Corkscrews (Sort Of) – A Rant

It hasn’t always been easy for me to define the philosophy of wine I have here at the Wine Populist.  In an odd way the Wall Street Journal helped me with a column this weekend on, of all things, corkscrews.  The views expressed were as close to the antithesis of how I think and feel about wine as you can get.  Sometimes an opposite view can help refine your own.

Here is a link to the article:

If you don’t want to bother, here is a synopsis:  Corkscrews don’t have to be utilitarian objects just for opening wine anymore.  You can spend a lot of money and have something that “will give you as much satisfaction as a 2000 Chateau Latour.”  They then go on to review five corkscrews ranging in price from $25 to $150.

Well I have never enjoyed a corkscrew as much as a good glass of wine.  And for me wine is about enjoyment.  I enjoy the tastes, the smells, the physical sensations of drinking a good wine.  I enjoy drinking wines that have memories attached.  I also enjoy the adventure of trying a new wine.  I care about what wine and the necessary accoutrements (corkscrews and glasses) cost because I have a budget.  If I am going to do any showing off with wine, I am going to do it with a good bottle of wine.  I am not going to do it by spending $150 on a corkscrew when I can get a good one for under $10.

To make this more than just a rant, here is what I do like in corkscrews.  I usually reach for the kind called a “waiter’s friend”.  They look a bit like a pocket knife.  The best ones have a little folding knife blade to cut the foil on the bottle and have a Teflon coated screw to make it easier to screw in.  A good one can be had for under $10.  Not only that, if you hang out at enough wine stores someone is likely to give you a promotional one for free.  I also like the original Screwpull design.  It has a continuous screw that lifts the cork out straight.  They are a bit slower to use than the waiter’s friend but are good for delicate corks and tight corks.  They are also good if you find the waiters friend to need a bit more muscle than you want to use.  They cost about $15.

So save your money for wine and enjoy.

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3 Responses to Corkscrews (Sort Of) – A Rant

  1. The Whiner says:

    My hands down choice is the Screwpull (the original model).
    What I “whine” about though, is not getting the cork out. It’s getting to the cork in the first place. Why aren’t all wine bottles designed with something to make it easy to unwrap and get to the cork?

    • admin says:

      Well mostly tradition, mixed with some cost considerations. The cover is there to protect the cork. Traditionally it was a lead foil. For health reasons that was replaced with non-toxic metal, probably tine but I don’t know. Many wines have plastic now. Some large wineries have easy-off type covers but for most it would meen changing the bottling line which would be expensive. Most of the foilf cutters on the market work fairly well, including the one from Screwpull to match your favorite corkscrew,

  2. Hillary M says:

    I’ve always liked the kind with the little arms that go up as you turn the corkscrew and then help pull the cork out when you press them down. They remind me of little French policemen directing traffic. Ours cost a whopping $16 – but then, we bought it in the supermarket, bound to be over-priced.