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It's a Saturday night, and you've invited friends over for a little get-together, maybe a meal. You've all talked about going out, but no one has decided where or can be bothered, so you picked up a bottle of wine at the shop.
However, you don't feel the corkscrew when you reach into the drawer. Further investigation reveals nothing, and you are left stranded, in a panic, and with increasingly confused and sober guests. How to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, you might ask yourself.
First thing to say is: don't panic! We've all been here, looking around your kitchen for anything vaguely corkscrew-shaped, and I can tell you now, nothing quite beats a corkscrew for the job.
But there are plenty of alternatives that, while finicky, can be used in a pinch to get at that sweet, alcoholic nectar. In this article, we will discuss a couple of ways on how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew.
This method is one that made me feel silly when I first learned of it, mainly because I was annoyed I'd never thought of it before.
However, this is the method that most people will tell you to do if you don't have a corkscrew, wine lovers, winemakers, and wine drinkers alike.
The reason is it is relatively easy, it's straightforward, and it is safe to do; the only difficulty lies in the length of the cork and the length of the neck of the wine bottle, but this is a minor deterrent at best.
First, take the cork off the wine bottle, fully revealing the cork. At this point, it is important to have something long with a flat bottom that is very sturdy and narrower than the neck of the bottle, like a marker or and hex key and a towel.
Then, carefully and slowly, begin to push the cork with your fingers or the object of your choice.
Be patient and have the towel ready around the bottle, as when you push the cork down, the pressure will push the wine out of the bottle's top, and you don't want wine stains anywhere.
If the cork gets stuck down the neck, use that long object to push it the rest of the way into the bottle itself.
This object also helps if the cork starts blocking the neck of the bottle while it is floating around inside; simply push it out of the way with your object and enjoy your wine.
This seems quite a jump to make from using a corkscrew to full-on DIY, but it's not as involved as it sounds.
For starters, a screw and a corkscrew follow the same basic principle; the only difference is how we tend to use them: corkscrews are for pulling something out, but screws are holding something in place.
However, if you do it right, you can use a screw just like a corkscrew, and it is considered a safe method to get a cork out of a bottle.
So, to start within the center of your cork, place the screw and screw it in. The screw should be about 1 to 2 inches long. You want to get the screw until only about 1 to 1.5 centimeters is sticking out of the top of the cork.
Then, grab a pair of pliers and firmly grip the shaft of the screw, just under its head. Grip the screw tightly and slowly work the cork from side to side until it comes out of the bottle.
If you feel really confident in your abilities, you can try pulling the screw with the pliers like you would a corkscrew, but I wouldn't recommend this myself, as I would be liable to coat my guests in wine accidentally.
After this point, many would-be tempted to remove the screw from the cork. I would strongly suggest not to do this, as it can make your cork fall apart, and if you plan to use it to preserve your wine, you'll be picking cork from your teeth until the bottle is done.
Instead, keep the screw in the cork until the wine is finished and then safely remove it.
If using a screw was a jump, using a shoe sounds like downright insanity. But there is a method to my madness, friends; it is not just some lunacy concocted by a person desperate for a drink.
Unlike the other methods, this one doesn't rely on your strength to get at your booze; instead, it relies on physics and knowledge of how to manipulate it without breaking the bottle.
For this method, you will need a flat shoe with a hard rubber sole and, ideally, a soft inner sole and a wall. A boot would work great for this, but as long as it's flat with a rubber sole, it should do.
Place the wine bottle's bottom into the shoe, grip the bottle and the top of the shoe, then hold it horizontally. Very gently, hit the shoe's bottom against the wall.
The wall should only make contact with the part of the shoe that is underneath the bottle. The shoe's only purpose is to protect the wine bottle from the wall, so make sure your shoe is doing this.
The taps against the wall should create pressure inside the bottle that will start to force the cork out of the neck.
After a couple of these taps, the cork should be far enough outside the neck for you to pull it out the rest of the way with your hands and voile; you have yourself your delicious reward.
Everyone has thought a night ruined by purchasing something they cannot open, but there is never one way of doing something.
In this article, we have shown three different methods, but I am certain there are many more out there and with the tricks learned here and elsewhere, you should never feel defeated by the lack of a corkscrew. What is important at the end of the day is that you get to enjoy your vino!