Wine Questionary:

Corkscrews: How to get out the cork

Before you can enjoy your wine, you must get the bottle open, and with fine wine, this can be a challenge. For the past 350 years or so, quality wine has been stoppered with a piece of cork, making it one of the few beverages that requires a special tool to open.

Corkscrews come in a variety of forms, from the traditional to the high-tech, but I recommend every wine lover get to know the standard "waiter's model" corkscrew, the inexpensive but functional implement that looks like a pocket knife, with a handle, a fold-out screw, and a lever that swings out from the end to help pry out the cork.

Carefully peel the foil or plastic "capsule" from the bottle neck, wiping away if necessary any sludge that may have accumulated around the end of the cork. Center the point of the corkscrew on the end of the cork and gently screw it in. Place the end of the swing-out lever against the edge of the glass bottle lip, and pry upwards, using no more force than necessary to bring out the cork slowly and gently.

Once you've removed the cork, wipe the neck again if there's any foreign matter on it, then pour your wine.

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