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4 Ways To Open That Bottle


Has it happen to you, all is perfectly set, the table, the food, the guest have arrived, everything is flowing as planned, and then the time comes to open that perfect bottle of wine and… no corkscrew! Here are a few ways to open the bottle when you can’t find the corkscrew.

1. Hit method

  • Wrap the bottom of the bottle in a towel, and place a phone book against a wall or tree.
  • As an alternative, you can hold the bottle upside-down between your knees and strike the bottom of the bottle with a shoe.
  • Hit the bottom of the bottle firmly and evenly against a reasonably flat, vertical surface (such as the wall, or a tree). The pressure of the wine against the cork will gradually nudge the cork out.
  • Once the cork is partially out, remove it with your hands or a pair of pliers. Alternatively, you can continue hitting the bottle rhythmically until the entire cork comes out. If you are trying to open a carbonated beverage (for example, champagne or lambic), let the bottle sit for 10-15 minutes before removing the cork.

2. Pull with household implement method

Try pulling the cork out using one of the following methods. Work carefully to ensure that the cork does not break apart into smaller pieces. Also, make sure that any objects which come into contact with the cork are clean; dirty objects increase the likelihood of tainting your wine.

  • Find a screw and pliers. The wider the distance between threads on the screw, the better.
  • Turn the screw into the cork of the wine bottle until there is about 1/2″ (1.2 cm) sticking out.
  • Use the pliers to pull the screw out; the cork should come with it. The claw (nail pulling side) of a hammer also works well in place of the pliers.

Use a pocket knife or a paring knife. The blade has to fit easily into the neck of the bottle. Some sources recommend using a serrated knife. Note: If you are using the knife to pry the cork out from the side, make sure you put slow even pressure on the “fulcrum” (the easily breakable rim of the opening). If using the “fulcrum” method, it works best to grip the bottle neck with your free hand slightly below the knife, using your fingers as the fulcrum. Moving your grip up as the cork comes up. This is similar to opening a beer bottle with a pocket lighter.

  • Carefully work the knife back and forth into the cork, using very little downward pressure.
  • With the blade buried in the cork, twist the cork back and forth, with a slight pull, and slowly work it out.

Get a cheap wire coat hanger and bend the hook part out straight.

  • Use pliers to make a little hook by bending the last half inch (10 mm) back until it makes an angle of about 30 degrees (a bit like a fish hook).
  • Push the wire down beside the cork until the little hook is below the cork.
  • Rotate the wire 90 degrees so the hook can grab the bottom of the cork and pull it out.
  • You might want to wear gloves, as the wire can hurt your fingers.

Find a bicycle hook (the kind used to hang bikes from rafters).

  • Screw it into the cork.
  • Using the vinyl coated hook as a handle, pull the cork out, away from your body.

Use a leather bootlace.

  • Tie an overhand knot in the end of the lace.
  • Push the knot down the side of the cork with any sharp object until it is below the bottom of the cork.
  • Wrap the rest of the lace round your hand and then slowly pull the lace and cork out. If the knot pulls through, tie a bigger knot.

Get two paperclips and a pen. Partially straighten the paperclips, leaving the U-shapes intact.

  • Work one of the small Us into the bottle between the glass and the cork (you can push on the larger U end with another object) until the free end of the U is below the cork
  • Rotate the wire 90 degrees so that this hook will penetrate the cork when you pull up.
  • Repeat on the opposite side of the cork with the second paperclip.
  • Straighten the two larger U shapes and twist the ends together a few times. Insert a suitable utensil (spoon handle, pen barrel, pencil, etc.) under the twisted wires. Slide your fingers under the utensil, with the wires between your middle and ring fingers, and slowly pull out the cork.

Use a corn cob holder. Intended for holding a hot piece of well-buttered corn on the cob, it consists of a nob and three pins.

  • Insert the pins into the cork.
  • Gently pull up, while slowly rotating your hand from side to side.
  • Use a Fostner bit. If you have a Fostner bit used for woodworking, screw the top on, check if it’s firm, then pull.

3. Push method

  • Pierce the cork all the way through. This relieves the pressure as you push it in.
  • Place the bottle on the floor or a steady surface.
  • Push the cork down using a long rod, thick marker (highlighter, dry erase, etc.), a cylindrical container of chapstick, or slim knife sharpener.


  • Carabiners work well, too. Point the opening away from people, just in case wine sprays out.
  • Alternatively, you can use a key to push in the cork, but the technique is slightly different. Work it in between the cork and the edge of the bottle. this will let off pressure gradually and the widening key will eventually force the cork into the bottle.

4. Hammer method

  • Find 5 finishing nails, 1 hammer, and a good hand.
  • Gently hammer the nails in a line, keeping them in close proximity.
  • Use the claw end of hammer, and your thumb as a leverage point.
  • Pry the nail-embedded cork out of bottle.