How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew?

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By: Tom Valenti


Opening a bottle of wine should be a pleasurable experience, but without the right tools, it can quickly become anything but. So, have you ever wondered how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew? 

Believe it or not, there are many ways to open that bottle without a corkscrew! Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to use alternative methods and tools at hand, like your hammer, key, scissor, or even a shoe. We’ll show you clever ways to get into wines with minimal effort so next time you find yourself sans corkscrew.


Use a Screw, a Screwdriver, and a Hammer

Use a Screw a Screwdriver  and a Hammer

This classic technique is a great way to get into your wine without a corkscrew. First, find a long screw that fits snugly in the cork. Next, use the hammer and screwdriver to drive the screw into the cork until it’s halfway in. Once you have some of the metal embedded, use your hands to pull out the rest of the screw and cork together.

Although it may be a bit difficult because it demands strength and make you feel exhausted, this is a great and safe way to get into your wine without any special tools.

Use a Knife and Leverage

This is another way to get into your wine without a corkscrew if you have a sharp knife. First, use the back part of the blade (not the sharp tip) to pry open the top of the cork carefully. Then, slide the blade all around between the glass and cork, so there’s room for air to enter. Finally, use leverage in combination with a spoon or fork handle as an aid to pull out what’s left of it.

Use a Hanger

This is a creative way to open a bottle without a corkscrew. First, use pliers to unbend the hanger into one long piece of wire. Next, make a loop at one end of the wire and attach it to either side of the cork – much like you would with an actual corkscrew. Then, tie the other end of the wire around something sturdy, like a doorknob or table leg. Finally, pull on both sides of the string until the cork is pulled from the bottle. 

Use a Key (a Serrated Knife)

Insert the keys or a serrated knife into the cork at a 45-degree angle and twist it in a circular motion. After several rotations, the cork should come out. Be sure to get the item deeply into the cork as otherwise, the cork may break apart.

Use a Scissor

This is an easy way to open a bottle with only common household items. Carefully insert one blade of the scissors into the middle of the cork and gently twist the handles while pulling upward until the cork comes out. Be sure to take caution when doing this, so you don’t hurt yourself.

Use Tweezers

If you have a pair of tweezers handy, they could be useful too. Insert them into the cork and pull up firmly until the cork comes out. Be sure to use enough force, but be careful not to tear the cork apart.

Use a Towel

This is one of the easiest methods to open a bottle without a corkscrew. Simply wrap a towel around the neck of the bottle and hold it securely with both hands. Then, slam the bottom of the bottle against something solid like a wall or table until you hear a “pop”! The cork should now be loose enough for you to pull out easily.

Use a Shoe

This is an old-fashioned way of opening a bottle without a corkscrew. Place the bottle in your shoe (make sure it’s a sturdy one) and then whack the heel of the shoe against a wall or table until you hear a “pop”! Then, carefully remove the cork from the bottle. 

Pump the Cork Up and Out

If you have a bicycle pump, this is an ingenious way to open your wine without a corkscrew. Insert the mouth of the pump into the neck of the bottle and start pumping until you feel resistance – this will help push the cork out of the bottle. Once you’ve done that, you can hear the sound of a cork popping out of your favorite wine, like using a corkscrew.

Apply Heat

This unconventional method can be a lifesaver if you don’t have the right tools on hand. Using a blowtorch or lighter, carefully heat the neck of the wine bottle just below the cork. The heat will cause the cork to move up and eventually come out of the bottle. Make sure that your bottle is not cold because rapid temperature changes could cause it to explode. If your wine is refrigerated, let it sit in normal conditions for some time before applying heat.

Use a String

Grab a screwdriver and carefully create a hole through the cork – it may take some effort. Once completed, tie one end of the string into a knot and push it through the cork with the screwdriver. When it reaches the other side of the cork, simply pull, and it should come out without an issue. 

You may find that pieces of cork crumble whilst pulling it out, which isn’t ideal for your glass of wine. To avoid this, strain the wine and pour it into a decanter until you’re ready to enjoy it. 

Final Words

Opening a bottle without a corkscrew isn’t as hard as it seems. With the right tools and methods, you can quickly open your favorite bottle of wine even if you don’t have the traditional tool!

Now that you know how to open a bottle without a corkscrew, you won’t be caught out in an emergency again.  So next time when you find yourself with no corkscrew at hand, just remember these few easy steps, and you’ll be sipping your favorite wine in no time.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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