What's your favorite wine-opening tool?

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Postby karenann8sons » Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:56 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:
karenann8sons wrote:I agree with Cynthia and while I sit here sipping my Cotes du Rhone, I am feeling very relaxed at contemplative at the end of the day ~

Karen


Hi Karennodaughters.


Hi Winegeekbob,

Just out of idle curiousity, (asking everyone here) what is your favorite tool to remove a cork? I have 4 - a Cork Puller with prongs on either side of the cork, a cheapie tht is called a waiter's corkscrew, a weird one with wings that extend up as you twist down into the cork and a travel corkscrew that isn't worth the metal and plastic it took to make it.

I can't say that I love any of them. Still looking for the ultimate in wine opening tools - but gold plated screwtop removers... Wow! Gotta smile at that thought of that ~ But you just know some poor shmoe is going to get one if only for the novelty...

Karen
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Postby Robin Garr » Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:58 pm

karenann8sons wrote:Just out of idle curiousity, (asking everyone here) what is your favorite tool to remove a cork?


Edited: Karen, I like 'em all. I'm not a corkscrew collector in the sense that I don't seek out and collect antiques, but I must have about 30 of 'em around here. For everyday use, I still like nothing better than a sturdy example of the traditional waiter's model, with the lever on the end that you use to pry out the cork. With just a little practice, you can handle one with a sommelier's flair, and they almost never fail. I particularly like the kind with the hinged lever that you can use in two steps, first starting with the shorter half to start the cork, then switching to the longer half to pull the cork out fully.

I've also got a couple of sleek, stylish upscale waiter's models that I really like ... a French Laguiole with polished rosewood handles, and an Italian Archimedes with a cool translucent green aluminum finish.
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Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:44 pm

karenann8sons wrote:Just out of idle curiousity, (asking everyone here) what is your favorite tool to remove a cork? I have 4 - a Cork Puller with prongs on either side of the cork, a cheapie tht is called a waiter's corkscrew, a weird one with wings that extend up as you twist down into the cork and a travel corkscrew that isn't worth the metal and plastic it took to make it.


It probably depends on context for me. If it's one bottle of no great age, I'll choose a good "waiter's friend" such as a Laguiole or any of its many knockoffs. If I'm opening a few dozen bottles for a tasting, I'll use a Screwpull (except on those with synthetic corks). For older bottles with corks of questionable integrity, I start with an Ah-So (the two-prong dealie) and move back to the Laguiole if things aren't going well. The salient features to me are:
1. A worm that's suitably low friction and has a circular cross-section (unlike that two-handled device you mentioned).

2. Ease of use: if it requires great effort, such as the worm on a Swiss Army knife, I'm not interested.

3. Comfort of use: if you ever have to open 40-50 bottles at once, you'll appreciate that feature.

HTH
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Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:47 pm

The 'Pulltaps' model, or any well-made corkscrew with a double boot. It's easier to use and less likely to break the cork.
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Postby Paul B. » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:54 pm

[img]http://re2.mm-a1.yimg.com/image/270576522[/img]I use one of these, and it's incredibly reliable.

Of course the waiter's corkscrew is much smaller, eminently portable, and is equally unlikely to break down.

I've been given two fancy corkscrews - one with an elaborate metallic handle - that didn't last more than a couple of months before some internal components broke and the whole thing became a lovely-looking piece of junk.
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Postby karenann8sons » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:00 pm

Has anyone ever used one of those gas cartridge removal tools? Insert the needle through the cork, push the button and a burst of gas pushes the cork out. If so, do they work effectively? And do they affect the wine?

I haven't quite gotten the knack of most corkscrews, so that is a part of the "ritual" I'm not that fond of, at least not yet ~

Karen
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Postby John Tomasso » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:19 pm

karenann8sons wrote:Has anyone ever used one of those gas cartridge removal tools? Insert the needle through the cork, push the button and a burst of gas pushes the cork out. If so, do they work effectively? And do they affect the wine?

I haven't quite gotten the knack of most corkscrews, so that is a part of the "ritual" I'm not that fond of, at least not yet ~

Karen


Yeah, I've got one of those. The times I've used it, it's worked like a charm. It makes me nervous though. I always feel as though the bottle is going to explode in my face. Most times, I use my Laguiole.
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Postby Sam Platt » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:24 pm

I favor the double pronged waiter's corkscrew. The lever pull is an attractive concept, but mine is more adept at pushing corks in than pulling them out.

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Postby David Nelson » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:41 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:The 'Pulltaps' model


Same here. All of $6 or so at Trader Joe's (about the only thing of use I've ever found in the wine section of ours . . .).

Cheers,

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Postby Sue Courtney » Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:47 pm

Karen wrote:Just out of idle curiousity, (asking everyone here) what is your favorite tool to remove a cork?

While Neil opens almost all the bottles now, I like a double lever (winged) corkscrew, like the Pedrini. It is easy to use if you have hands like mine, which are weakened by arthritis.
I used to have a screwpull, which after banging the point of the screw into the cork you could twist with one hand, or the side of your hand, but this expensive piece of equipment was made from plastic!!!! and it failed after a couple of years.
We had two double lever corkscrews when we got married. One is over 25 years old and still going strong but the other left its screw part in an artifical cork.
I drink a lot of New Zealand wine, so most of the whites and many of the reds now have screwcaps, so the corkscrew does not get used as much as it used to.
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Postby David Lole » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:09 pm

I use a Screwpull mostly. I can support Sue's experience above (they're plastic and can break) but, in my (single) case, this occurred due to improper usage. They are very good for extracting long/old/feeble corks. The waiter's friend (with double lever, capsule cutter and crown seal opener) is without a doubt the least expensive and most utilitarian, especially good when travelling, at offlines and for general usage. I've seen/heard about the virtues of the "Ahso" (sp?) for extracting ancient/difficult corks but have yet to own/use one. My hope is, one day, we'll have the perfect seal for our wines that will avoid the need for corkscrews altogether.
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Postby Sue Courtney » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:19 pm

David Lole wrote: I've seen/heard about the virtues of the "Ahso" (sp?) for extracting ancient/difficult corks but have yet to own/use one.


Neil brought an Ah So with him to our nest and it's proved invaluable many times over the years, though a little bit awkward for everyday use.
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Postby Redwinger » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:30 pm

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Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:52 pm

Redwinger wrote:Sabre


Heh. That explains those crunchy bits in that Jamet Cote-Rotie earlier this year ;-)

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Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:03 pm

karenann8sons wrote:Has anyone ever used one of those gas cartridge removal tools? Insert the needle through the cork, push the button and a burst of gas pushes the cork out. If so, do they work effectively? And do they affect the wine?


Karen, my ex-SO (the one with the set of O glasses) has one of those, and it is totally cool... when it works. We had a few issues with the cartridges not working sometimes. Pop in a new cartridge though and it was usually fine.

I have nerve damage in my hands so ease of use is my primary criterion for a cork-removal tool. And this fit the bill there.
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Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:05 pm

My standby is a two-hinged waiters pull.
For going to offlines, I now always take an ah-so and one of those long-tonged cork fishing tools. (Finally got one so I dont have to keep relying on using Charles Weiss' extractor every time). I have a real talent at breaking off older corks and having them go for a swim in the bottle. :oops:
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Postby karenann8sons » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:13 pm

John Tomasso wrote:
karenann8sons wrote:Has anyone ever used one of those gas cartridge removal tools? Insert the needle through the cork, push the button and a burst of gas pushes the cork out. If so, do they work effectively? And do they affect the wine?

I haven't quite gotten the knack of most corkscrews, so that is a part of the "ritual" I'm not that fond of, at least not yet ~

Karen


Yeah, I've got one of those. The times I've used it, it's worked like a charm. It makes me nervous though. I always feel as though the bottle is going to explode in my face. Most times, I use my Laguiole.


Have there actually been cases of bottles exploding from these gas cartridge cork lifters???

Karen
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Postby Robin Garr » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:17 pm

karenann8sons wrote:Have there actually been cases of bottles exploding from these gas cartridge cork lifters???


That's a very interesting question, Karen. The conventional wisdom and standard "FAQ" is ... "Don't use 'em. They're dangerous." In fact, I have never heard of an exploding bottle, but intuitively it seems like it could be a concern, particularly if a bottle was invisibly damaged. I would personally be a little bit nervous about a friend or loved one (or myself), but I can't honestly say there's any documented evidence of a problem.
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Postby Redwinger » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:24 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:
Redwinger wrote:Sabre


Heh. That explains those crunchy bits in that Jamet Cote-Rotie earlier this year ;-)

Mark Lipton


Nah, them bits was just "course tannins". I love my Jamet, but that '98 just needs a bunch of time...hope I live long enuf. :roll:

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Favorite opener

Postby Michael Grossman » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:25 pm

I have about ten different kinds ranging from a two buck Trader Joe's up to two hundred dollar model I received as a gift. I find myself using the simple two step waiter's model more than any other. In fact I, I cannot remember the last time I used one of the others.
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Postby Redwinger » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:28 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
karenann8sons wrote:Have there actually been cases of bottles exploding from these gas cartridge cork lifters???


That's a very interesting question, Karen. The conventional wisdom and standard "FAQ" is ... "Don't use 'em. They're dangerous." In fact, I have never heard of an exploding bottle, but intuitively it seems like it could be a concern, particularly if a bottle was invisibly damaged. I would personally be a little bit nervous about a friend or loved one (or myself), but I can't honestly say there's any documented evidence of a problem.


Robin,
I don't know about those catridge things, but I've seen an Ahso break/shatter the neck of a bottle on two occassions and the wounds were not pretty. I do like my ahso, but always use a towel to protect the hand holding the bottle, and I never, ever grasp the bottle by the neck.
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Postby Wine Partisan » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:32 pm

I generally use a ScrewPull (in my view the easiest corkscrew to use for neophytes or experienced hands) or a good waiter's tool at home. The Ah-So comes in handy to rescue crumbling corks on occasion.

I use variations of the Rabbit-type machine when I'm pulling lots of corks at tasting events where we pour our Ophir Wines.
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Postby karenann8sons » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:45 pm

Redwinger wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:
karenann8sons wrote:Have there actually been cases of bottles exploding from these gas cartridge cork lifters???


That's a very interesting question, Karen. The conventional wisdom and standard "FAQ" is ... "Don't use 'em. They're dangerous." In fact, I have never heard of an exploding bottle, but intuitively it seems like it could be a concern, particularly if a bottle was invisibly damaged. I would personally be a little bit nervous about a friend or loved one (or myself), but I can't honestly say there's any documented evidence of a problem.


Robin,
I don't know about those catridge things, but I've seen an Ahso break/shatter the neck of a bottle on two occassions and the wounds were not pretty. I do like my ahso, but always use a towel to protect the hand holding the bottle, and I never, ever grasp the bottle by the neck.
Redwinger


The one I use most often is an ahso. Never had a mishap thus far but I wouldn't call it easy and if my hands are hurting, forget it!

I wonder if it makes any difference how old the bottles are? Being a newbie with wine, I've yet to have a bottle of wine older than 5 years and it was 2001 vintage when I purchased it so I doubt it was in the bottle that long. Nearly all of the wines I drink are young ~

Karen
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Our path emerges for a while, then closes
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Postby Howard » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:28 am

Laguiole. I bought it in Provence and always remember the trip every time I pop open a bottle.
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