If you’re a wine fanatic but don’t have the right wine opener, you’re missing out. The correct wine opener can make the world of difference to not only the taste of your wine but the experience you have drinking it.
While it’s easy to assume you can just go to the shop and buy a wine opener, there are various ‘designed for specific purpose’ options so being informed makes for a better buy.
You know the importance of having the right wine opener in your home if, like me, you’re partial to enjoying a nice wine at the end of the day or with your meals. The wrong wine opener can easily lead to cork residue left in your bottle, or worse, an unopened bottle of wine. And if you’re a keen collector, the right corkscrew is a must.
But it’s not just about choosing between a rabbit wine bottle opener or a waiter’s corkscrew. Some of us are more senior and have particular problems with hand strength or arthritis and so an electric wine bottle opener that works at the push of a button is a gift on many levels.
By the way, any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase (at no extra cost to you). Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it.
In this guide we cover different types of wine openers, how they work,and answers to FAQs.
Essential Wine Accessories
If you’re a fellow wine lover then you may already know that there are certain accessories that are a must have in your home to get your wine hobby started.
Consider getting a wine gift set for that ‘hard to buy for’ friend. You’ll be guaranteed to hit a winner.
Wine left open and exposed to oxygen for too long (eg overnight) will oxidize and be ruined. The taste is unpleasant and flat.
It’s difficult to put the original cork back into the bottle to keep wine tasting fresh so if you’re wanting to buy a practical stopper, look for one that vacuum seals via a hand pump to remove oxygen from the bottle. This action extends the wine’s life and, in case you’re wondering, they are very easy to use.
Simply insert the stopper into the bottle neck and pump. A ‘click’ noise indicates the bottle is sealed tight. Perfect for either red wine or whites and an important accessory.
Stoppers vary in shapes, sizes, and materials but are most commonly either cork, rubber, silicone or plastic. Sometimes silver or stainless steel, and may be decorated with crystals or precious gems. You’ll probably find that the top of the stopper is more of an aesthetic statement. Apart from being an essential, they make a very attractive addition to your bar.
Avoid nasty stains on your tablecloth or countertops by using a a wine collar. Fitting around the neck of the wine bottle it absorbs any drops that run down the bottle after serving.
Wine collars are also known as drip collars and come in all shapes and sizes.
Wine collars are normally plastic or come in the form of a silver ring with a red or black felt lining.
Foil Cutter or Cap
You might have a foil cutter or a foil cap that can be used instead of a knife. Always remove the foil before using your corkscrew to remove the cork.
Drilling through the foil will damage the coating on the spiral (or worm) and hinder its operation. If you damage the worm, replacements are readily available.
To use a foil cap, place on top of the wine bottle like a bottle cap. Press two sides of the foil cutter firmly against the foil cap while turning the bottle.
Note: Always remove a wax seal first, then the foil.
What does ‘decanting wine’ mean?
This is the process where wine is exposed to oxygen by pouring the wine into a decanter (or carafe or jug). It’s also known as an aerator.
Just as ‘swirling the wine’ exposes liquid to air encouraging the wine to open up and release flavor; the reason for pouring wine into a decanter is also to improve flavor and scent of the wine.
This action helps take away the harshness sometimes found in wine.
Decanters are most commonly used with red wines, but some stronger flavored rose and white wines can also benefit from being poured into a decanter.
Types of Wine Openers
What is a wine opener?
A device typically used for opening bottles that are sealed closed with a cork. Breaking into a bottle of wine without a wine opener or corkscrew is near impossible.
While you may have switched to screw-top bottles that are available in supermarkets, traditional wines still have corks.
Wine openers do come in all shapes and sizes. From simple corkscrews to carbon dioxide-driven openers and lever-driven mechanisms. Design tech offers a wide variety to choose from, each with particular benefits.
Below is a list of the most popular wine openers and applications that suit each style of opener.
Traditional corkscrews look very basic. They come with a handle attached to a steel screw, also known as the worm or spiral.
The handle is usually made of metal or wood and is used to screw the worm into the cork. Once the worm is screwed in, you can use it as a lever to pull out the cork from the bottle.
What is a Waiter’s Corkscrew?
This looks like a corkscrew although the waiter’s corkscrew also has a pocket knife combined. The tool has a main body, a metal screw, a knife, and an arm which extends and braces against the bottle in order to give the user leverage when removing the cork from the bottle.
As the name suggests, the waiter’s wine opener is the most commonly used wine opener by waiters in restaurants.
They’re the standard tool of choice in many households across the world and work in a similar way to a traditional corkscrew.
What is a Winged Corkscrew?
This is among the easiest to use corkscrews as it lets you remove the cork in one swift movement.
It is more modern than its counterparts. Also known as a butterfly or angel corkscrew, this tool has two wings which elevate as the metal screw goes deeper into the cork. These are used as levers to draw the cork out of the bottle.
The top of the corkscrew serves the dual purpose of also being a bottle opener.
Rabbit Wine Opener
How does a Rabbit Wine opener work?
Use the two handles to grip the top of the wine bottle. A lever pushes the screw into the cork. This lever is then lifted, pulling out the cork with minimum effort.
What are other names for the Rabbit wine opener?
Also known as Lever wine bottle opener or bunny ears.
Electric Wine Opener
Not only a stylish bar accessory, but, practically speaking electric wine openers are very handy if you don’t have the strength in your hands to open your wine bottles. With the press of a button the cork is removed, wine bottle opened and ready to enjoy.
How does an electric wine opener work?
Sit the opener on top of your bottle. Press the button. ‘Down’ to enter and remove the cork; ‘up’ to release the cork. It really is that easy.
The opener is charged by sitting on a charging base 100-240v which is compatible with most countries. (note: check voltage compatibility with your country).
Air Pressure Wine Bottle Opener
Air pressure wine openers come with a needle which pierces the cork.
How does an Air Pressure opener work?
A simple push, pump and pop operation. Push the needle into the cork then apply a pumping action. Pressure is produced by pushing air into the bottle and after a few pumps, the cork will ‘pop’.
Add on the bottle top aerator to the wine bottle.
When should I use an Air Pressure bottle opener?
Typically you can push out 80 to 100 corks in a matter of minutes so it’s the perfect choice for large parties of people. If you’re doing wine tastings, or even own your own restaurant consider an Air pressure bottle opener set.
Ah-So Wine Opener
When is it important to use an Ah So Wine opener?
If you are a wine collector or have old bottles of wine.
The purpose of this bottle opener is to open a bottle of wine without damaging the cork. The cork can then be added to a collection.
Best use is bottles of wine where the corks are poor quality or old bottles of wine.
What are other names for the Ah So?
This style of opener is also known as Butler’s Thief, and Two Prong Wine Opener.
How do I use the Ah So cork puller?
Two prongs slide between the bottle and the cork. Once the opener is inserted as deeply as possible into the bottle, twist until cork pops and carefully pull out, keeping the cork undamaged.
How Do Wine Openers Work?
Different types of wine openers work in different ways.
Traditional corkscrews and waiter’s corkscrews are essentially the same with a different visual appeal. For both you need to manually screw the worm into the bottle. Both require a level of strength and skill to pull the cork out of the bottle.
Winged and lever corkscrews are slightly different. While they both also have worms which are pushed into the bottle, they do not require as much strength. Thanks to their lever mechanisms the screw is pushed into the bottle with minimum effort and is simply lifted out of the bottle.
Electric and air pressure wine openers barely require any effort at all. By using one of these you can get the cork out of the bottle with the press of a button. The only difference is that one uses CO2 to function.
The Ah-So wine opener is among the most unconventional. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t damage the cork whatsoever, it’s also among the most portable and cheapest models out there.
This is one of the only bottle openers that you will be able to take with you anywhere you go, even in your carry on luggage on your next flight.
Wine Opener FAQ’s
Should the needle pierce through the entire cork?
The quick answer is no. You should only go about two thirds to three-quarters of the way through the cork with any given wine opener. This is because if you go all the way through, you may puncture the “wine-side” of the cork which leads to cork getting inside the wine itself.
TIP: The best way to control how far you go is to always have at least one turn left on your corkscrew. If you do puncture the cork and get it in the wine, it won’t necessarily render your bottle useless. You’ll just find the texture of the wine less enjoyable.
Which type of wine opener is best for an old wine collection?
If your collection is old, try an Ah-So wine opener or a waiter’s corkscrew. You have to be careful that the cork does not completely crumble into your bottle. Other types don’t offer the same control to remove a cork gently.
How much does the average wine opener cost?
The price you pay for a wine opener completely depends on the type you choose and the model.
Ah-So wine openers can be extremely cheap. In fact, when it comes to an Ah-So wine opener, there is really no point in spending a fortune as most models offer the same results, regardless of their price.
On the other hand, electric, air pressure, and bunny ears can be more expensive. These do vary in price, but higher end, more reliable models are more expensive… but I add, worth the investment.
Waiter, winged, and even traditional corkscrews can be very inexpensive.
Which wine opener should I choose if I have a lot of bottles to open?
An air pressure, electric or lever corkscrew. If you’re planning on hosting a big party or want a new wine opener for your restaurant these are effortless tools that can open dozens of bottles of wine in a matter of minutes.
Which wine opener is best if I don’t have much strength?
The easiest wine openers you could use are either electric or air pressure models. With one of these you’ll be able to open your bottles of wine with a touch of a button.
If you don’t have much arm strength and are hosting a dinner party or wine tasting, you don’t want to have to spend your energy twisting and pulling out corks.
Which wine opener is best if I travel a lot?
If you travel light consider an Ah-So wine opener.
Traditional or waiter’s corkscrews are perfect if you travel a lot and like to have a trusty wine opener to hand. That said, if you only have carry hand luggage, it may be taken away at customs.
Why does the Rabbit corkscrew go in and out of the cork and not pull it out?
The grip handles are not being held firmly enough around the neck of the bottle. Secure and maintain your grip while using the corkscrew.
Why is the Lever corkscrew becoming difficult to use?
The non-stick coating on the worm has worn thin. Try replacing the spiral.
Why has the Lever corkscrew pushed the cork into the bottle?
Re-read the instructions to make sure you have followed these correctly. Using the corkscrew on it’s own, (without a bottle), swing the top handle of the corkscrew fully back and forward to re-set the corkscrew
How do I look after my Wine Opener?
While maintenance of a wine opener is not nearly as complex or as time-consuming as other kitchen tools, there are some basic tips to ensure it stays in good working order.
Wine Opener Maintenance
- Never leave your wine opener or corkscrew soaking in water. This will damage the materials it is made of, especially if it’s aluminum or a model with a wooden handle
- Don’t submerge a Rabbit or Lever opener in water as it may damage the mechanism.
- It’s important to wipe the wine opener regularly with a damp clothe or sponge to avoid a build up of wine sediment or cork on the spiral.
- Dry your opener straight away and never put it in the dishwasher
- Never use a wine opener before taking off the foil cap or wax that is on the bottle.
- Keep the wine opener out of the reach of small children and pets.
- Don’t use it to attempt to recork a bottle.
- Never oil or grease a wine opener.
- Replace the worm on your Lever or Rabbit corkscrew as needed. (check manufacturer recommendations)
The only way you can keep a wine opener for years, no matter what the type or model, is to look after it correctly.
How do I know when to replace my wine opener?
As with any kitchen tool, wine openers can break. They can become so old and worn that they don’t remove the cork as well as they once used to. This is especially true of electric models. You’ll be able to tell straight away as it won’t work efficiently as when new.
Sometimes the worm can be replaced. With more complex models, like lever, air pressure, electric, and Ah-So models it may be a completely different piece that is malfunctioning. You can take it to your local wine shop for expert advice.
Reputable wine opener manufacturers
We’re going to highlight some of the most reputable manufacturers in the industry from which to choose.
Based in North America, Secura has been a leading manufacturer of small home and kitchen appliances for years. The company prides itself in providing consumers with high-quality products for the kitchen, health & beauty, and fitness industries.
Secura has sold over 8 million products in the U.S. alone and continues to provide its customers with environmentally friendly, ergonomically designed, and affordable products that come with excellent company warranties.
Priding itself on providing wine enthusiasts with quality wine openers and accessories with style that matches their function.
The company stocks products from a variety of high-end manufacturers, some of which include Vinotemp, Element by Vinotemp, and Apex. These products are all designed with quality in mind, allowing consumers to make a one-time investment for a product designed to last a lifetime.
If you’re inviting friends over for a meal or wine tasting in your home, make sure you have a nice wine opener to accompany the experience; and make opening those bottles easier.