How to Open a Wine Bottle With a "waiter's Key"





Introduction: How to Open a Wine Bottle With a "waiter's Key"

About: I work on engineering and construction projects for a living and I design and build stuff (everything from jewelry to major home renovations and things in between) for fun. I watch a lot of movies, I love re...

Despite my fondness for gadgets and machines I've just never gotten around to buying one of the more complicated corkscrews. I generally make do with your standard issue "waiter's key" corkscrew that you can get for a couple of dollars at most stores. My innner gadget-snob might weep except that this also happens to be what most wine lovers consider to be a real corkscrew and being able to handle one efficiently will go quite a ways towards making you look  like more of a wine aficionado.

It never ceases to surprises me how many folks don't quite appreciate what a neat and clever tool this is. Maybe it's the simple design or how it looks against the veritable torture chamber of cork removal tools out there but I figured I'd take a shot at explaining how to go about using it for your standard issue cork removal needs.

Step 1: Remove Foil From Cork

I'll admit that I don't always use this part, but it's useful to have. This little blade is great for cutting off the foil that covers the cork and with enough practice you can cut the whole thing off with one circular motion that looks pretty slick.

Step 2: Insert Corkscrew

This part is pretty straightforward. You screw the worm into the cork, usually most of the way in and near the center but not exactly centered.

Step 3: The Really Cool Part.

There are countless fancy (and expensive) corkscrews that do all kind of neat things in order to pull the cork, but I love how simple the process can be. All you need is this notched foot that can perch on the edge of the bottle.

Once you have the corkscrew setup like the first photo shows, all you do is pull up on the opposite end and the cork comes out fairly easily.

Step 4: Voila

You now have an uncorked bottle of wine ready to be enjoyed and a cork that can be reused as needed.



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    nice, I bought one at the dollar store & works great. I do have to screw it all the way for it to work though.

    you dont have to screw it all the way in. leave a few coils exposed. its easier to use that way

    Better method:
    - cut a hole in the foil before cutting it
    - don't remove completely the foil
    - insert the cork in the hole

    4 replies

    That might work in some situations, but I'd be worried about losing foil into the bottle on subsequent openings/closings. Honestly I've had pretty good luck just pushing the cork back in on the few bottles that we don't finish off in one sitting/evening.

    dont finish in one sitting?

    A bottle of wine is only like about 4 glasses, i can finish that by myself.

    Unless your talking about the finer quality wine that is larger, like boxed wine, i cant finish those in one sitting.

    Finer quality boxed wine?

    It's a head-waiter method: bottles are not recorked at restaurant !
    At home, before recorking the bottle, you striff the foil off.

    Not sure where I learned this or if it's even really helpful (though I think it is).

    After screwing in the worm (thanks for the anatomy lesson, btw), I hit the top of the tool straight down just hard enough to dislodge the cork a bit.  I know this is potentially pushing the cork into the bottle instead of out, but it seems that the cork usually comes out easier after popping it once on the head than when I don't do this.  I haven't paid attention to see if there's a difference between real cork and the new rubber corks. 

    We have the fancy Rabbit but sometimes it's fun to make sure I can still do it the traditional way.  Besides, I need to be able to use the simple tool when camping or picnicking.

    In case it isn't obvious, in step 3 it helps to hold a clenched fist around the neck of the bottle and the notched foot together.  These keeps the foot from slipping off the edge of the bottleneck. 

    Also, I found that using the foil cutter, if I hold the blade at slightly less than 90* to the bottle neck, the foil peels/lifts upward as I cut.  If I hold it at a 90*, the foil stays in place, just with a slice in it, and sometimes it takes me a few second picking at it to get it off.  :P


    The coolest way to remove the foil is to just rip it off from the bottom to the top, so it stays intact. Grab the whole bottle neck in your fist and slide the foil off. Needs some verve.

    Handy and useful.  Thanks!