If you open good wine on a regular basis you need a good corkscrew. But which corkscrew works best for your needs?
Our Recommendations for Which Corkscrews
- Lever Style – Rabbit Corkscrew
- Waiter Corkscrew
- Twisting Pull Corkscrew
- Two-Pronged Corkscrew or ah so corkscrew
- Winged Corkscrew
- Air Pump Corkscrew
Descriptions of each corkscrew type & advantages, disadvantages
Lever style Corkscrew
There are several of these on the market ranging in price from $30 to $150. You simply clamp the opener on the bottle and let the levers do all the work.
Advantages: Dependable, efficient, and takes light strength to use. You can’t go wrong opening a bottle with the lever style.
Disadvantage: It takes up more room that the other types of corkscrews. These are most expensive types of corkscrews.
This one is the corkscrew of choice for the waiter. It is slim and comfortable to carry in one’s pocket. The worm (screw) and the small knife are in a safe position. The servers can put it into their pocket or apron without fear of getting poked. It is also my “Go To” corkscrew.
Advantage: Slim, contains knife to remove foil on the bottle. It’s a little tricky at first to use, but once mastered, it’s fast and efficient. If you become skillful at using one of these, you have that professional look about you.
Disadvantage: Requires practice to be proficient at using. Cheaper models don’t work as well. The inexpensive types may have a dull knife, and the worm may bend if the proper angle and leverage are incorrectly applied.
We recommend that you place a waiter’s corkscrew in the glove compartment of your car. You never know when you might need it. Pack one in your suitcase when you travel. If a corkscrew is packed in a carry-on bag, it will be “pulled” by the airport screeners.
The Twisting Pull Cork
This corkscrew has a circular rim that you place over the lip of the bottle. This action centers the worm over the cork. You then begin twisting the handle on the corkscrew. When the worm twists into the cork, the corkscrew braces against the bottle the cork begins to emerge from the bottle as you twist.
Advantage: Very reliable and relatively inexpensive. Tip: The worm is the most important part of this corkscrew. Cheap models are likely to mess up a cork.
Disadvantage: Nothing significant, except for those who have pain in the wrist and elbow joints. These corkscrews require constant turning.
These corkscrew also have a circular rim that is placed over the lip of the bottle. As you turn the corkscrew, the wings lift higher and higher. When you think you have drilled the worm into the corkscrew far enough, grasp the wings and slowly bring them toward the bottle. This action causes the cork to pull out of the bottle.
Advantages: Usually reliable unless the worm is not far enough into the cork. Cost is reasonable.
Disadvantages: If the worm goes past the bottom of the cork, cork fragments get into the wine. Cheap models with weak worms will not lift the cork out of the bottle
Two-pronged or Ah-So type
These are not exactly corkscrews because they do not have a worm that you screw into the cork. Instead, you have two slim metal prongs that you enter into opposite sides of the cork in the bottle. One prong is a little longer than the other, and that is the side you enter into the bottle first. You rock the device back and forth slightly until the prongs are fully entered. Then you gently pull up with a little twist or rocking motion.
Advantage: It’s slim. It puts no hole into the cork, and therefore no cork fragments fall into the wine. This device works well with an aged bottle of wine whose cork has deteriorated.
Disadvantage: Somewhat hard to use. Must be used with care. If done incorrectly, you can possibly damage the prongs by bending them out of shape.
Air Pump Corkscrew
This works on the principle of forcing air between the space in the bottle of wine between the cork and the wine. As you pump the device, air pressure forces the cork out of the bottle.
Advantages: None we can think of.
Disadvantages: Requires pumping action to force air. Some wine experts believe that forcing air into the wine bottle is not good for the wine.
Many wineries have adopted screw tops or screw caps for bottles of wine that do not require aging. For those wine bottles, you obviously don’t need a corkscrew. Watch this video on how to properly open a bottle of wine with a screw top.