You're at a party and you need to open a wine bottle. All of a sudden, a room full of eyes seems to be staring at you, waiting to see if you'll drill the corkscrew in badly or do the wrong thing with the opener's little arms. No shame—we've all been there!
Wine openers can appear confusing and difficult to use, but once you have it down, they're a cinch. Read on to learn about the two most common types of wine openers and how to use them.
1. Wine Key
Also known as a waiter's corkscrew, a wine key has three important parts: a foil cutter, a lever, and a "worm." The foil cutter, which looks like a small knife, is used to remove the foil from the top of your wine bottle. Rest the foil cutter just above the first ridge at the top of the wine bottle and press lightly to pierce the foil. Turn the bottle in a circular motion so that the cutter drags all the way around the neck of the bottle. Remove the top of the foil.
Insert the "worm" (aka the corkscrew) into the center of your cork and twist in a clockwise motion until the spiral is fully inserted in the cork. Rest the shorter notch on the lever (that's the metal arm) on the lip of the wine bottle, then pull up the handle to bring the cork out of the bottle. If needed, switch to the longer notch on the lever and continue to pull up until the cork is completely removed. Success!
2. Winged Corkscrew
Start similarly to the wine key by removing the foil from the top of your wine bottle. Insert the corkscrew into the center of the cork and twist the top handle to insert the corkscrew farther into the cork. (Pro tip: That handle at the top you're twisting doubles as a beer opener!) When the corkscrew is secured inside the cork, use both hands to press on the "wings," or levers, of the opener, downwards towards the center of the bottle. As the levers go down, the cork goes up!
If it's not out completely, twist the corkscrew a bit farther into the cork and press down on the wings again. Grab the bottom of the opener with one hand and the bottle with the other and gently wiggle out the rest of the cork.
That's about it! Now that you've got your wine, put it to good use! We have a lot of inspiration for cooking with wine. This beef stew is enhanced with rich, red wine flavor—and there will be enough left over for a couple generously poured glasses. Cheers!
BUY NOW Wing Corkscrew Opener, $7; amazon.com
BUY NOW Rosewood Wine Key, $10; amazon.com
Lena Abraham is a freelance contributor with Delish, and was formerly Senior Food Editor, where she developed and styled recipes for video and photo, and also stayed on top of current food trends. She’s been working in the food industry for over 10 years, and will argue that the best fish tacos in the world are made in New York. Don’t @ her.