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Dec 7, 2013 01:37 PM

Best wine bottle opener

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

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    1. re: GH1618

      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

        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

        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

          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

            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: RichardMW

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

                  1. re: GH1618

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

                2. re: GH1618

                  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. 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

                    I use the same one you do. No complaints.

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

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: JBroida

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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: sunshine842

                                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

                                  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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                      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

                                        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.


                            1. 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

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

                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    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

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

                                  2. re: sunshine842


                                    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

                                      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: Chemicalkinetics

                                          But how many bottles will the high heels last?

                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                            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

                                              You're both wrong.

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

                                    2. re: autumm

                                      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

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

                                    3. Hi, terlin:

                                      This style is the best if you have the space/volume, IMO:

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


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kaleokahu

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