How To Open A Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew



Hit Method

Hit the bottom of the bottle firmly and evenly against a reasonably flat, vertical surface (such as the wall, or even a tree). To protect the surface, wrap the bottom of the bottle in a towel, or place a phone book on the surface in the spot where the bottle will be hitting it. You can lean the phone book on the floor, against the wall, so that no one has to hold it for you, but you'll need to be sitting down while you hit the bottle against the wall. The pressure of the wine against the cork will gradually nudge it out. Once it's sticking out partially, you can pull it out with your hands, or pliers, or continue hitting the bottle rhythmically until the entire cork comes out (but be careful about wine spilling out, since you're holding the bottle sideways).

  • See the Video at this link for detailed Information.


    Alternatively, you can hold the bottle upside-down between your knees and strike the bottom of the bottle with your shoe. The cork should gradually come out. Once it is out far enough to grasp, remove as described above.


Pull with Household Implement Method

Try pulling the cork out. The important thing is to not let the cork crumble into little pieces (which you'll have to pick out of your wine later if you end up pushing the cork in) and make sure that whatever comes in contact with the cork is clean (so that it doesn't taint the flavor of the wine if the cork gets pushed in).

  • Use a screw and pliers. The wider the distance between threads on the screw, the better.

    Pull Method Step 1

    Turn the screw into the cork of the wine bottle until there is about 1/2" (1.2 cm) sticking out.

    Pull Method Step 2    Pull Method Step 3

    Use the pliers to pull the screw out; the cork should come with it. The claw (nail pulling side) of a hammer also works well in place of the pliers.
  • Use a pocket knife or paring knife. The blade has to fit easily into the neck of the bottle. Some sources recommend using a serrated knife, as the "teeth" might get a better grip on the cork (but it will make the knife more difficult to sink in to the cork to begin with). Carefully work the knife back and forth into the cork, using very little downward pressure. With the blade buried in the cork, twist the cork back and forth, with a slight pull, and slowly work it out. When it fails, the cork ends up pushed into the bottle, which is OK.
  • Get a cheap wire coat hanger and bend the hook part out straight, then use pliers to make a little hook by bending the last half inch (10 mm) back until it makes an angle of about 30 degrees (a bit like a fish hook). Push the wire down beside the cork until the little hook is below the cork, then rotate the wire 90 degrees so the hook can grab the bottom of the cork and pull it out.
  • A bicycle hook (the kind used to hang bikes from rafters and such) works well. Simply screw into the cork and using the vinyl coated hook as a handle, pull cork out, away from your body.
  • Take a bootlace: leather is best. Tie an overhand knot in the end. Push the knot down the side of the cork with any sharp implement until it is below the bottom of the cork. Wrap the rest of the lace round your hand and then SLOWLY pull the lace and cork out. If the knot pulls through, tie a bigger knot.
  • Two paperclips and a pen: Partially straighten the paper clips, leaving the U-shapes intact. Work one of the small U's into the bottle between the glass and the cork (you can push on the larger U end with another object) until the free end of the U is below the cork. Rotate the wire 90 degrees so that this hook will penetrate the cork when you pull up. Repeat on the opposite side of the cork with the second paperclip. Straighten the two larger U shapes and twist the ends together a few times. Insert a suitable utensil (spoon handle, pen barrel, pencil, etc.) under the twisted wires. Slide your fingers under the utensil, with the wires between your middle and ring fingers, and slowly pull out the cork.


Push Method

If you can't pull out the cork, then push it in. This is a last resort because the air and wine are already compressed inside the bottle; pushing in the cork can cause wine to spray out, so before you begin, pierce the cork all the way through so pressure can be relieved as you push it in. Place the bottle on the floor or a steady surface and push the cork down using a long rod or dowel, thick marker (highlighter, dry erase, etc.), or slim knife sharpener. Point the opening away from people, just in case wine sprays out. Push down consistently and most people can push it in with a little effort. Tapping down with a hammer or even a rock will help push the cork into the bottle.

  • Alternatively, you can use a key to push in the cork, but the technique is slightly different. Work it in along the side of the cork, in between the cork and the bottle opening; this will let off pressure gradually and the widening key eventually forces the cork to go into the bottle.
  • Using a carabiner is pretty foolproof. Push the carabiner open and use the hook to push the cork into the bottle. Great for camping.
  • Be prepared to have to push the floating cork down into the bottle during the first pour, as it may get lodged. A chopstick or the handle of a butter knife can come in handy to push the cork back as you pour the first glass. As the bottle is emptied, the cork becomes less of a hassle.


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