Have you ever had a guest who was generous enough to bring a bottle of wine after you’ve only casually invited them to dinner, without actually meaning to? It is a nice gesture which should always be returned with a gentle toast, but sometimes things get awkward when you lose all of your bottle openers. This is why it is important to know how to open a bottle of wine without a bottle opener.
Not only will this impress your guests, but it will also make you handier in other situations, like an office party or a picnic with your significant other. While having a bottle opener always makes your life easier, going by without it is just as fine, more or less the amount of mess you are about to create.
How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Bottle Opener?
Before gathering up your rusty tools from the garden shed, or wherever you may have stored and forgotten them, make sure to check and see if the aluminum foil or paper or whatever it is covering the top portion of the bottle is removed and clean. Note the kind of wine you have, when was it made and other nifty information that you can use for small talk and what-not.
It is also best to keep your wines inside the wine cooler first so that it will be ready for consumption once you figure out which method you would use to open it.
1. Unscrew It
The main reason why removing the covering first is important is so that you can check what kind of device was used to seal the wine. Some winemakers now offer wine bottles that have a screw-on top that allows you to enjoy their fine wine without having to use anything but your muscles.
This screw-on top option makes their wine more accessible and easy-to-open, which some wine enthusiasts appreciate, especially if they are in too much of a hurry to both with corkscrews and what not. This is unorthodox for some, and a few find it repulsive, but it is a great idea and a great alternative for enjoying wine without the hassle.
2. Push It In
Moving onwards to cork-based stopping solutions, we first find this unusual method of pushing the cork into the bottle instead of pulling it out. Another unconventional method, yes, and not without its own set of dangers. Here are the steps on how to do it right:
Step 1: Set the bottle of wine on a shoe, slipper or anything padded that you place against the floor or a wall.
Step 2: Look for an object that is not easy to break and can withstand an exterior force placed upon it. This object should ideally be narrower than the cork, and longer too. It shouldn’t be sharp nor should it be something that can cause the bottle to break.
Step 3: Place your object against the cork, make sure that it has a large-ish flat surface that can make contact with the cork.
Step 4: Grip the broader sides of the bottle, as well as the sides of the object.
Step 5: Start pushing the cork in with strong and steady pressure. You can also try to tap the bottle on the table, the ground, or even the wall. Just make sure that you have suitable padding at the bottom of the bottle to prevent it from breaking.
A couple of dangers that can be caused by using this method include the bottle breaking as you tap it and wine spilling all over you and your guests when tapping against a wall.
3. Screw It
A corkscrew is a screw by all definitions and by how it functions. So technically, applying any old screw to the cork also makes it a corkscrew. Below are the steps on how to do it properly:
Step 1: Get a screw hook and insert it all the way into the cork.
Step 2: Get a wooden spoon with a slotted handle and place it on the hook. This gives you a stick lying perpendicular to your bottle.
Step 3: Grab the broader section of the bottle and the spoon section of the spoon.
Step 4: Twist the bottle and the wooden spoon in opposite directions while steadily pulling up on the handle.
4. Spoon It
Using the same wooden spoon from the previous section, you can also use it on its own even without the screw hook. It is a little more difficult, but it does pay off in the end. Follow these steps, and you’re good to go:
Step 1: Align the wooden handle with the cork and then gently push in, just like in method #2. If you don’t like pushing the cork into the wine, then try using the flat side of the handle to tease the cork out slowly.
Step 2: Get a wooden spoon and then place the tip on the cork and gently apply pressure while using the wooden spoon like a crowbar.
Step 3: Rotate the bottle when you see the cork rise a bit.
Step 4: Repeat until you have uncorked the bottle.
5. MacGyver It
If you’re a TV fan during the 80’s, then you would understand the allusion but basically, its all about getting creative with what you have. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Get a long screw, a screwdriver, and a trusty hammer, not Mjolnir mind you.
Step 2: Screw the long screw in using a screwdriver but leave about an inch out.
Step 3: Using the crow part of the hammer, pull the screw out like you would a nail on a floorboard.
Step 4: Keep the bottle steady by wrapping it with a towel as you pull the screw out.
6. Pump It
If you are a bicycle lover, then you’re going to like this one. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Get your wine bottle and let it meet the bike pump.
Step 2: Insert the bike pump, using a pump pin for basketballs, down one side of the cork.
Step 3: Pump the air pump slowly at first until you see the cork emerge.
Step 4: You may pump it vigorously but make sure someone else is holding the bottle to make it more stable.
Step 5: You can also opt to use a pair of pliers to take the cork out once it has popped out more than halfway.
7. Power It
What’s more manly than using power tools to do everyday stuff, from using an electric drill to stir up some sauce to using a nail gun to pierce ears and hold criminals at bay. Replace the screwdriver from Method #5 with a power drill and then use it as the lever to pull the cork out.
8. Knife It
A dangerous way of uncorking a bottle of wine, make sure to practice caution when using this method as many have had lacerations while attempting to do this. There is also the danger of the bottle breaking if not done properly. Read the instructions below.
Step 1: Get a knife with a narrow blade, narrow enough to be smaller than the cork.
Step 2: Use the tip to pry the corkscrew out gently.
Step 3: Rotate the bottle once you feel the leverage becoming lose.
Step 4: Wrap a towel around the wine bottle or use your legs to secure the wine bottle.
9. Hang It
This method uses a wire coat hanger and nothing else. This is probably the easiest method too. Check out these simple steps:
Step 1: Grab a cheap wire coat hanger from your dresser and unravel the knot. If you don’t have a wire hanger, then you can try looking for a small length of GI wire about 1/8-inch thick.
Step 2: Straighten the hanger.
Step 3: Using a pair of pliers, form a hook on one end of the wire.
Step 4: Tilt the bottle of wine a little and start inserting the wire, hook first, into the bottle.
Step 5: Push it in about two inches and then rotate the wire so that the hook can catch the bottom of the cork.
Step 6: Pull out the wire slowly, moving it back and forth for better leverage.
10. Mull It
Ever heard of mulled wine? It’s wine that has been enhanced with its fair share of spices that livens the spirit up of any warrior stuck in an inn during the dead of winter. You can try to taste it too, although it can be an acquired taste. Here are some easy-to-do steps:
Step 1: Get a kettle or a deep pan and fill it halfway with water.
Step 2: Heat it up until it is boiling.
Step 3: Take it out of the heat and then put your wine bottle in.
Step 4: The cork will move on its own accord.
Step 5: Once opened, empty the pan of the water and dump your wine in.
Step 6: Heat it in low fire and then add spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to enhance the taste. Serve warm.
Bonus Tip: The Saber Method
This method works mostly for champagne and sparkling wine. Sabrage, as it is called, is also the most dangerous as it involves an actual saber or sword and some bits of the bottle flying off. Again, this should only be done with proper caution and with the right equipment. Most importantly, unless you have mastered it, do not use this to show off to your date. Follow these steps religiously:
Step 1: Hold the bottle firmly with one hand, while holding the saber on the other.
Step 2: Make sure to point the bottle away from people and expensive stuff.
Step 3: In one upwards sweeping motion, apply a sharp blow on one seam of the bottle.
Step 4: This would send the cork out as projectile, as well as the top section of the bottle.
Step 5: Inspect the bottle for any sharp edges and make sure to clean the broken tip.
Knowing how to open a bottle of wine without a bottle opener takes a lot of practice, creativity and sheer will to be successful, just like most things in life. Do not overthink about not having the right tool for this task and that, just sit down and look at what you can use and focus.