Cork removal from a bottle is NOT brain surgery

Cork Removal

Filling the heartiest among us with fear, when we’re on stage…

I’ll never forget the image of a brain surgeon fumbling with a wine cork, trying to get it out of the bottle. I thought to myself, “Really?” Then I thought, “I hope you’re better at your own craft…”

Why is pulling out a cork so darn intimidating?

Perhaps it’s because very few of us in our American culture were raised on wine, so we don’t know how darned easy it is.

As we’re on stage when it’s our turn to remove the cork, our palms begin to sweat as we begin to insert the cork screw’s sharp, little point. Moisture begins to gather around our hair line, as we turn the cork screw in a clockwise motion. Then, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen next. Will we get it out, as the cork screw descends further into the bottle? Again, it’s anyone’s guess…

Well, that used to be the case for me. Once I began to work in winery tasting rooms, and that cork had to come out (because people were standing before me eager to taste the wine I was about to pour), I learned how to do it so quickly and smoothly that I surprised even myself.

Here’s how you, too, can look like you’ve opened enough corks to fill that wine barrel table you’ve created that’s full of corks, and has a glass top covering your masterpiece, so everyone can gather round and ogle at what you’ve done.

1. Securely grab your cork screw in one hand and your bottle of wine in the other.

2. Use absolute straight down aiming at that tiny cork (you’re so much bigger than that cork, so you’ve got to win this battle, and you will).

3. In the absolute dead center of the cork, insert the cork screw tip in a straight downward motion. (Don’t angle this procedure, as that’s the REAL trick in all of this… straight down.)

4. As the cork screw enters the cork, use a bit of pressure to make sure that the cork screw and cork are united in harmony.

5. Without any angling of what you’re doing, begin to twist the cork screw while simultaneously pressing downward, until all the “screw” part of it is inserted into the cork.

6. With a smooth, gentle force (you don’t want any splashing onto what you’re wearing), pull the cork straight out of the bottle. It’s all in the wrist pulling in an upward motion, too.

This is guaranteed to make you look like a pro, and may the sweat never bead up on your forehead, again. (Three) Cheers!

And, welcome to Removing the Cork 102, where many producers are switching to screw caps!

3 Responses to “Cork removal from a bottle is NOT brain surgery”

  1. […] post Cork removal from a bottle is NOT brain surgery appeared first on Wine […]

  2. Patrick says:

    Nice post which de-mystifies. Always a good thing. Here’s my 2 cents worth: When you get the tip of the auger into the cork, grasp the top of the bottle and the bare auger in one hand. Another way to say it is to wrap your free hand around the twisted auger as you also grip the top of the bottle. Then you can screw the auger into the cork easily, because you are also screwing into your hand, while it holds the auger straight. I sure hope this makes sense. Works for me 100%.

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    I think I do… I just get it in and go straight down, once it’s penetrated the cork.

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