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A decent corkscrew is vital when opening a bottle of wine. Without one, you run the risk of a cork crumbling, a bottle breaking, or, worst of all, not drinking the wine. We turned to a host of sommeliers and wine experts to recommend their tried-and-true corkscrews. From waiter's corkscrews to lever corkscrews, here are the best ones to consider adding to your home bar.
Best Overall: Pulltap’s Professional Waiter’s Corkscrew
“I have used pretty much every kind of apparatus you can to get a cork out of a bottle—sabering, port tongs, phone book, even a high heel,” says Theo Rutherford, a certified sommelier with Josh Cellars. “I always come back to the simple, reliable waiter’s wine key."
This Pulltap option is a workhorse of a wine key: designed with professionals in mind, the hinged double-lever system and serrated knife blade make it a breeze to open bottles with both long and short corks. “The two-step construction means you rarely break a cork,” adds Rutherford. “I have had the same one for at least 10 years and it has never done wrong by me."
Good to Know:
Wael Deek, beverage manager at Osteria 57 in New York, agrees and weighs in with advice: “Pulltap’s double-hinged corkscrew is my favorite because it's the best one to help avoid breaking corks and secure a mess-free bottle opening experience." He continues, "A tip of mine is to never over-screw: you can never go back and that will risk breaking the cork.”
Best Waiter's: Laguiole En Aubrac Waiter's Corkscrew
Richard Vayda, Director of Wine Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, is particularly fond of the waiter's corkscrew. “As you learn right away as a wine steward, these corkscrews are easily portable and generally very reliable openers." He adds, "Unlike many other openers, they also sport a knife to cut the capsule on the bottle and usually a crown bottle opener for those moments where you must have a beer.”
This one from Laguiole is worthy of gift-giving, too: each of these high-quality corkscrews is handcrafted by local artisans near the Laguiole village in France. The handle is also made of black buffalo horn with shiny stainless steel hardware.
Best Electric: Coravin Model Two
“Being a chef who often cooks with wine, I’ve tried and fumbled with many wine openers and preservation systems,” says Hugh Acheson, the owner of Empire State South and a judge on "Top Chef." “But Coravin is different—it is easy to use, preserves perfectly and pours perfectly."
Instead of completely removing the cork, the Coravin wine system is outfitted with a Teflon-coated wine needle that sails through the cork and allows you to remove a glass of wine at a time (without airing out the whole bottle). “The system helps me cherish special bottles of wine for a really long time, seeing how they change and evolve," says Acheson.
Good to Know:
“Look for corkscrew models that are heavier and feel solidly built,” says Vayda. “Make sure the worm has a long hollow corkscrew that can really grab onto and handle a longer cork, [and] check the knife—sturdy, longer straight foil cutters offer more flexibility than the smaller curved style.”
Best Budget: True Truetap
“To me, corkscrews don't have to be expensive, they just need to be functional,” says Jose Medina Camacho, lead bartender at the award-winning Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham, Ala. “I was gifted this wine key and it works perfectly—the blade is longer than most and works for other things that don't involve opening a wine bottle.”
With a stainless steel and aluminum construction, this double-hinged corkscrew features a Teflon-coated non-stick spiral designed to last for years. "The wine opener as a whole is something that is durable and firm,” says Camacho. It comes in a standard black, as well as blue or red.
Most Stylish: Viski Belmont Signature Corkscrew
"A wine key is that other tool that is just so essential to us as bartenders,” says Rochelle Tougas, general manager of FM Kitchen & Bar in Houston. “This is my favorite wine key I’ve ever owned."
The modern aesthetic of this Viski Belmont corkscrew makes it a great gift for the wine lover in your life. Doreen Winkler, a natural wine sommelier and founder of Orange Glou, a wine subscription service, seconds this: “It has a solid, sharp blade to remove foil graciously and it's double-hinged, so it's easy for everyone to use." She adds, "It is also available in gold, rose gold and black.”
Good to Know:
"There are different closures for wines today,” advises Alessandra Esteves, the founder and Director of Wine Education at Florida Wine Academy. “Glass, screw cap: please check it before trying to uncork any bottle—don’t try to remove a screw cap with a corkscrew."
Best Lever: OXO Steel Vertical Lever Corkscrew
A great low-effort option, lever corkscrews remove the cork quickly, easily, and with minimal physical effort. Simply position the non-stick screw above the cork, and in two easy motions and one pump of the lever, the corkscrew removes and releases the cork. It's even compatible with corks of all construction, including plastic and synthetic.
This one from OXO comes with a removable foil cutter that can be stored inside the opener—preventing cuts and scratches from regular foil knives. Made of die-cast zinc, the handle is constructed of a soft, non-slip grip to give you leverage when opening. A non-stick screw (or worm) chisels into the cork.
Good to Know:
“It’s okay if you have to pull up on the key a couple times to get the cork out, but make sure you pull it straight up so you don’t break the cork in half,” explains Catrina Franzoi, a bartender at WindsorEats. “If need be, grab the visible part of the cork with your hand and gently wiggle it back and forth until it is removed.”
Best Splurge: The Durand Corkscrew
“The Durand is my favorite corkscrew,” says Malek Amrani, founder of The Vice Wine, a small-batch vineyard in Napa Valley. Though it's on the pricier side, this patented device is specifically designed to safely remove compromised or fragile corks. The two-part device gives the flexibility to insert the ah-so prongs down between the cork and the bottleneck, allowing you to slide out the cork intact. “I also use it for bottles when I’m monitoring or studying their aging development,” says Amrani. “You can pull the cork out and put it back multiple times without damaging the cork or the wine.”
Using the Durand does take some time to get used to, but follow the instructions closely and consider practicing on lower-priced bottles before using it on your top bottles. Wine collectors with high-end cellars swear by this corkscrew.
Best Winged: Rabbit Wing Corkscrew
The big draw of this crowd-pleasing, classic corkscrew is that it opens bottles with minimal effort, thanks to two wide-winged arms that apply pressure on the cork. The sturdy lever arms of the Rabbit winged corkscrew give you extra leverage to gently remove corks. A stable base with a wide mouth (that fits bottles of any size) and a thicker head does all the heavy lifting.
Slimmer than most winged corkscrews, this particular option is constructed of durable plastic and stainless steel hardware. This dishwasher-safe corkscrew is also backed by Rabbit’s five-year warranty. Note that this option does not come with a foil cutter, but the versatile head doubles as a beer opener.
Related: The Best Electric Wine Openers
Best Double-Hinged: BarVivo Professional Corkscrew
Hilda Ysusi, chef and owner of Broken Barrel in Woodlands, Texas, favors this double-hinged corkscrew from BarVivo, and with good reason. This all-in-one tool consists of a double-hinged fulcrum, a serrated foil cutter, a double corkscrew and a handy beer opener. A slick natural wood handle also adds to its appeal.
“The best waiter’s corkscrew versions are the variations with a hinged leg or boot lever, or alternately, models with two boot levers,” says Vayda. “This allows you to start at the hinge or smaller leg and finish the opening with the entire lever, giving more leverage at the beginning of the process."
Good to Know:
“My biggest tip is always to tilt the bottle slightly when inserting the coil and then straighten it back up,” says Ysusi. “This way, you ensure it always enters straight and into the middle of the cork—do not insert the coil all the way."
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits and wine writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years. Outside of writing, she is a working sommelier with her WSET-III. She grew up in wine country and has a bottle collection her partner thinks is excessive.