3 Ways to Use a Corkscrew - wikiHow

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26-12-2022, 07:10
Don’t let a simple cork stand between you and a bottle of wine! There are several types of corkscrews, but most are relatively easy to use. The basic technique is to screw a metal spiral into the bottle's cork, then pull it outwards. Wine keys and winged corkscrews take the least amount of effort, but simple corkscrews or travel varieties can also be used in a pinch. Just remember to work gently, and you’ll be pouring in no time!

Using a Wine Key

  1. Open the wine key. This type of tool has a couple of parts. You will see a long, metal spiral, called the “worm” and a flatter portion that serves as a lever when opening a bottle of wine. Depending on the model, your wine key may also have a short blade with you can use to cut through foil if a cork is covered in it.
    • The spiral and lever parts will be folded into the wine key handle. Unfold them and your key is ready to use.
  2. Twist the worm into the cork. Poke the sharp tip of the worm slightly outside the center of the cork. Gently twist it clockwise until only one spiral of the worm shows. Usually, this will take about six and a half turns.
    • Use the blade or the tip of the worm to cut away foil from the cork first, if necessary.
  3. Place the lever against the bottle. The flat lever on the wine key will have two curved indentations on its sides. Position the lever so that these fit against the lip of the glass bottle, next to the cork. This will provide leverage to help you extract the cork.
  4. Rock and twist the cork to remove it. Use gentle side to side motions while pulling up on the handle of the wine key. You can pivot your hand on the lever portion of the wine key if you need more support as you pull. Remove the cork and enjoy!
    • Use your other hand to hold the bottle in place as you pull the cork out.
    • Take your time. If you try to force the cork out, it may break before it is fully removed.
    • Remember to unscrew the cork from the worm, then fold your wine key closed and put it away when you are done.

Using a Winged Corkscrew

  1. Lower the corkscrew’s levers. This type of corkscrew will have two long levers (the “wings”) positioned on the sides of a center ring. Inside the ring there will be a long metal spiral (the “worm”), controlled by a tab at the top that can be twisted. Start by lowering the wings toward the center ring. The worm should rise simultaneously.
  2. Place the center ring over the cork. The center ring will be just a little wider than the opening of a standard wine bottle, so it should fit easily. The wings should stay down.
    • If the opening of your wine bottle is covered in foil, remove this first.
  3. Turn the center tab clockwise. The sharp tip of the worm will pierce the cork. As you turn the tab, the worm will continue to wind its way into the cork. Keep turning gently until the wings are raised all the way up toward the tab.
  4. Fold the levers back down. Grasp the levers with one or both hands and gently lower them back towards the sides of the corkscrew and the bottle. As you push them down, the cork will start to come out like magic! If the cork doesn’t come quite all the way out, gently twist and rock it side to side until it is fully removed. Enjoy your wine!
    • Use your free hand to hold the bottle in place if you have to pull the cork out at all.
    • Don’t forget to to unscrew the cork from the worm before putting your corkscrew away.

Using a Simple Corkscrew

  1. Open the corkscrew, if necessary. The simplest corkscrews are “t” shaped, just a spiral metal “worm” with a handle attached at the top. Travel corkscrews, however have two parts: a worm with a plastic handle, capped by a sheath that narrows at one end. The sheath will pull away or unscrew to reveal the worm.
    • The handles of some simple corkscrews will fold down against the worm. If yours is like this, just raise them upwards until the tool resembles a “t” shape.
  2. Slip the sheath into the handle if you are using a travel corkscrew. The plastic handle at the top of the worm should have a hole it it that is about the diameter of the handle. Slide the narrow end of the sheath into this hole, stopping when it no longer slides easily. The corkscrew should now be a “t” shape.
  3. Screw the worm into the cork. Position the sharp tip of the worm just outside the center of the cork and gently twist it clockwise. Keep screwing it in until only the last turn of the worm sticks out of the cork.
  4. Pull the cork out. Grasp the “t” shaped handle, and slowly pull upwards to remove the cork. Gently pull, twist, and rock the cork from side to side until it comes all the way out. Then start pouring!
    • Take your free hand and hold the bottle at the neck as you pull the cork out.
    • Unscrew the cork from the worm after removing it.
    • Remove the sheath from the hole and place it back over the worm when you are done if you are using a travel corkscrew.


  • Most Swiss army knives have a corkscrew on them. Get one and always be able to get your drink on.
  • Run hot water over the top of the wine bottle for 30 seconds to loose a stubborn cork.
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