How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew

opening a wine bottle
Have you ever wondered what you would do if you arrived at your dinner party or picnic with a bottle of wine and there was no corkscrew in sight? If this is ever the case, you might just find yourself the hit of the party if you read up on the following tips and tricks that could help you get that bottle opened.

Of course, we all know that using a corkscrew is the best and easiest method and that using an electric wine opener is even easier than using the manual style. However, if no corkscrew is available, you’ll want to be well versed on the following methods to get the vino flowing.

  1. Sometimes the easiest method is just to push the cork into the bottle. Of course, you’ll want to try this with an object that has blunt ends that are smaller in diameter than the cork. Think sticks, Chapstick containers, pens, wooden spoon handles, and the like. If you’re camping, you can even try using your toothbrush. Don’t be surprised if you get some cork in the wine, or if a bit of wine splashes on your clothes. However, this is a small price to pay to get that cork out!
  2. Cut the cork out. Find a knife, preferably one with a sharp tip, and cut away at the cork until you remove it all from the neck of the bottle. As with the above method, there is a strong chance that you’ll end up with some cork in your wine. You might even have to push the last bit into the bottle if you can’t get it all out. But hey…you can always strain the wine through some fabric before drinking it if you feel so inclined to do so.
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  4. Drive one blade of a pointed pair of scissors into the cork and slowly twist in order to release the cork from the side walls of the bottle. Be sure that you’ve pushed the scissors in on an angle, and continue twisting the cork as you pull on the scissor handles. Hopefully, the pressure and the angle will keep the scissor blade in the cork, and you’ll be able to pull it out.
  5. Take a wire hanger and, using pliers, twist the wire into the shape of a corkscrew. Twist the wire hanger (now a mock corkscrew) down into the cork. Once it’s far enough into the cork, continue as usual by pulling it straight out of the bottle.
  6. This one might be a bit of a stretch, but we’ve actually seen it work a few times. First, bore a hole down the center of the cork. Next, take a shoe lace or a piece of string and tie a decently sized knot at one end. Now you’ll need to shove that baby down into the hole to get the knot to the other side of the cork and inside the bottle. You’ll need to push it in with a pen or some other straight object. Pull slowly to release the cork then give it a good pull to bring the cork up and out of the bottle. You might have to finish the job with your hands, but this method should do the trick.
  7. We’ve also had a lot of success using a screw or a nail. Twist (or pound) it into the cork and be sure to get it in as deep as possible. Then, use the claw end of a hammer and attach it to the head of the nail or screw and pull it out as if you’re removing a nail. Only, in this case, the cork will come out with it! If using this method with a nail, it’s usually best if the nail is pounded in at an angle. This will keep the nail inside the cork as you pull it out. Otherwise, you might remove the nail but not the cork!
  8. A slight variation on the #6 method involves pounding 3 to 5 smaller tack nails into the cork and pulling on all of them at once to remove the cork. Be sure to use pliers or the claw end of a hammer to pull out the nails. When pounding in the tack nails, be sure to put them into the cork at different angles which will help them hold on to the cork and not slide out as you’re pulling on them.
  9. One of our favorite methods involves pounding the bottom of the bottle against a wall to build up the pressure and push out the cork. Of course, you’ll want to have something soft between the bottle and the wall (or whatever hard surface you choose). You can use anything from a towel to your shoe to protect the bottle. If using the shoe method, put the bottom of the bottle into the shoe opening. Hold it tightly against the inside bottom of the shoe and pound the whole contraption against the wall. The sole will act as a buffer and protect the bottle from breaking.

    You’ll likely have to give a few good whacks before the cork starts to pop out. And it might be a good idea to pull it out the final bit with your hand. Otherwise, the cork could go flying, and you could spill (and lose!) some wine onto the floor.

  10. Lastly, if you really want to get crazy, you can heat up the neck of the bottle to increase the inside pressure and pop the cork. There are a million ways you could heat up the bottle, but most would take more time that you’re probably willing to wait.

Unless you liked boxed wine or screw cap bottles, it’s quite possible that you could, one day, find yourself in this predicament. We sure hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, we’re confident that one of the above methods can get you out of your jam and on to enjoying your party!



Author: Ryan M.

Ryan is the Founder of ReadPlease. When he's not working on reviews you will find him riding his electric skateboard or hanging out with his family poolside.

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