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Removing a Cork Is a Piece of Cake, Honest!

January 3rd, 2012 by jo

People struggle all the time, including nervous waitservers, when removing corks from a bottle, whether we’re alone or with a group of friends.

Why is pulling  a little tiny cork out of a bottle so darn intimidating?

Because very few of us in our American culture were raised on wine; so we don’t know how easy it is, unless you’re some kind of a pro who opens 20 bottles a day.

Waiters' Corkscrew

Waiters' Corkscrew

As we’re on stage when it’s our turn to remove the cork, our palms begin to sweat as we begin to insert the corkscrew’s sharp, little point. Moisture begins to gather around our hair line, as we turn the corkscrew in a clockwise motion. Then, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen next. Will we get it out, as the corkscrew descends further into the bottle? Again, it’s anyone’s guess…

Well, that used to be the case for me. Once I began to work in the wine business and that cork had to come out (because people were standing before me eager to taste the wine I was about to pour), I learned how to do it so quickly and smoothly that I surprised even myself.

Here’s how you, too, can look like you’ve opened enough corks to fill that wine barrel table you’ve created that’s full of corks. Yes, I have one; although I have to admit that 95 percent of the corks come from wineries where I worked and collected corks at the end of the day. (This makes it very easy to fill a 60 gallon wine barrel.)

1. Securely grab your corkscrew in one hand and your bottle of wine in the other.

2. Use absolute straight down aim at that tiny cork (you’re so much bigger than that cork, so you’ve got to win this battle, and you will).

3. In the absolute dead center of the cork, insert the corkscrew tip in a straight downward motion with a good little push to insert it. (Don’t angle this procedure, as that’s the REAL trick in all of this.)

4. As the corkscrew enters the cork, use that bit of pressure to make sure that the corkscrew and cork are united in harmony.

5. Without any angling of what you’re doing, begin to twist the corkscrew while simultaneously pressing downward, until all the “screw” part of it is inserted into the cork.

6. With a smooth, gentle force (you don’t want any splashing onto what you’re wearing), pull the cork straight out of the bottle. It’s all in the wrist pulling in an upward motion, too.

This is guaranteed to make you look like a pro, and the sweat will never bead up on your brow, again. (Three) Cheers!

And, welcome to Removing the Cork 102, where many producers are sadly switching to screw caps!

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