To easily open a bottle of wine I always believed that the classic waiters corkscrew was the best tool available. Who needs all those fancy contraptions when you have a little instrument that cuts the foil and allows you to pull the cork with brute force? Well after experimenting with many different openers and corkscrews, I finally gave in and am convinced that those contraptions are actually better and require less strength than the waiter’s corkscrew. So here’s my favorite wine opener.
I tried out all the different models in an attempt to find the best one for both cork and artificial cork stoppers. The best part was drinking all the uncorked wine in the name of science.
After experimenting for a few weeks I have decided on two. First let’s look at an extremely popular apparatus. The estate opener (picture on the left) looks great on the top of any bar or table, and does the job. It works by the use of a lever that is moved up and down to push and pull the spiral into the cork. I found it a bit uncomfortable when it is placed on a bar, as the bar-top is higher than most tables. On a table it works a little better as you have more leverage and can maneuver the opening of the bottle with more force. While it functions as expected, it is still not the ideal opener for me. The long wooden handle goes up too high and places your arm in an awkward position that limits the strength you can use to bring the handle down. Other than that, it is a good opener but not my favorite.
Now for my two favorites. The Italian-style lever wine opener (picture on the right) has an insertion and extraction lever that is a U-shaped double arm, giving it a wide grip at the handle. It makes it very easy and comfortable to uncork the bottle. I actually inserted and extracted the cork in less than 3 seconds. This lever opener is strong and sturdy. It brings a foil cutter that is simple to use, and a spare spiral. The spiral is Teflon coated so that it is easy to insert into the cork. Once you learn how to use it properly it will become your must-have opener, and your guests will be impressed with the smoothness and brevity of the uncorking.
The lever corkscrew really impressed me. The simplicity and ease of use was extraordinary. All you have to do with this corkscrew is raise the lever and place the unit over the bottle’s top opening. Once it is firmly in place, squeeze the handles on the side of the bottle and bring the lever down, pushing the spiral smoothly through cork. Simply hold the bottle down using the handles and pull the lever. The cork will slide out of the bottle with ease. After the extraction bring the lever down and grab the cork with the handles. Once again pull the lever up and the spiral will pull itself out of the cork. Once you release the handles, the cork will drop into your hand. While the whole process sounds complicated, you can actually extract the cork from a wine bottle in about three seconds. One of the features that I really enjoyed was how compact the opener is, and how efficiently it uses all of its parts.
All the models that I tested were VIP brand openers, come in a set with an extra spiral and other utilities, are gift packed and are fully guaranteed. In addition to the above models, the screwpull, rabbit, pulltaps and other types of corkscrews were tested.