How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew

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Alberto Bogo/Stocksy

We’ve all been there. What was supposed to be a picnic at the park filled with your favorite cheese and wine pairings comes to a screeching halt when you realize you’ve forgotten one very important detail: a corkscrew. A wine connoisseur, however, is always prepared, and luckily for wine lovers everywhere, opening a bottle without a corkscrew on hand isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems. There are plenty of everyday tools you can use to dislodge a cork just as easily as with a corkscrew. Not only is it a great party trick, but it can be the saving grace of your next celebration. Whether you’re stranded on a rooftop or in a poorly stocked kitchen, read on for five ways to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew.

1. The Ignition Method

You may not have a corkscrew on your person at all times, but not having your car keys is a much rarer (and more serious) predicament. Simply insert your key into the corkscrew at a 45-degree angle, and then twist the key in a circular motion while pulling upward. The cork should naturally dislodge.

2. The Tool Kit Method

This method takes the corkscrew back to basics using tools you likely have sitting in your garage. Make it work by twisting a long screw into the cork, ideally using a screwdriver. Leverage the back of a hammerhead to pull the screw (and the cork) out cleanly.

3. The Ballet Flat Method

Everything you need to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew may already be on your person. Simply grab a hard-soled shoe, brace the bottle upside down between your knees, and pound the bottle from the bottom using the sole of the shoe. The cork should naturally edge out, at which point you can grip it by the hand and remove it.

4. The Heat Method

If you’re not worried about compromising a particularly high-quality bottle of wine, this method may prove to be your favorite new science experiment. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and, keeping the bottle upright, set it in the water. As the temperature changes and the pressure builds, the cork will start to ease out on its own. Of course, your next step may be to grab some spices and make mulled wine.

5. The Button Method

Simply pressing the cork inward like a button might be the oldest trick in the book, and if you don’t mind submerging the cork in the wine, it can also be one of the most effective. To make the task a bit easier, use the handle of a wooden spoon, and press directly downward, forcing the cork into the bottle.

Now that you know how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, it’s time to celebrate the fruits of your labor (and possibly consider a twist-off cap for next time). Salud!

Up next, keep reading for five sommelier-approved fall wines to try this season.

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