How to Open a Wine Bottle (Even If You Don’t Have a Corkscrew)

How to Open a Wine Bottle (Even If You Don’t Have a Corkscrew)

McKenzie Hagan |

If you’ve just started your love affair with wine, you may be excused for not knowing how to open a bottle of wine. After all, popping a cork takes a lot more skill than twisting off a beer bottle cap. (And if you find yourself without the right equipment, getting at that precious liquid can be a nightmare.) To prevent potential mishaps, we’ve created this guide that will take you through the step-by-step process of how to open a wine bottle, with or without a corkscrew.

Unlocking the Bubbles: How to Open Champagne or Sparkling Wine

When it comes to opening sparkling wine or Champagne, it’s essential to keep the cork pointing away from your face at all times. There’s a lot of pressure in a bottle of sparkling wine, so it’s not worth risking any black eyes (or worse).

With the top of the bottle facing away from you — and anyone else in the vicinity — remove the foil covering the cork. Next, keeping your thumb over the cork, twist off the metal cage, and discard it. 

Hold the bottle’s base steady against your body and place your palm over the cork firmly. Start to slowly twist the base of the bottle. Keep hold of the cork and gently pull as it loosens. Hold on tightly to make sure it doesn’t pop out of your hand.

Popping a bottle of bubbly can be difficult and even a little scary. But with practice, patience, and a strong grip, you’ll soon be sipping those lovely bubbles.

A Simple Technique: How to Open a Wine Bottle With a Twin Lever Corkscrew

How to open a bottle of wine: Usual Wines rose with pink flower

Opening a bottle of wine with a twin lever corkscrew is the easiest way to remove a cork. Chances are you’re familiar with these corkscrews that look like little men with very long arms.

These handy wine openers are perfectly designed for freeing your favorite drink from the bottle. If you don’t have one, it’s certainly worth investing in one. (They range anywhere from $8 to more than $100.)

First, you’ll have to remove the foil from the top of the bottle. You can do this by running a knife under the lip of the bottle. 

Once the foil is out of the way, place the corkscrew over the cork, with the arms down to the sides. Hold it in place and turn the head clockwise, driving the screw into the cork. The arms will start to rise slowly.

Once the arms are fully up, use both your hands to pull them down to the side. Then lift the corkscrew off the bottle.

Don’t twist all the way to the bottom, ensuring that you leave at least one coil showing out of the cork. Push the lever onto the lip of the bottle, using it as leverage. Then, pull the cork out of the neck of the bottle.

Get your wine glasses ready because your bottle is open! You've successfully learned how to open a wine bottle with a corkscrew.

Your Compact Companion: How to Open a Wine Bottle With a Wine Key

Wine keys are slim, lightweight, and look a bit like a Swiss Army knife. While they’re a little bit trickier to use than twin lever corkscrews, they are much smaller, so they’re perfect to stash in your pocket for opening bottles on the go.

To use a wine key to open a bottle of wine, firstremove the foil from the top of the wine bottle. Unlike a twin lever corkscrew, wine keys often have a sommelier’s knife attached, which you can use to get rid of the foil.

Next, unfold the corkscrew and position it over the center of the cork. Push down and start to twist the screw clockwise, driving it into the cork. Voila! You've successfully learned how to open wine with a wine key. Your vino is ready to drink.

The Do-it-Yourself Approach: How to Use a Screwdriver to Open a Wine Bottle

Usual Wines Red next to a white flower

 Oh no, disaster: You’re ready to open a bottle of wine but then realize you don’t have a corkscrew or wine key. Don’t fear, though. There are a few gadgets you might have lying around the house that can help you out.

First up, the screwdriver method. For this maneuver you will need:

  • A long screw (the longer the better)
  • A screwdriver
  • A hammer

Use the screwdriver to insert the screw into the center of the cork (carefully, please). Leave enough of the screw sticking out of the cork so you can get a firm grip on it.

Next, take the back of a hammer and use it to pull the cork from the bottle. Get ready for a struggle as this is not an easy method. You may be pulling for a while, but that glass of wine is worth it, right?

The Old-School Method: How to Use a Wooden Spoon to Open a Wine Bottle

If you thought using a screwdriver was a struggle, the wooden spoon method is even tougher. But don’t worry you got this. Instead of pulling the cork out, you’re going to push it into the bottle. (Yes, you read that correctly. You’ll be pushing, not pulling.)

For this method, you will need:

  • A wooden spoon with a slender handle
  • Patience
  • Brute strength

To keep the bottle steady, hold it between your legs. Grip the bottle neck tightly in one hand and use the other to force the slim spoon handle down into the cork. 

We’re not going to lie to you, this method is challenging.

Firstly, you will need to use all your strength to push that cheeky little cork in. Secondly, if it’s an old wine bottle, the cork may crumble. And thirdly, you won’t be able to retrieve the cork out of the bottle, so you’ll have to drink the whole bottle. (Well, maybe that’s not really such a bad thing.) If you’re able to open the bottle with a wooden spoon, you deserve at least one glass of wine.

An Unexpected Solution: How to Use a Bike Pump to Open a Wine Bottle

How to open a wine bottle: Chilled bottles of Usual Wines Brut

If you’re not sure the wooden spoon hack is right for you (or you tried it to no avail), don’t despair. There’s another option to open wine and it’s about as unexpected and simple as it gets.

For this maneuver, you’ll need:

  • A bicycle pump with a needle attachment

First, take the needle and push it straight through into the center of the cork. Slowly start pumping air into the bottle. The cork should gradually begin to rise up the neck of the bottle. Once it gets closer to the top of the bottle, you can wiggle the cork to pull it out. And just like that, your wine bottle is open.

Choose Simplicity: Opt for Corkless Bottles

Opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew is tricky and can even be dangerous. So, please (please, please) be careful when using any of these methods. 

Better yet, opt for screw-top bottles whenever possible. While there’s a prevailing idea that a bottle with a cork is a higher-quality wine, it’s just not true. In fact, some winemakers prefer screw tops to corks.

For one, corkless wine bottles take virtually no effort to open, which means you don't have to figure out how to open a bottle of wine. Plus, screw caps are much better at stopping oxygen from entering the bottle, which ensures that rosés, white wines, and light-bodied reds stay fresh, crisp, and well-preserved.

Another benefit of screw top bottles is their versatility. They're not just easy to open, but also much more convenient for transporting and storing. Corked bottles need to be stored horizontally to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. Screw top bottles, on the other hand, can be stored either horizontally or vertically without any risk to the quality of the wine. So, if you want to take your Usual Wine on a picnic or a beach day, the screw top bottle is your friend.

Safety First

How to open a wine bottle: People reaching for Usual Wines

Using corkscrew-free methods to open a bottle of wine is risky, so always proceed with caution. It’s best to have a second pair of hands on standby to help, and don’t ever attempt if you’ve already been drinking.

The safest way to open a bottle of wine is with the proper equipment, so get yourself a corkscrew or wine key and leave the screwdriver, wooden spoon, and bike pump where they belong. Better yet, avoid the cork entirely and opt for screw tops. They’re safe, easy, and keep your wine intact.

To check out the range of Usual Wines screw-top wines, take a look at our online shop.