Uncorking Wine

Uncorking wine isn’t always as easy as it seems. To avoid unfortunate spillage, try these simple steps to feign cork mastery:

  1. If there is foil around the mouth of the bottle, remove it. Most bartender-style corkscrews contain a small steel blade you can use to score the foil just below the neck of the bottle. Ensure there is nothing obstructing your access to the bottle. This includes a wax plug — use the blade to remove it.
  2. Wrap the neck of the bottle in a bar towel to catch any wine that may spill.
  3. Use the right tool for the job. Corkscrews that have a screw affixed to a T-shaped handle work but increase the force needed to remove the cork, and hence increase the likelihood of spilling. The rotating types with the neck collar also work. The best tool, though, is probably the bartender’s corkscrew (see picture at right).
  4. Screw the corkscrew into the cork in the center of the cork until most of the screw is buried. Notch the lower edge of the pry handle (the thing sticking out to 8 o’clock in the picture) on top of the mouth of the bottle, and simply pry up with the handle.

Make sure the bottle is pointed away from you. If you are opening the bottle where there is a stain risk, uncork it over a sink or tile floor.

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