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Corkscrews Who Needs Them?

Updated on May 25, 2010

Corkscrew, does exactly what it says on the tin

So, many many, many (you get the idea) years ago, more than I care to remember, back when I was a student I ended up at a party in a students hall of residence. I seem to remember we'd been drinking way before we even arrived, we could see it was the usual type of party one would expect when a large number of unsupervised adolescents were gathered together in the presence of alcohol. The earliest arrivals were by now draped comatose over the furniture or were noisily throwing up into various containers and leaving unexpected surprises for late comers.

A small group of us 2 or 3 I think, had found a quiet room unoccupied except for a couple who'd recently discovered the opposite sex and were keen to continue their explorations. As they were using the floor, we took advantage of the furniture and ignored them, they ignored us or were too preoccupied to notice us..

Some one produced a bottle of wine, I've no idea where from but still it was alcoholic so it was gratefully received. Then we realised we had a problem, no corkscrew. Still we were young and resourceful, and after some debate one bright spark had a great idea, if you can't get the cork out of the bottle, push it inside. Genius!

I've no idea now how we achieved it but in no time at all we had a bottle of wine with the cork bobbing about inside. We hadn't foreseen the inevitable snag in the idea. Cork floats!

So each time the bottle was tipped up the cork blocked the exit, so near and yet so far. We had a theoretically open bottle but still couldn't get at the wine. Steve to the rescue.

The only things I can remember about Steve, is that he had curly hair, wore glasses, had a motorbike and was a little older than the rest of us so he should have known better. Steve disappeared outside to where his motorbike was parked leaving us to ponder the wonders of physics, well not really, we still tried to get the wine out just by tipping the bottle. Remember I did say we'd already been drinking.

Steve returned triumphant with a short length of plastic tube just the right diameter to slip into the neck of the bottle, by-pass the cork and allow the wine to be sucked out as through a straw. I don't know where he got the plastic tube, I vaguely remember someone mentioning petrol pipe. Still we were happy, we'd ingeniously solved a problem and more importantly we could now drink the wine. Well I did say we were students.

Choose your corkscrew

So what type of corkscrew are you looking for? The simplest corkscrews are just a bit of curly metal with a handle, but they work. It can be pretty difficult sometimes though to actually get the cork out of the bottle. even brute force won't do it.

In that case you're looking at some type of assisted cork removal, generally this is the application of the laws of physics to the problem. More specifically, a lever. Some corkscrews such as the waiters friend simply have a hinged handle which once the screw is in the cork, bears down on the neck of the bottle giving enough leverage to easily remove the cork.

Waiters Friend Gift

If you have a family member or friend who is a real wine enthusiast, the next time you're looking for a gift for them for a birthday or Christmas take a look at the one pictured on the right. It would make a really special gift.

It's hand made in Japan with a handle of ebony wood has a patented mechanism which allows the cork to be easily removed in one smooth action. It also has a built in foil cutter and a bottle opener. It comes with an attractive leather case which includes a belt clip.

A great gift for the enthusiast or collector.

Foil Cutter

Of course sometimes a corkscrew is not enough on it's own. Before you can get the screw into the cork you have to remove the protective foil from the top of the bottle. sometimes its easy, they just seem to peel off easily. Occasionally it's proves little more difficult.

I recently needed to open a bottle of port. Now when I say "needed" that may be open to discussion, whatever, I couldn't remove the foil, I broke a thumb nail, I almost dropped the bottle which would have been a disaster requiring at least a glass of port to recover from.

Not having a foil cutter to hand, it's probably in the workshop, I seem to remember finding an alternative use for it. I thought the solution was easy, a sharp knife. that's a cutter right! So I chose a small vegetable knife which I'd recently sharpened. I'd obviously done a real good job with the sharpening, it went through the foil like butter. Problem was it went through the cork like butter as well. I managed to get the remains of the cork out with the corkscrew and I just happened to have an empty port bottle, which meant a spare cork. What can I say, I like port.

So now you've learned two things, corkscrews are indispensable and foil cutters are pretty handy too.

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