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Field Guide: Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew

  • Jason Wire


Welcome to Kempt's Field Guide, in which our resident MacGyver and in-house shuffleboard pro, Jason Wire, offers practical solutions to all life's gentlemanly quandaries.

Every night, the same dream.

It’s early evening. Your home is filling with friends. You’ve just taken the Duke of Windsor’s jacket and offered him a glass of pinot when you realize: there’s not a corkscrew, wine key or crazily complicated robotic wine opener in sight.

What do you do? In real life, you keep calm, draw on your knowledge of physics and carry on. And give this list a read, just as a refresher. (In the dream, you... well, keep that to yourself.)

Allow us to present the Kempt Field Guide to Winning Everything, Vol. 1: Opening a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew.

#1: The Toolbox Method

The materials: A thick screw and a pair of pliers. Will there be many instances in life where you don’t have a corkscrew but do have a toolbox? Surprisingly, yes.

The how-to: Screw the, uh, screw into the cork. Then, carefully use the pliers to twist the cork out of the bottle.

Alternatively: This works just as well with a serrated knife—just insert, twist vigorously and then pop that sucker out when it’s protruded enough.

#2: The Shoe Method

The materials: One shoe and a sturdy surface, such as a wall or a maple tree.

The how-to: Place the bottle upright in your shoe. Then, while holding both the bottle and shoe simultaneously, pound the bottom of the shoe (and thus, the bottom of the bottle) against the wall. After a few strikes, the cork will rise, allowing you to pull it out with your hands.

Alternatively: If you don’t have any shoes, you can use a phone book, or wrap the bottom of the bottle in a towel.

If that’s slightly confusing, here’s a visual demonstration, courtesy of a certifiably French guy.

#3: The Red Thumb Method

The materials: One opposable thumb; brute strength.

The how-to: Place your thumb atop the cork; then, with all your might, push that cork deep into the neck of the bottle until it pops into the larger chamber. Voila: you may now proceed to pour the wine. The cork may still interfere slightly with the pouring, but hey, you just He-Manned your way into an elegant evening of wining and dining.

Alternatively: None, really. Unless you’re particularly dexterous with your big toe...