Home Articles First Time Opening A Bottle Of Wine? Tips And Tricks

First Time Opening A Bottle Of Wine? Tips And Tricks


This may sound like a silly article to read as it is something that everyone is expected to know. How to uncork wine?  This isn’t something that is ever taught at school and unless your parents were wine sommeliers, it is unlikely to have been a skill that you have just picked up in your life.

Opening wine is one of those things that you build up in your head as being extremely difficult, but it really isn’t. The first couple of bottles will require you to get your technique nailed but after that, it will be plain sailing. Just be sure to be careful with the cork and all will be well.

Selecting your bottle

Depending on the event that you are opening your wine at, you may have all sorts of different obstacles when opening a bottle of wine. You will be glad to know that if it is a new bottle off the supermarket shelf or a low-mid price wine from a restaurant then all you will really need to do is get that pesky cork out. If this is where you are then read on below and discover the technique behind opening a bottle of wine. If you are truly lucky, the wine will be a screw top.

Faith Based Events

If you have an older bottle of wine or a more expensive bottle of wine (these things usually go hand in hand), then there is a little bit more complication. The older the cork, the more fragile it will be. As well as this, if it hasn’t been stored properly, then it may have dried out. Both of these problems may result in a snapped cork in the wine bottle. The very worst thing that can happen is the cork may begin to crack into the wine. Nobody wants a piece of cork in their delicious Bordeaux.

Storage: Up or down?

Equally, it is just as important if the wine has been stored standing up or lying down. As wine ages, it begins to throw sediment. Whilst this sounds awful, it is actually a good sign that the wine is aging nicely. It does not affect the taste but again, when enjoying a wine nobody wants to get a mouthful of grit. If the wine has been left on its side, then it will need some time standing up to allow the sediment to drift to the bottom.

There are multiple ways to deal with the sediment. If the wine has been stood vertically, then you can pour away and only need to stop near the bottom of the bottle. If you need to have all of the wine, then you can purchase a strainer, but this will only be for your home use. If it has been stored horizontally, you can always decant the wine as much as you can until you reach the sediment and then leave the rest in the bottle.

The tools

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools out there to help you get into that delicious bottle of wine. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages but depending on the wine bottle and cork, it can alter which tool you use. Everything from your regular wine bottle openers, the AH-SO wine opener, the waiter’s friend, or even the Durand can all be used.

The Basics

Regular wine bottle openers: These are perhaps the tools that most people are familiar with. A corkscrew pull that you can twist into the cork and then use the arms to lift out the cork. This will be suitable for most households and basic wines. It is strong and efficient, however, you run the risk here of splitting the cork or even worse breaking the bottom of it. All this will do is ensure that you get an extra bit of cork in your wine. This opener is probably not suitable for more premium wines.

Waiter’s Friend: As it says in the name, many a waiter will have this as part of their uniform because it is an essential piece of kit. Similar to a swiss-army knife of the hospitality world, a waiter’s friend is a compact tool, with a corkscrew, a knife to remove the foil of a wine bottle, and a bottle cap opener all that you can fit in your pocket while you zoom around work. Again, these are suitable for a regular bottle of wine but runs the risk of breaking the cork if used incorrectly or on an older cork.


AH-SO: The AH-SO wine opener is a small handy tool that was invented to prevent the breaking of the cork. This tool is essential when dealing with older or more premium bottles of wine. This tool instead of having a corkscrew has two prongs that slide in-between the cork and the bottle. This means that the cork is never penetrated and as such has less chance of breaking. All it takes a little wiggle until the cork is snug and then the old twist and pull. While there will always be the pesky cork that resists, few will stand against this premium opener.

Durand: This is a relatively new invention in the wine world. It combines all of the above tools, to ensure that no wine is off-limits. It has the prongs of the AH-SO and the corkscrew of the more basic openers to create the best of both worlds. The corkscrew goes into the cork and is then combined with the prongs to ensure that the cork doesn’t split. It has been really well received in the wine world and may supplant all others. Of course, a premium product like this comes with a premium cost so that is something to be aware of.