12 Best Ways to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew
Maybe you’re on an impromptu date with a special someone. Or you find yourself in the middle of a picnic with friends, only to realize that you’ve forgotten to bring a corkscrew with you. Either way, don’t succumb to despair. There are plenty of other ways to open a wine bottle. Not all of them are foolproof, but then why not have some fun in the process?
More than a matter of thirst or necessity, opening a wine bottle in a new way is an occasion for fun. You could have a good laugh with your friends about it. And test your patience in the process, too.
Without further ado, let’s find out how to open a wine bottle without a bottle opener in 12 different ways. It’s easier than you think. Most of the time, it’s not even all that messy.
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Twist It Out with a Key
Corkscrews may not always be easy to find, but keys generally are. The good news is that a serrated key can help you open a bottle of wine without too much trouble. Simply plunge the key into the cork at a sharp angle. Make sure the key bites deep into the cork. Twist the cork slowly until it’s out.
The success of this method depends to a large extent on the key you use. A long, sharp key usually works best.
Watch this video for more instruction on removing a wine cork with a key.
Push It in with a Spoon
Use the handle of a spoon or any similar object that you have at hand. The object must be blunt and preferably hygienic. You don’t want to cut into the cork, only to push it in. Place the bottle on a steady surface and push in the cork. Depending on the cork, sometimes it may crumble in the process. If that happens, you want to have a strainer ready before you pour out the wine.
Watch a video of someone opening wine with a spoon.
Use a Screw and Pliers
You’ll need a screw, a matching screwdriver, and pliers. The longer the screw, the better. Screw it into the cork, leaving only enough of it out for you to grab it with the pliers. Holding the pliers horizontally, pull out the screw. This method takes a bit of practice, so be ready to put in some effort. If the screw starts feeling loose, screw it in further before you use the pliers.
Here's a video of someone using a screw and pliers to get at some wine.
Pump It Out
For this, you need a bike pump with a long needle. Plunge the needle into the cork until it reaches the air below. Getting the needle all the way in is crucial for this method to work. Start pumping air into the bottle slowly. If all goes well, the air pressure should push the cork out of the bottle gradually. If you’re wondering how to open wine without a corkscrew in a clean way, this method is one of the safest.
Watch this fun method for pulling a wine cork with no opener.
Hook It Out
Take a wire hanger and make a hook out of it. Depending on the hanger, you could do this with your hands or using pliers. The wire of the hanger shouldn’t be too thick – slender, strong wire works best.
Wiggle the hook between the cork and the bottle until you can position it under the cork. This procedure requires a bit of patience, so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work on the first try. Once the hook is under the cork, rotate it. When the cork catches on the hook firmly, and pull it free from the bottle.
Watch a couple of dudes open wine with a hotel coat hanger.
Use Paper Clips
In addition to two paperclips, you’ll also need a pencil. Start by straightening the paperclips but leave the U at both ends. When you’re done, slide the paperclips down the neck of the bottle between the glass and the cork one at a time. You want the U of the paperclip to be under the cork. It may take a while to pull this off, so be patient.
Next, join the ends of the paperclip and twist them together. Insert the pen under the U they form on top, slide your fingers under it, and pull up. If the paperclips have been securely fastened below the cork, the cork should come off as you pull.
Do you need proof that this can be done? Check out this video.
Scissor It Out
Got scissors but not a corkscrew? No problem. Cut either side of the cork with pliers and then use the scissors. Place them into the cut bits and pull out the cork. With this method, you have to take care not to push the cork into the bottle. Also, you don’t want to cut too deep into the cork. Old corks, in particular, may crumble into the bottle.
Please be careful if you try this one.
Slap It Out
This method requires patience and a methodical approach. Be warned: it tends to be hilarious. You’ll need a shoe – preferably a clean one – and a towel or an equivalent item, such as a shirt or jacket. Wrap the towel around the bottom of the bottle and hold the bottle upside down between your feet.
Take off your shoe – or ask a friend to lend you theirs – and use it to slap the bottom of the bottle repeatedly. After a while, the cork should make its way out. Before the wine has the chance to spill on the floor, turn the bottle with the neck up, grab the cork, and pull it out.
Go ahead and burn some calories before drinking. Watch the "slap out the cork" method.
Use Your Finger
What if you find yourself stranded with a bottle of fine wine on the beach or in some other place where you don’t have access to a single tool? No scissors, no knives, no pliers, not even spoons? You don’t have to give up on your wine. You can use your finger to push in the cork.
Press down on the cork as hard you can, and then keep on pressing until the cork is all the way down. Depending on the size of your fingers, you can use your thumb or forefinger. Just be careful not to injure yourself.
The downside to this method is that by the time you’re done with it, the cork will be sloshing around in the wine. But at least you can drink some wine, right?
This is the most basic method. Enjoy.
Pop It Loose
This is not the most convenient method, but in an emergency, it will do. It’s similar to the shoe-slapping method, but a bit more dangerous (not to mention, noisy). Wrap up the bottom and sides of the bottle in a towel or something similar. Bang the base of the bottle against the wall until the cork starts to squeeze its way out.
Alternatively, you can use another hard surface, such as the floor or the corner of the table. Don’t slam the bottle down too hard, though. You don’t want to shatter it or ruin the wall. Keep at it until you can grab the cork and pull it out.
Use a Serrated Knife
This is one of the more dangerous methods on this list. You have to mind your fingers. In fact, you may want to leave it last and only try it if all other methods fail.
Ideally, you want to use a serrated knife. Otherwise, opt for a knife with a narrower blade, and preferably one that isn’t too sharp. Holding the knife carefully, stick it into the cork. Twist the blade into the cork and pull it up at the same time. When the cork is out of the bottle, stab it on the side. Turn the knife until you loosen the cork from the bottle.
BONUS OPTION - Heat It Up
Heating up the bottle isn’t the most straightforward way to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew. But it can work, especially during the winter, when you want to make mulled wine.
Boil some water in a pot and then take it off the fire. Put the bottle into the pot and leave it there for a while. The cork should come out before long. Of course, this method isn’t suitable for all occasions. Who would want to warm up their white wine on a hot summer day? But during the colder seasons, it can make the process of preparing mulled wine easier.
Here is a really crazy option for opening your wine bottle without using a corkscrew.
Special Method For Vikings Only
We don't suggest this for everyone. If you happen to be a Viking with a bottle of wine to open you can try a few methods. One option is to whack the bottle with your mighty ax. This should have the effect of splitting it open and the wine will spill out. Make sure to position another Viking directly below the bottle.
If that fails, Vikings can also open a wine bottle without a corkscrew by firing an arrow at the bottle. This should smash the glass and send a stream of wine into the air. Be prepared to catch the wine.
Over to You
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew. Which one will you try? It depends on where you are and the tools you have at hand. While some methods may be tricky to pull off, they can all prove useful at different times. You may want to try them all out.
The important thing is to follow the steps carefully and keep on at it. If you’re new to these methods, they may not work for you the first time. But don’t let that discourage you. Repeat the steps again, and you’ll manage before long. A bit of practice is all that you need.
Now that you know how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, what are you waiting for? Pop that cork and fill your glass with delight. Or just drink straight from the bottle. As Martin Luther said, beer may be made by men, but wine is made by God.
Our best advice for opening a wine bottle is to buy yourself a nice wine opener and carry it with you!