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Best wine bottle opener

terlin Dec 7, 2013 01:37 PM

Looking for a well-made corker that isn't cheap plastic

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  1. g
    GH1618 RE: terlin Dec 7, 2013 02:11 PM

    This is the one I use and prefer to all others I have used:


    10 Replies
    1. re: GH1618
      paulj RE: GH1618 Dec 7, 2013 02:43 PM

      Looks very much like the $2 one that Trader Joes sells. The only obvious difference is a slightly different shape to the foil cutter.

      1. re: paulj
        Will Owen RE: paulj Dec 20, 2013 05:11 PM

        Of all I've tried, including a few very fancy variations on the same French Waiter theme, I've not found a better one than the $2 TJ's. Perfect shape, weight, proportions. The handle could be a smidge longer for better leverage with reluctant or very narrow corks, but I keep a bunch of these to give away to friends who have lousy ones. Or in case I lose one on a campout.

      2. re: GH1618
        CindyJ RE: GH1618 Dec 7, 2013 02:49 PM

        I've got that exact one, and like it a lot, but the one I use most often because it's foolproof is this one:

        1. re: GH1618
          sunshine842 RE: GH1618 Dec 7, 2013 06:23 PM

          this one -- we were having dinner with friends, and she handed me their Pulltap when she asked me to open the wine.

          Went out and bought the first one I found, and LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

          Guess which corkscrew the association of Vignerons Independents (independent winemakers) in France uses and sells with their logo printed on it? You betcha -- a Pulltap.

          We don't even use our Rabbit any more.

          1. re: GH1618
            Cynic2701 RE: GH1618 Dec 7, 2013 08:16 PM

            Yes, Pulltaps is the best and easiest to use. I used to work at a restaurant known for their wine, and had to open up dozens of bottles a week. I can open a bottle of wine in under 30 seconds with one of these.

            With my first one - which I sadly lost - I've probably opened two or three thousand bottles of wine, and the corkscrew turned silver as the black coating wore away. I'm convinced that one of the servers walked off with it....

            The double hinge really is key.

            1. re: GH1618
              RichardMW RE: GH1618 Dec 7, 2013 08:24 PM

              The pulltap is $20 at wineenthusiast and $10 at amazon.

              1. re: RichardMW
                paulj RE: RichardMW Dec 7, 2013 08:45 PM

                and less at TJ

                1. re: RichardMW
                  GH1618 RE: RichardMW Dec 8, 2013 09:54 AM

                  Some wine reps hand them out to bartenders and a bartender gave one to me. Can't beat that price.

                  1. re: GH1618
                    Cynic2701 RE: GH1618 Dec 8, 2013 10:06 AM

                    Yup! Got a couple for free, though branded with different wineries.

                2. re: GH1618
                  Bada Bing RE: GH1618 Dec 9, 2013 01:56 PM

                  That's the style I prefer, as well, although take note that the cheaply made versions are a pain--the handle and metals are thin and gouge into your hand. I also think it helps the puller deal with the cork and pressures if the puller has some heft and isn't flimsy.

                  Get a solid, beefy one that feels good in the hand.

                3. Chemicalkinetics RE: terlin Dec 7, 2013 03:25 PM

                  I have this one, True Fabrications Wood Professional Corkscrew, and I like it:


                  I cannot say it is THE BEST since it really depends on what you want. I like it because it is small, attractive, and it works.

                  However, you may want something like this, the Metrokane Rabbit corkscrew. It is very easy to use and use very little power. It is not very portable, and it is more expensive....etc.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    cowboyardee RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 8, 2013 10:16 AM

                    I use the same one you do. No complaints.

                  2. JBroida RE: terlin Dec 7, 2013 09:01 PM

                    i just read about this in the LA times today... it seems ridiculously cool

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: JBroida
                      seattle_lee RE: JBroida Dec 14, 2013 10:41 AM

                      I have one of them. I find that I don't use it all that often, but that's mostly a matter of adjusting my headspace, but it works perfectly. Well, not completely perfectly, but well enough to preserve an aged wine for a few days, which is all I ask of it. It *does* require a solid, intact cork to function well, so you need to inspect the cork before using the coravin. Squishy corks or corks that have already leaked around the edges are signs that you shouldn't use the coravin.

                      It can also stir up sediment. There's supposed to be a technique to avoid this, but I haven't tried it myself yet.

                      1. re: JBroida
                        seattle_lee RE: JBroida Dec 14, 2013 10:45 AM

                        The 'best' opener, of course, depends on your requirements. I am very partial to the screwpull, but it's less effective on synthetic corks. The Pulltap is indeed a great waiter style corkscrew. If you are opening older wines that may have iffy corks, The Durand is the clear winner (and at $125, it better be).

                        1. re: seattle_lee
                          sunshine842 RE: seattle_lee Dec 14, 2013 01:20 PM

                          at $125, it should pour the wine into a glass that it's blown itself, hand it to you on bended knee, and gently mop your lips with a hand-loomed napkin woven of heirloom, small-farm flax.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            seattle_lee RE: sunshine842 Dec 15, 2013 09:30 AM

                            Think what you want, but I'm strongly considering purchasing one. I regularly open wines that are 20+ years of age. I have issues with corks disintegrating into the wine often enough that this would be decidedly worthwhile and probably would actually pay for itself if you count the number of times I've poured 1-2oz off the top of the bottle, to rid of the teeny little pieces of cork that are floating in it.

                            And I'm pretty much their target market. You obviously aren't. Which is fine with them (and with me).

                            1. re: seattle_lee
                              sunshine842 RE: seattle_lee Dec 15, 2013 09:44 AM

                              I have a small strainer....

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                seattle_lee RE: sunshine842 Dec 15, 2013 11:49 PM

                                There are often bits of cork dust that will pass thru a small strainer. Coffee filters are the canonical solution, but that involves aerating the wine very significantly (as would a small strainer), and that's something that you often wish to avoid with older wines.

                                1. re: seattle_lee
                                  sunshine842 RE: seattle_lee Dec 16, 2013 03:50 AM

                                  I realize that this is probably heresy in some circles, but if it's fine enough to pass through the very fine strainer, it's too small to see, thus too small for me to bother with.

                              2. re: seattle_lee
                                kaleokahu RE: seattle_lee Dec 16, 2013 08:17 PM

                                Hi, Lee:

                                The combo Ah-So and worm is a good idea for fragile corks.

                                FYI, Seattle Cutlery in the the Market carries a 'screw that depth-adjusts in preset increments, the idea being that you don't poke the worm all the way through (and thereby crumble) the cork. It might be worth a look.


                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  Will Owen RE: kaleokahu Dec 20, 2013 05:21 PM

                                  Kaleo, the last Scholarly Treatise I read on the subject insists that in the event of a fragile cork, you WANT the screw to pass clear through, so that there's a full coil to support the bottom of the cork. If you don't have that the cork just pulls apart. Having gone carefully through the horrid ruins of my late FIL's "wine cellar" – an uninsulated, uncooled closet off the dining room, with bottles of what had been great stuff from the 1960s and '70s – I have lengthy and sad experience with rotten corks, not to mention the stench of oxidized Romanée-Conti. The $2 TJ's puller worked sometimes, the Ah-So never did.

                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                    kaleokahu RE: Will Owen Dec 21, 2013 09:49 AM

                                    Hi, WO: "[I]n the event of a fragile cork, you WANT the screw to pass clear through."

                                    I suppose that depends on *how* fragile, and what your tolerance is for *any* cork bits in the wine. The model I referenced above has the advantage of precisely setting the depth to which the worm sinks (to the millimeter), so the tip of the worm can be dependably sunk just above the bottom of the cork.

                                    Theoretically, sinking it another millimeter (i.e., through the cork) *would* give you a little more purchase on the crumbly cork, but how much? I think other measures, e.g., a *grooved, fully-tapered* worm would work a bigger difference in successful extraction than that incremental extra 1mm.

                                    Got a cite to the article? I'd be interested in reading it.


                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      GH1618 RE: Will Owen Dec 21, 2013 02:32 PM

                                      I'm with you on this. When someone has difficulty with a cork, it's usually because he didn't put the screw all the way down.

                                    2. re: kaleokahu
                                      Midlife RE: kaleokahu Dec 21, 2013 11:45 AM

                                      K, I was interested enough in what you described to do some Googling and came up with this:

                                      It doesn't seem to be adjustable, except possibly by eye, so I thought I'd ask if you had more specific info. Actually, though, the detail on the site says that it is not really good for newer corks. Not sure I get why.

                                      1. re: Midlife
                                        kaleokahu RE: Midlife Dec 21, 2013 05:02 PM

                                        Hi, Midlife:

                                        The screw I was referring to is not the Durand combo worm/ah-so. I cannot even recall the brand. But I remember fooling with it at Seattle Cutlery. I was interested because I was ordering 44mm cork for my winery.

                                        As for why the Durand might not be the best choice for newer corks, I'm not sure, but having made a lot of wine, I can guess: (a) corks usually have some light lubrication at the time of bottling; (b) they're compressed when inserted, and so take time expand to fully seal; and (c) it takes a relatively long time for a cork to hydrate and swell to even 1/4 of its length. All three contribute to ah-sos tending to push the cork IN.


                            2. a
                              autumm RE: terlin Dec 7, 2013 09:25 PM

                              Thanks for posting this. I've broken too many cheepo corkers to count. Waiting for the current one to give up, then something new.

                              The worst was when my 2 euro one broke with the screw still in the cork, which was firmly in the bottle, at an off the beaten path hotel in Italy. And my Italian is limited to vino blanco. . .

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: autumm
                                sunshine842 RE: autumm Dec 8, 2013 07:15 AM

                                that sounds like an opportunity to use the shoe-against-the-wall trick.

                                1. re: sunshine842
                                  CindyJ RE: sunshine842 Dec 8, 2013 07:40 AM

                                  Have you ever actually done it?

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    sunshine842 RE: CindyJ Dec 8, 2013 07:43 AM

                                    no - I was referring to the video of some French guys (who don't appear to actually *need* any more wine...) who put the bottle into a shoe (standing up) and then bashing the bottle (protected by the shoe) against a wall until the air pressure inside the bottle pushes the cork out of the neck.

                                    I think Mythbusters confirmed that it works.

                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                      CindyJ RE: sunshine842 Dec 8, 2013 07:46 AM

                                      I've seen the video -- that's why I asked. :-)

                                  2. re: sunshine842
                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: sunshine842 Dec 8, 2013 07:53 AM


                                    I must ask the obvious question. What brand of shoes would you recommend for opening the wine? (No, all shoes are not the same)

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      sunshine842 RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 8, 2013 01:24 PM

                                      actually, I think you'd want more of a dress shoe -- a sneaker would absorb too much shock.

                                      (sad that I'm answering this half-seriously....)

                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: sunshine842 Dec 8, 2013 01:32 PM


                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          INDIANRIVERFL RE: Chemicalkinetics Dec 8, 2013 07:05 PM

                                          But how many bottles will the high heels last?

                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: INDIANRIVERFL Dec 8, 2013 07:07 PM

                                            That is a good question. :)

                                            I would think at least about 500 bottles -- considered shoes are designed to be walked around all day long for years.

                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                              sunshine842 RE: INDIANRIVERFL Dec 8, 2013 07:27 PM

                                              You're both wrong.

                                              The high heels are for making sure someone *else* opens the wine.

                                    2. re: autumm
                                      Big Eater RE: autumm Dec 16, 2013 09:08 AM

                                      A tree works better; it takes quite a bit of force to actually dislodge the cork and you don't want to be cracking the delicate plaster in a 1,000 year old villa.

                                      1. re: Big Eater
                                        sunshine842 RE: Big Eater Dec 16, 2013 05:37 PM

                                        the video in question uses a stone building -- it's in the city, with nary tree to be seen.

                                    3. kaleokahu RE: terlin Dec 8, 2013 08:34 AM

                                      Hi, terlin:

                                      This style is the best if you have the space/volume, IMO: http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant....

                                      However, any good waiter's-style opener is quick & easy.


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kaleokahu
                                        INDIANRIVERFL RE: kaleokahu Dec 8, 2013 10:19 AM

                                        My ex got ours. And at that price, I have never gotten around to replace it.

                                      2. John E. RE: terlin Dec 8, 2013 08:02 PM

                                        I started to read this thread, then I decided to just point out the most simple, idiot free corkscrew is the waiter's corkscrew. Somebody gave my dad a rabbit ear corkscrew that broke. Somebody else gave him an electric corkscrew he forgets to keep charged. The waiter's corkscrew is simple and easy to use and it does not cost much.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: John E.
                                          sunshine842 RE: John E. Dec 9, 2013 03:55 AM

                                          and the Pulltap is the next step up from a waiter's corkscrew.

                                        2. w
                                          wakondatch RE: terlin Dec 9, 2013 11:43 AM

                                          Barbantia Wine Opener (available on Amazon for $15)

                                          I have used many over the years and this is the best so far. My wife also finds it the easiest to use. Good price. Caveat: Foil cutter on top doesn't work very well, but getting cork out is a breeze.

                                          1. Master RE: terlin Dec 9, 2013 01:10 PM


                                            1. m
                                              mikie RE: terlin Dec 13, 2013 12:19 PM

                                              Pulltex made in Spain. Inexpensive and very effective. The key in my opinion is the double lever positioning. I've got a bunch of other junk that I no longer use.

                                              1. j
                                                jljohn RE: terlin Dec 13, 2013 02:31 PM

                                                A saber, of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabrage


                                                Seriously, after cycling though a number of others, I settled on the Pulltap's as well. Relatively inexpensive and simple.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jljohn
                                                  kaleokahu RE: jljohn Dec 13, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                  Hi, Jeremy:

                                                  You obviously don't drink enough wine.

                                                  http://www.rogar.com/rogarprofessionb... Since 1897.


                                                  1. re: jljohn
                                                    JayL RE: jljohn Dec 14, 2013 06:31 PM

                                                    I actually sabre champagne bottles fairly often. Most people in my circles have never seen it, and it's an easy way to impress.

                                                    Just be sure you don't do it to regular wine...

                                                  2. tim irvine RE: terlin Dec 14, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                    Not always the easiest or neatest but always sufficient and always makes me feel good, the $12 Laguiole style I snagged at the Eyrie in McMinnville.

                                                    1. pdxgastro RE: terlin Dec 15, 2013 04:38 PM

                                                      A neighbor owned the best wine bottle opener I've ever seen. It was like a bike pump. It had a needle you push THROUGH the cork into the air pocket. Then you pump. The pumped air popped out the cork cleanly and in one piece. It was AMAZING! I have never seen it again.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: pdxgastro
                                                        sunshine842 RE: pdxgastro Dec 15, 2013 04:59 PM


                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                          mikie RE: sunshine842 Dec 16, 2013 08:56 AM

                                                          I have something similar, but these do not work on artificial corks. Too much friction between the cork and the bottle.

                                                      2. b
                                                        beevod RE: terlin Dec 16, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                        The waiter's corkscrew....most efficient and does the job.

                                                        1. b
                                                          Big Eater RE: terlin Dec 16, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                          When opening lots of bottles at once, there's just no substitute for the metal version of the Screwpull. The various imitations are not the same. Ah-So works pretty well too, but I think it works better for people living on the west coast. It doesn't seem to be as popular elsewhere.

                                                          1. Midlife RE: terlin Dec 19, 2013 12:42 PM

                                                            A sturdy, two-step waiter's friend is really all you need unless you have arthritis problems or other issues. I've used all kinds, up to $100 Leverpulls, and this $8 model works just fine.

                                                            1. c
                                                              CathyWburger RE: terlin Dec 20, 2013 11:57 AM

                                                              Although it *is* plastic I think The Screwpull is a very good corkscrew. I don't drink much wine and so have a problem with more traditional corkscrews. This one is very easy to use. I was going to try to link to a picture, but I'm not sure how. It has a "pocket" variety also.

                                                              1. mhilliker1 RE: terlin Dec 20, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                                I prefer a rabbit. we broke 2 cheap rabbits until we spent the extra money and got a very good one (+$100). Have not had any problems since. I can open a bottle in ~2 seconds.

                                                                1. h
                                                                  helou RE: terlin Dec 21, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                  OK, people, look no further. This is it.

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