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 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 joy on many levels.
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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.)
While it’s easy to assume you can just go to the shop and buy a wine opener, these now come in all shapes and sizes so that making a decision can be harder than you expect.
To help you on your way to finding the right wine opener, we’ve created this guide. In it, we’ve shared some wine culture, tell you about some wine accessories, and highlight what a wine opener really is.
We’ve discussed some of the different types of wine openers available, how they work, as well as share some names of reputable manufacturers and of course some maintenance tips to follow to keep your wine opener in good working order.
The Culture Of Wine And Where It Comes From
Wine has undertaken a transition from what was an important source of nutrition to an alcoholic beverage that complements the taste of certain foods. In some countries wine is still considered a food rather than a beverage. Here is some information on the culture and history of wine.
Gastronomy is the relationship between culture and food. There are many gastronomes that dedicate their entire lives to not only understanding the process through which the wine is created but also the relationship between different wines and their associated dishes.
Because not even the experts can know for sure which wines go with which dishes, it’s important to always start your wine journey with what you enjoy.
Wine should be seen as part of a meal, an added spice if you will that complements the entirety of the dish you are eating it with.
That said, you should know that delicate white wine is not known for complementing hearty red meat and powerful red wines do not go well with most fresh white fish.
When choosing your wine, you must look at the ingredients that your meal is being cooked with as well as the cooking method and the sauces used.
History of Wine
This varies hugely according to each country across the world. The exact history of wine is not really set in stone. Some say that it dates back to before the Romans, others say the first proof of winemaking was found on pottery from ancient Chinese times.
While this is the case, the earliest evidence of winemaking using grapes is from the Neolithic period site in Iran which dates back to 5400-5000 BC.
In Europe, scientific proof of the history of wine dates back about 12,000 years ago in Greece and 10,000 years ago in France.
Wine has evolved as part of many peoples’ everyday lives. The tradition expanded with the Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean and then Europe, and has since spread to France, Spain, Germany, and even parts of the United Kingdom.
Because water was still unreliable, the preferred drink to accompany meals was wine. With improved production techniques, wine has become an art and a science. Wine today plays an important role in the diversity of European culture.
There are hundreds if not thousands of different wine regions now spread across the world. While this is the case, many still consider France, Italy, and Spain to be the top three wine lover destinations today.
That said, the United States, specifically California has made incredible strides towards producing beautiful wines, as well as Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, and even Australia.
Essential Wine Accessories
If you are a fellow wine lover then you may already know that there are certain accessories that are a must have in your home. Here is a list of wine accessories and equipment you need to get your wine hobby started.
You might want to consider getting a wine gift set for that ‘hard to buy for’ friend. I’m sure you’ll be guaranteed to hit a winner.
As the name suggests, a wine opener allows you to open a bottle of wine. Breaking into a bottle of wine without a wine opener or corkscrew is near impossible. They come in all shapes, sizes, and price tags depending on the model.
Wine openers range from beginner models to high-end, expensive, and more complex corkscrews.
If you’re interested in buying a practical stopper, look for one that vacuum seals via a hand pump to remove oxygen from the bottle and extends the wine’s lifespan. 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 tool to have.
Stoppers vary in shapes, sizes, and materials but are most commonly found in either cork, rubber, silicone or plastic. Sometimes of silver or stainess steel, and may be decorated with crystals or precious gems. You may find that the top of the stopper is more of an aesthetic statement. Apart from serving a purpose , they make a very attractive addition to your bar.
The reason stoppers were invented was because it can be difficult to put the original cork back into the bottle to keep wine tasting fresh. Wine stoppers are essential for keeping your opened bottles of wine fresh.
A wine collar fits around the neck of the wine bottle and absorbs any drops that run down the bottle after serving. It’s a great way to avoid any nasty stains on your tablecloth or countertops.
Wine collars are also known as drip collars and come in all shapes and sizes.
Modern day wine collars are normally plastic or come in the form of a silver ring with a red or black felt lining.
‘Decanting wine’ is when you expose wine to oxygen by pouring the wine into a decanter (or carafe or jug). It is also known as an aerator.
This process helps take away the harshness sometimes found in wine. It’s also enhances the scent of the 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.
What Is A Wine Opener?
These devices are typically used for opening bottles that are sealed closed with a cork.
While you may have switched to screw top bottles that are available in supermarkets, traditional wines still have corks.
Wine openers do however come in all shapes and sizes. From simple corkscrews to carbon dioxide driven openers and lever driven mechanisms, modern technology offers a wide variety to choose from.
The Different Type Of Wine Openers
We’ve created a list of the most popular and well-known wine openers available today.
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.
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.
This is more modern than its above 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 winged corkscrew is among the easiest to use corkscrews in the industry as they allow you to remove the cork in one swift movement.
The top of the corkscrew acts as a bottle opener as well.
Rabbit Wine Opener
Also known as lever wine bottle opener or bunny ears, the Rabbit style wine opener involves using 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.
Electric Wine Opener
If you don’t have the strength to open your wine bottles then an electric bottle opener may be your best bet. With the press of a button the cork is removed, wine bottle opened ready to enjoy.
Sit the opener on top of your bottle. Press the button. ‘Down’ to enter and remove the cork; ‘up’ to release the cork. It’s that easy.
The opener is charged on a charging base 100-240v which is compatible with most countries. (note: We suggest you check voltage compatibility with your country).
Air Pressure Wine Bottle Opener
Air pressure wine openers come with a needle which pierces the cork.
Push the needle into the cork then apply a pumping action. Pressure is produced by pushing air into the bottle. After a few pumps, the cork will ‘pop’. Add on the bottle top aerator to the wine bottle.
Air pressure bottle opener sets are prefect for large parties of people, if you’re doing wine tastings, or even own your own restaurant. They can typically push out 80 to 100 corks in a matter of minutes.
Butler’s Thief corkscrew Ah-So Wine Bottle Opener
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.
Bottles of wine where the corks are poor quality or old bottles of wine suit this style of bottle opener as well as you should avoid getting cork in the wine.
You’ll find this style of wine bottle opener called ‘Ah-So’ wine opener ,“Butler’s Thief” or ‘Two Prong Wine Opener’.
The 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.
On the other hand, 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 your cork out of your bottle with the press of a button. The only difference is that one uses CO2 and the other electricity to function.
Lastly, the Ah-So wine opener is among the most unconventional in the industry. Aside from the fact that it does not damage the cork whatsoever, it is 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 for your next flight.
Wine Opener FAQ’s
We’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions regarding wine openers to help with determining which opener may be best for your specific needs.
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.
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 you have an old wine collection you have to be careful that the cork does not completely crumble into your bottle. If your collection is old, we recommend you use an Ah-So wine opener or a waiter’s corkscrew. Other types may not offer the same control to remove a cork gently.
How much does the average wine opener cost?
The price you pay for your wine opener completely depends on the type you choose and the model you purchase. Waiter, winged, and even traditional corkscrews can be bought for a couple of dollars at your local supermarket.
Ah-So wine openers can also 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 worth the investment.
Which wine opener should I choose if I have a lot of bottles to open?
If you’re planning on hosting a big party or want a new wine opener for your restaurant, we recommend choosing an air pressure, electric or lever corkscrew. They 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?
If you don’t have very much arm strength and are hosting a dinner party or wine tasting, you may not want to have to spend your energy twisting and pulling out corks.
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 simple touch of a button.
What wine opener is best if I travel a lot?
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 carry hand luggage, it may be taken away at customs. If you travel light and only have carry hand luggage, we recommend an Ah-So wine opener.
Reputable wine bottle opener manufacturers
Now that you have some insight into wine openers, 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 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 that will last a lifetime.
HQY Kitchen is a family owned business that creates unique kitchen tools and gadgets with the aim of creating a frictionless and quick cooking process for its customers.
These products are all designed with quality in mind, allowing consumers to make a one-time investment for a product that will last a lifetime.
How To Look After Your Wine Opener
The only way you can keep your wine opener for years to come, no matter what the type or model, is to look after it correctly.
While taking care of your wine opener is not nearly as complex or as time-consuming as it is for other kitchen tools, there are some basic maintenance tips you should follow to make sure it stays in good working order.
1. 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.
2. Dry your opener straight away and never put it in the dishwasher.
3. It’s important to wipe the wine opener regularly as this avoids a build up of wine sediment or cork on the spiral. 4. Never use your wine opener before taking off the foil cap or wax that is on the bottle.
5. Keep your wine opener out of the reach of small children and pets.
6. Don’t use it to attempt to recork a bottle.
7. Never oil or grease your wine opener.
How Do You Know When To Replace Your Wine Opener
As with any kitchen tool, wine openers can break. They can also become so old and worn that they don’t remove the cork as well as they once used to. This is especially true with electric models.
That said, often the worm can be replaced. You’ll be able to tell straight away as it will not work like it did when you first bought it.
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.
Wine Drinking Etiquette
Wine drinking etiquette starts with knowing how to hold the glass in the first place.
A wine connoisseur would typically hold his or her glass at the base of the glass with the stem between the index finger and thumb, and the middle finger as support.
You should also get used to sniffing your wine before tasting it. This helps you to learn about the wine you are drinking. The more practice you have using your senses, the more you will learn.
Be sure to clink glasses ‘bell-to-bell’ before sipping your wine. This reduces the chances of breakages.
Drinking from the same position on the glass every time reduces mouth marks on the glass.
You should also always open a bottle of wine as quietly as possible. Unlike when opening a bottle of Champagne, the aim is not to hear a loud popping noise.
When pouring wine, hold the bottle by the base and fill the glass less than half way in order to give the wine space to breathe inside the glass.
Always drink at the same pace as your guests and offer others a top up before pouring for yourself.
Ideally, you’ll want to learn about the most common types of wines available as well as the correct glasses to use for each type, and how to pair specific wines with dishes.
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.