, 2010 08:06 AM

                                                This is the exact same one my dad always used. He loved it and I remember that it worked really well - for him.. For me, though, I love my plain and simple cork screw with a wood handle. I've had it for years and never have a problem getting a cork out. I have trouble with almost any other kind.

                                                1. re: Tripeler
                                                  BobB Aug 30, 2010 11:16 AM

                                                  Interesting - when I was first learning about wine and corkscrews (this would be well back in the previous century), one of the first things I remember being taught was, "always make sure the screw part has a hollow core" - that if you couldn't insert a nail up the center of the screw you risked grinding up the cork instead of extracting it. Yet the one you picture has a solid core. Was I being lied to lo those many years ago?

                                                  1. re: BobB
                                                    ZenSojourner Aug 30, 2010 08:41 PM

                                                    I can't answer that, except to say I've never seen a corkscrew with a hollow core. I've only rarely ever crumbled a cork though, like maybe a couple of times in 30 years.

                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner
                                                      BobB Sep 1, 2010 05:48 AM

                                                      You've probably seen them but not noticed the difference. They're the kind where the screw looks like a piece of heavy wire was wrapped around thin dowel, then sharpened at the end, as opposed to the type Tripeler links to that's like a large version of a wood screw. The vast majority of corkscrews out there, from those on Swiss Army knives to Rabbits, are hollow core.

                                                      1. re: BobB
                                                        BobB Sep 1, 2010 05:50 AM

                                                        Or more generically...

                                                        1. re: BobB
                                                          BobB Sep 1, 2010 05:58 AM

                                                          Versus this...

                                                        2. re: BobB
                                                          ZenSojourner Sep 1, 2010 06:21 AM

                                                          OMG! When they said "hollow core" I thought the meant that the corkscrew itself was hollow, like it would be made of a piece of tubing twisted into that hollow shape.

                                                          LOL! What you're showing me above is actually the only type I've seen.

                                                          1. re: BobB
                                                            flourgirl Sep 1, 2010 08:03 AM

                                                            This is exactly what mine looks like except it has a wood handle. I have no idea where it came from, except that it's stamped "italy" on the metal shaft. I love this thing, i've had it forever and it never fails me. It disappeared once for a few weeks & i was SERIOUSLY bumming.

                                                        3. re: BobB
                                                          dscheidt Sep 1, 2010 07:26 AM

                                                          Not exactly. Most screw type corkscrews are crap. It requires extra, fairly expensive machining to make them work properly. A helix shaped screw only requires a pointed end, and so even cheaply made ones can work just fine.

                                                          1. re: dscheidt
                                                            BobB Sep 1, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                            Which brings up the question - if even cheap helical ones work fine, why bother spending all that money to machine the other kind?

                                                      2. Bada Bing Aug 21, 2010 04:58 AM

                                                        Perhaps you should consider a Screwpull style like this:


                                                        Personally, I like one of the simplest and most compact cork pullers, the "waiter's friend" style, like this:


                                                        While there is some learning curve to the second type, because it is up to you to place the corkscrew correctly into the cork, I have got used to that and I am pretty sure that nothing is faster and easier. Plus, the ability to modify and adjust how the screw enters the cork is helpful on occasions when you're opening very old wines with weakened cork. You do need to use some muscle to pull the cork with leverage, but I prefer using leverage to the discomfort of turning a knob into the cork as with many other types.

                                                        Also, there are cheaper and workable versions of the rabbit design. Chinese knock-offs, no doubt.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Bada Bing
                                                          Davwud Aug 21, 2010 01:01 PM

                                                          The waiter style cork screw is the best. It's simple and easy to use. It's also fast. If it wasn't waiters wouldn't use it.

                                                          One of my tricks when it comes to outfitting my kitchen, watch what the pros use.


                                                          1. re: Davwud
                                                            lulou23 Aug 21, 2010 04:01 PM

                                                            Ditto. I am a very tiny women and can pop open a bottle in no time with a waiters corkscrew.

                                                            1. re: Davwud
                                                              BiscuitBoy Aug 23, 2010 06:30 AM

                                                              YES! The rest of that rabbit, screwpull junk is nonsense. A waiter's style cork screw will even fit in your pocket. Look for a laguiole if your taste requires "pimped" items

                                                          2. l
                                                            LGregory Aug 21, 2010 04:36 AM

                                                            My wife will only use the Screwpull Classic Table Model which requires little to no upper body strength and retails for under $30.00.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: LGregory
                                                              lynnlato Sep 2, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                              +1 for the Screwpull - bought mine 15 yrs ago on my honeymoon in Napa. I've pulled a lot of corks with it, and it's still pulling fine. ;-)

                                                              I also love just a traditional waiter's tool too. I was a server for many, many years and I always carried one in my purse until after 9/11 and my favorite one was confiscated by airport security. :-(

                                                              1. re: lynnlato
                                                                CindyJ Sep 3, 2010 06:02 AM

                                                                I've lost count of the number of corkscrews I've lost at security gates. You'd think that by now I'd learn. Well, what I HAVE learned is that if I'm going to travel with a corkscrew, it's best if it's a cheap one.

                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                  BobB Sep 3, 2010 06:54 AM

                                                                  I actually have a plastic one that lives in my carry-on - it was a promotional giveaway at some trade show I attended years ago. It's pretty crappy (it's a screw-type, not helical - see discussion below) but has worked OK the few times I've used it.

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