Corkscrews Buying Guide

Without a well-designed corkscrew, opening a bottle of wine for family and friends can be daunting and embarrassing. Relax. There’s a model just right for you.

Types of Corkscrews

Types of Corkscrews

A small amount of cork is a big aggravation when guests are waiting for their Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Find out the differences in corkscrew designs, and how you can find one that uncorks your favorite varietal easily, cleanly, and safely.

T-Shape Corkscrew

The most basic in form and operation, this corkscrew gets the job done through simple effort: Push and turn to grip the cork, then pull straight up to remove it.

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Lever-Style Corkscrew

Clamp the corkscrew on the bottle top, push down, pull up, and let the levers do the work. This type of corkscrew is foolproof but needs a bit more storage space.

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Waiter’s Corkscrew

So named because it tucks neatly into a sommelier’s pocket, this folding corkscrew has a hinged arm that's notched to brace against a bottle’s lip. The slightly tricky technique -- it takes a little practice -- uses the corkscrew’s body for leverage.

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Twisting-Pull Corkscrew

A nonstick coating helps the spiral tip drive into a cork and release from it later. The continuous turning required can irritate weak wrist and elbow joints.

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Winged “Butterfly” Corkscrew

This type has two arms that automatically rise as you screw the tip into the cork. Pushing these “wings” back down will easily extract even a tight cork.

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Air-Pump Corkscrew

A long, sharp needle inserted through the cork forces air into the space between the cork and the wine, causing air pressure to push the cork out.

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Electric Corkscrew

Just snap this device over a wine bottle and press a button to penetrate the cork. Press again to pull the cork out. The entire process takes only about 10 seconds.

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Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

With so many types and models of corkscrews available, it’s wise to compare features to see what fits your needs best. Once you develop an expertise in using your corkscrew, you’ll want to serve wine more often to show off your skills.

Ease of Use

The engineering of the lever-style, butterfly, and electric corkscrew styles makes them the easiest and most convenient to use for home entertaining.

Effective Screw Mechanism

All “worms” are not alike. When you compare corkscrews, inspect the screw itself. A solid, ridged screw can be less effective at extracting dry or long corks. Look for a thin, spiral screw reminiscent of a cartoon pig’s tail.

Convenient Storage

If you’re short on space to store your bar accessories, consider the more compact and basic T-shape, waiter’s, and twisting-pull corkscrews.

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