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Here’s how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew. Introducing the most resourceful guide online. No corkscrew – no problem!
We’ve all been in this situation. You get a bottle of fine wine, you prepare the snacks, you set the table, you bring out the bottle, and… nothing happens. Because you don’t have a corkscrew!
Whatever the reason – maybe you’re in a hotel, or you’re on a picnic, perhaps you don’t drink that often to have one at home – how do you get out of this situation? Getting the cork out has a whole bunch of legends, from people sucking it out with their mouth to using telekinesis. Yet there are a few dozens of tricks that do work.
And here they are – all of them.
Table of Contents
Makeshift Bottle Opener
Any tool or an item that you can use to get the cork out from the bottle is a good enough opener. If there’s no corkscrew around, you’re bound to hack your way out of the situation.
Here are the things and techniques you can use to open that wine bottle.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Key
A key might be the most readily available item so let’s use it to open a wine bottle. This trick is especially useful when you’re away from home (like staying in a hotel) and you don’t have any tools available as well.
Here’s how to use a key for this:
- Press the key into the cork at an angle – aim for a 45-degree angle. You may have to use a lot of force to do it successfully. How deep you manage to insert it will mean a big deal if this trick is to work.
- Wrap the head of the key with an edge of a towel (or some other cloth) for more traction and easier handling.
- Twist the cork with the key by pressing it up at the same time. This will take a lot of force too. Be careful not to pull the key out as you do this.
It’s not the easiest method to uncork a bottle by far, but it’s one of the most available in any situation. The larger the key, the easier it is to handle.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Knife
A knife is a handier tool than you ever knew. And yes, you can get that cork out with its help. Here’s how:
- Insert a knife at an angle (aim at 45 degrees) into the cork, flat side to the cork’s surface.
- Turn the cork with the knife by pushing it up.
This method does require the use of force and it’s fairly dangerous as you are using a sharp knife (so be careful!). It’s not easy, but a manly trick to pull off. I would rate it higher than the shoe or the key method, simply for the coolness factor. There are easier methods, though.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Steak Knife
How is the steak knife different from any other type of knife to open a bottle? As you can see in the video, it’s much easier! This knife is much bigger and sturdier, so you get a better grip and you can drive more force into moving the cork. Most importantly, you can do it more accurately and safely:
- Insert the steak knife into the cork. Use a bit of an angle so it doesn’t slip out easily.
- Twist the work and push it up in the same motion.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Bicycle Pump
Good old air pressure comes to your aid again. If you have a bicycle pump with a pump needle handy, you will pop that cork out in no time. Here’s how:
- Squeeze in the pump needle to the bottle through the side of the cork (the edge where the bottle meets the cork).
- Pump it out!
It’s simple, albeit not so sanitary. I wouldn’t resort to using a bike pump for this unless it was the last resort. Simply because pumps like these have oil in their mechanism which might end up blown into the wine you’re about to drink.
The least you can do is to at least use a clean stainless steel needle for the pump.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with Scissors
Scissors – another sharp object to open a wine bottle in an emergency. Another word of a warning – don’t lose a finger trying this:
- Insert one blade of the scissors into the cork as deep as possible.
- Twist and pull using the handle of the scissors.
While this method mimics the corkscrew motion, it’s far from safe. My advice is to wrap the scissors in a towel for a better and safer grip before pulling.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Screw Driver
Well, and a screw, and a nail hammer. This is one of my favorites as it is easy and safe enough:
- Screw in the screw using a screwdriver into the center of the cork. Leave just enough of the screw out to be able to hook it with the hammer pull.
- Use the back of the hammer to pull it out.
The only caveat of this method is that you need fairly a lot of resources. So if you’re not at home, you have better chances of having the actual corkscrew than all these tools with you.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Nail and Hammer
This is pretty much the same idea as above only it uses a nail, so you can deal without a screw.
- Hammer in the nail into the cork carefully. Do it at a slight angle so you don’t push the cork into the bottle.
- Use the hammer pull to pull out the cork.
So this method is simpler but it has a slightly worse success rate. Unlike a screw, its easy to pull out the nail from the cork without removing the latter. This needs practice and getting the right angle.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Wire Hanger
Another tricky but a cool hack to open that bottle nonetheless. This time we’re using a cheap wire hanger. You will probably need pliers (or iron fingers) for this:
- Straighten out the wire hanger.
- Twist a hook at one end.
- Carefully wedge in the hook into the bottle through the side of the cork. This is the tricky part as the wire is thick enough to make it difficult.
- If you’re lucky, you’ll get the hook down below the cork.
- Now, twist the wire so it can hook into the cork.
- Pull it out.
As I said, the tricky part is getting the wire in. The cork is very tight and the wire is pretty thick, so it will take some effort and practice.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Fork
Not an easy method (as you can see in the video), but it is a way to do it if you have nothing else on you. Use a fork and a screw:
- Screw in the screw into the cork.
- Use a fork to pull it out.
It’s not easy, because unlike a hammer, the fork doesn’t provide a good grip. So wrap it in a towel for a better grip and give it all you’ve got!
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Pen
One of the easiest methods on the list. Granted, it doesn’t pull out the cork but rather pushes it in. Nonetheless, you get to the good stuff. So here’s how:
- Take a sturdy pen and put it perpendicularly into the top of the cork.
- Now, push it with all you’ve got until it ends up in the bottle.
That’s it, in a matter of seconds you have your wine open. It’s a bit dirty as you get the cork in your wine, but it works.
You can use any object that fits to push the cork into the bottle this way.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Spoon
More kitchen utensils coming your way to help you get that cork out. This time it’s a spoon. The method is really the same as using a knife or a key:
- Insert the spoon handle into the cork at a 45-degree angle.
- Twist the cork with the spoon while pushing it up at the same time.
- A spoon doesn’t have sharp edges like a knife or a key, so it’s much more difficult to insert it into the cork.
- It bends easily so it’s very difficult to twist it in a way that gets the cork pulled.
If you have a spoon handy, you probably have a knife too. So use it instead. I do have to give credit to this method – it’s safer than using something sharp.
How to Open a Bottle of Wine with Office Supplies
So you’re in the office, it’s after hours, and you want to let some steam off with the coworkers, or perhaps you have something to celebrate. Someone pulls out a bottle of wine from their bag – yay! But hold your horses – who has a corkscrew in the office?
Luckily, you can use office supplies to get that cork out. Most of these items can be used with the methods already listed in this article:
- A pen
- Paper clips
- Wire hanger
- Bike pump
- A key
- Kitchen utensils
- Power tools
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Drill
Feel like bringing out your power tools? This cannot go wrong. Take that power drill, and:
- Drill into the cork;
- Pull it out!
Easy, and it works. You do need to have that drill handy, though.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Multitool
A multi-tool must be able to do it all. Uncorking bottles included. Even though it doesn’t come with a real corkscrew. It does has a knife and pliers, and you’ll feel like a MacGyver using it:
- Insert the knife into the cork.
- Twist and pull the cork out as much as possible.
- Finish it off with the pliers.
This method works and it proves that the multitool is indeed the king of all tools. If you have it handy, a corkscrew isn’t needed.
How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew in a Hotel Room
This won’t work in all hotels but many rooms have curtain hooks that can work as makeshift wine openers. So here we go:
- Look behind the curtains – do you see a small hook screwed into a wall? It works as a curtain hook.
- Unscrew it – it’s an ideal corkscrew.
- Screw it into the cork.
- Pull it out.
If your hotel room doesn’t have this feature, use some of the other methods on this list. Look for things you have and things that are available in your room, such as:
- A knife
- Some nail
- A lighter
Finally, there’s always the option of going down to the hotel bar or reception and asking for a corkscrew.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Shoe String
Of all the things you always have on yourself that you can use to get the cork out, shoestring sounds like an unlikely ally. Granted, you’ll need some help with that unless you have strong fingers.
- Push the cork into the bottle. Use one of the methods from the list that does this. Technically, the bottle is already open at this point, but we’re getting that cork out.
- Tie a knot at the end of the string.
- Lower the string into the bottle and try to fish out the cork.
- Your goal is to get the cork back into the neck with the knot secured below it.
- Pull it out!
Stiff strings work better for this trick.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Nail Cutter
This method is fun. Making a tool from something is always fun. So here’s how to make a nail clipper work for you to open that bottle:
- Disassemble the nail clipper. Most clippers are easily disassembled and they can be put back together later.
- Push the handle part into the cork at an angle.
- Use the clipper part to twist the cork while pushing up.
- This will get the cork moving and out of the bottle.
The method is similar to the key, knife, spoon tricks, so it’s another makeshift tool you can use to get the job done.
Toenail clippers will work for this better as they are bigger and will provide a better grip for the twisting action.
How to Open a Bottle of Wine with Pressure
Air pressure is your friend when it comes to getting the cork out. If you can increase it within the bottle, the thing will fly out of there like a rocket. There are several methods (like using heat, or a bike pump – both of which we’ve covered), and if you want to get technical a compressor will allow you to pop those bottles by a dozen (if for whatever reason you need to).
All you need for this is a pump needle to insert through the cork. Then turn on the compressor and watch it pop.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with Chopsticks
Use a chopstick to simply push the cork into the bottle. It’s the same trick as using a pen. Nothing fancy, but it’s a bit easier than the pen way as a chopstick is bigger and sturdier.
Are you in a need of a corkscrew all of a sudden and you’re a crafty guy or gal? Put all the hacks aside and make your very own DIY corkscrew.
You will need:
- A welding machine (and skills)
- Disk cutter
- 9×10 mm threaded rod
- 8 cm wood screw
- Weld the rod and screw together.
- Cut off sharp points with a disc cutter.
A simple project, indeed, provided you’ve got the tools and skills for it.
DIY Wine Opener Kit
If you don’t have the tools nor skills for the welding project above, there’s always this option – a kit. Use it to make your own custom and fancy wine opener. You can even make it as a gift.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with Fire and Heat
Heat is your friend when it comes to using physics to get that cork out. It’s one of the easiest methods to use, albeit it’s a bit dangerous and you have to be careful.
Here are a few ways how you can use heat to your advantage.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Lighter
Do you have a lighter on you? Good – that’s all you need to open a wine bottle! The idea is to heat up the air just beneath the cork so the pressure increases and pops it out. Here’s the method:
- Remove the cover from the top of the bottle to expose the neck and the cork.
- Start heating up the bottleneck. Start slowly by heating around the neck with the flame. The goal is to warm it up first – a sudden increase in the temperature might break the glass.
- Once the bottle is warmed up, you can pretty much keep heating it up (still slowly rotating the bottle). This will take a couple of minutes before the cork starts moving.
- Wait for it to pop out.
This method is one of the easiest but it involves some hazard because you’re using open flame and heat. Use it carefully!
How to Open Wine Bottle with a Torch
More ways to use heat to your favor in opening that bottle. A cooking blow torch comes to your aid. The idea is the same as using a lighter:
- Heat the neck of the bottle at the cork level (you should see the air gap under the cork).
- Keep turning the bottle and heating it evenly from all sides.
- It pops out due to expanding air in a few minutes.
This is a better and safer method than the lighter, but you need to have a cooking torch available.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with Hot Water
Bringing the wine to a boil gets the cork out in a hands-off way. The only downside to this method is that boiling wine can mess up with the taste, and you have to wait for it to cool off.
But it does the job done:
- Pour some water into a pot (enough to immerse the bottle halfway).
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Put the bottle in.
- As the wine heats up, the air expands and pressure builds up, pushing the cork out.
Wine Bottle Hacks
So we already know several items that we can use to uncork a bottle. But that’s not all. There are a few hacks that can get it out by other means.
Open a Wine Bottle with a Shoe
One of the most popular tricks to uncork a bottle is using a shoe. Sounds fancy, indeed! But does it actually work? The method is as follows.
- Place the bottle in a shoe at the heel.
- Bang the shoe at the wall with the bottle.
- The force of the hitting should eventually move the cork out enough so you can pull it out with your hands or pliers.
Sounds easy enough but there are a few caveats:
- You need a sturdy enough wall to bare all the hitting with a shoe. This probably won’t work in a hotel where you’ll most likely get complaints from your neighbors or damage the wall. This most likely will work only outside or in a garage where brick or concrete walls are available (wouldn’t try this on drywall).
- You’ll need to keep hitting accurately and long enough. This is a long and tedious process. The force of a hit has to go at a 90-degree angle to through the heel and the bottle. The more accurate the hits, the more likely you are to succeed. Not every shoe will work for this.
- You’ll have to finish off the uncorking with some tool anyway – you don’t have forever to keep banging on.
So while this trick sounds cool in theory, in practice it’s a desperation move you can turn to if all else fails.
How to Open a Bottle of Wine with a Tree
This method of uncorking uses the same technique as the shoe trick. Surprisingly, it’s more effective. Here’s how it goes:
- Wrap the bottle in a towel.
- Find a big and sturdy tree.
- Bang the bottle at the tree, holding the bottle wrapped in a towel with your both hands. Be careful not to break the bottle.
- Keep banging as the cork starts moving.
- Get enough of the cork out so you can pull it out with your hands.
Why is this better than the shoe and wall method?
- If you’re outside on a picnic, it’s easier to find a sturdy tree than a wall.
- Tree bark softens the blow and you don’t need to find a shoe that would fit for this.
- Not having to balance the shoe and the bottle at the same time makes hitting accurately easier.
So, just keep on banging until it pops.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Flip Flop
This one is for the show rather than being practical. So you’re on the beach and you have a bottle of fine wine you want to enjoy. Alas, you left the corkscrew home. What do you do if the only thing remotely close to a tool is your flip flops?
- Find the nearest palm tree.
- Put the base of the bottle into a flip flop.
- Bang the bottle with the flip flop at the tree until the cork moves out.
The flip flop is really necessary only if the tree bark is too hard. Otherwise, you’ll get the same result if you just bang the bottle at a tree. Whether you succeed depends on how well the bottle is sealed and how moist the cork is.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with Cork Moist
Following the topic of a dry cork, what’s the ideal way to remove it from the bottle? Get it moist while opening the bottle:
- Soak a towel in a bowl of boiling water.
- Pull some of the cork from the bottle with a corkscrew or another method.
- Put the towel over the cork and let it soak for a bit.
This will get the moisture to the cork and it will be easier to pull it out without breaking it.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with Your Mouth
I’m not sure this is humanly possible, but there are recorded instances of people trying to get it out with their mouths.
I think, if you can get enough of the cork out so you can bite on it with your teeth (and you have strong teeth, to begin with), it’s a plausible method to try.
How to Cut Glass with String
I’m not suggesting this method to actually open the bottle (even though it seems possible). But it’s a neat and easy way to cut glass with limited resources for when you’ve already opened (and emptied) the bottle.
The method makes use of simple physics – the sudden change in temperature breaks glass.
What you need:
- Permeable string
- Iced water
- A file
Here’s the process:
- Tie the string to the bottle where you want to cut it.
- Pour the alcohol on the string and clean the bottle where it got wet.
- Light the soaked string.
- Keep turning the bottle as the string burns.
- When the fire is about to go out, put it into the bowl with iced water.
- This will break the bottle in half making a nice cut.
- Use a file to even out the edges. Be careful – it cuts easily! Use all precautions.
Use this trick for things like:
- Creating wine bottle art
- Making mosaics
- Making bottle vases
How to Fix Dried Out Wine Corks
The problem with most wine bottles when you’re having difficulty opening them is a dried out cork. This is especially evident when you’re trying to open it without a corkscrew. If it’s dry, it breaks easily, and it’s that much harder to get it out.
So why does this happen and what do you do to solve the problem? Corks dry out because wine is not stored properly. What’s the proper way? Storing the bottles on their side. We’ve made the mistake of storing wine simply standing in our home for far too long.
It’s dry – now what?
- Put the bottle on the side and let the cork soak in for 24 hours.
- Store your wine in a humid environment (ideally 70%).
How to Store Wine After Opening without a Cork
So you’ve opened the bottle but you haven’t consumed it all. If the cork is intact, it’s pretty straightforward to insert it back. But what if it got damaged in the process?
Why is this important? One word – oxygen. It’s both, a friend and enemy to the wine. While the initial exposure to oxygen (when you first open the bottle) improves the taste, leave wine out in the open longer and it gets ruined.
Here are a few ways to keep the wine longer:
- Transfer it into a sealable container. It loses in style but keeps fresh longer.
- Use a wine stopper.
- Put it in a fridge. It’s not a big saver, but it will still be good tomorrow.
- The above methods will keep your wine fresh for a couple of days at most. If you want to keep it fresh longer, invest in a vacuum seal gadget. This will keep it fresh for a couple of weeks.
- The ultimate wine saver is the air pump opener (The Coravin) which pierces the cork with a needle, pulls out only as much wine as you need, and replaces it with inert gas, thus keeping it sealed as if you’ve never opened it.
How to Recork a Wine Bottle
This is a method to recork and reseal a wine bottle if you have to do it. It goes as far as showing you how to put the foil covers on the bottles.
Inserting the cork itself is the easy part as it requires to simply force it in. Then, refer to the video to see how to close the foil cover for the complete process.
The bottle turns out as new (as you’ve never opened it in the first place).
How to Get a Cork Out of a Wine Bottle
Have you used one of the methods that push the cork to the inside of the bottle? This method will help you get it out from the empty bottle using a simple plastic bag.
- Roll up a plastic bag so you can insert it into the bottle, leaving the opening outside.
- After inserting the bag, turn the bottle over so the cork falls down into the bag.
- Blow into the bag through the opening so it wraps around the cork better.
- Pull the bag together with the cork out.
This method may take a few tries but it’s fairly doable. Best of all, you will easily get the times needed for this trick.
How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Napkin
You won’t open a bottle with a napkin. But you can fish out a cork from an empty bottle if you’ve used the pen or chopstick trick to push it in.
Just insert the napkin into the bottle, get the cork tangled in, and pull it all out.
Other Wine Opener Solutions
These are some cool gadgets and fun stuff that I’ve found while researching the topic. They don’t really fit any other category but are sure fun to know.
Needle Wine Opener
Uncorking tricks aside, you may not have to do it at all. I’ve found this cool needle wine opener which leaves the cork in place and allows you to pour out the wine.
This makes saving wine for later so much easier and longer. The video shows it all.
Air Pump Wine Opener
Another neat alternative to a corkscrew is this air pump opener device. It uses air pressure to easily pump out the cork. The idea is the same as using a bike pump hack, only it’s much safer and it’s a proper opener.
Watch how it works. I definitely want one!
Fun One: How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Toilet
This is actually a joke. You won’t open a wine bottle with a toilet. I’ve found this video during my research, and it’s just hilarious. Don’t try this at home.