Unless you’re practiced, getting a cork out of a wine bottle can be hard. Does the type of opener make a difference? We asked Kevin Zraly, an award-winning wine expert and the author of Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, to test five models.
Pros: “Holding the bottle and the corkscrew is comfortable. This is easy and efficient. I push ‘Remove’ and it stops when the cork comes out. Pushing ‘Eject’ removes the cork from the screw. This is good for a banquet. I know servers who’ve gotten carpal tunnel.”
Cons: “This has to be charged. The foil cutter is separate and designed to remove foil the French way [at the upper lip]. I like to remove it the Kevin way [below the lip, ensuring no foil touches the wine]. You turn the bottle with this cutter. I wouldn’t use it on a wine that has sediment.”
Pros: “The size is convenient for travel. The foil cutter is very sharp.”
Cons: “The short screw is too small. This won’t work on a really good bottle. Plus, watch what I gotta do [he squeezes the bottle between his legs to stabilize it]. No good for an older person. I’m afraid to do it. [To his assistant:] You wanna try?”
Bonus: Screw Cap (no cork, no screw)
Pro: “Screw it off. Nothing to it. There are $50 wines with screw caps. Top restaurants serve them. They eliminate the problem of a cork going bad. I recently opened a Puligny-Montrachet. The cork smelled like wet cardboard.”
Con: “When you’re presented with a bottle at a restaurant, they say, ‘Here’s the cork.’ If they hand you the screw cap, don’t sniff it.”