Nothing is more frustrating than going to open a bottle of wine and not having a corkscrew or wine opener. Whether you’re in a hotel or camping, there are all kinds of reasons you might not have one close by.
How to open a wine bottle without a bottle opener (8 quick ways):
- Use a screw and a hammer.
- Use a wooden spoon.
- Use the serrated knife method.
- Use a bike pump.
- Use a shoe.
- Use the wall method.
- Use heat.
- Use scissors or keys.
Read on to learn how to use each one of these methods to get the cork out of your wine without a corkscrew or a wine bottle opener! Also, be sure to check out the video below.
1. Use a Screw and a Hammer To Open a Bottle of Wine (Easiest Way)
This method is the most effective overall and the closest to using an actual corkscrew. It takes a little bit of gear, but anyone can use this to open a bottle of delicious wine.
This method isn’t recommended for older bottles of wine with a lot of sediment that might have fragile corks. A screw could easily break a cork down and drop cork bits into the wine which will take away from the enjoyment of drinking it later.
A way to test the cork stability is to run your fingernail over the top of the cork. If the wood flakes away under it, you should not use this method. You might also see kernels of cork crumbling off when you test it.
This rule can also apply to other methods on this list, so you should check every cork before you use alternative methods to open the bottle.
Using the Screw and Hammer Method
You take a long screw (the longer, the better), and use a hammer to hit the screw in. Alternatively, you can use a screwdriver to twist the screw into the cork.
You don’t want to drive the screw all the way through the cork, but it should be stuck in there and shouldn’t move.
Be very careful, so you don’t hit the glass bottle directly. Cracks and broken glass will ruin the bottle and mean you can’t drink it. You don’t want to swallow glass shards.
Once the screw is entirely in, you can twist the screw with your hand and pull the cork out like a corkscrew normally would. Better yet, use a pair of pliers to get a better grip and grab ahold of the screw and pull.
2. Open a Bottle of Wine Using a Wooden Spoon
You can use the end of a wooden spoon to push the cork back into the bottle of wine. You should do this method over a sink or in some other spot where you can quickly clean up any spilled wine.
You should first check the height of the wine inside the bottle. If the wine is up close to the cork, you should not try this method. Popping the cork in might make you spill more wine than you might have otherwise.
Using the Wooden Spoon Method
Here’s how you can use this method to open a bottle of wine. Carefully place the end of the wooden spoon on the top of the bottle. Get a good grip on the bottle itself and use the handle of the spoon to push the cork down into the bottle.
The spoon or implement should be as large as the cork and not too large for the bottle’s mouth. Also, unless you have another way to re-cork the bottle you’ll need to plan on drinking the entire bottle of wine. Darn 🙂
3. Open Wine Using the Serrated Knife Method
This is more dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted alone. You could get hurt and end up in a bad way. Having another person around would help you immensely.
Using the Serrated Knife Method Safely
You can use this method safely and effectively, but it takes some preparation.
First, you should ideally have a cut glove. These gloves make sure your hands won’t get hurt in the process if anything goes wrong. These can be very affordable, like this cut glove from NoCry on Amazon.
If you don’t have a cut glove, you should be very careful when handling the knife. This is why you should have someone else around to do this. Knife wounds can be nasty, and if you need to go to the hospital, you should have someone drive you or call an ambulance.
(Seriously, if you don’t have the no-cut glove you shouldn’t attempt this. You’ll be better off trying one of the other methods listed here.)
Carefully insert the knife into the cork. Keep the handle as straight as possible, and don’t force the blade in too far, only about an inch.
Firmly twist and pull the knife. Don’t go too fast; your hand could slip, or the blade could come loose. You want to pull the cork out slowly and steadily.
Once the cork is far enough out for you to remove it by hand, remove the knife from the cork and put it away. Enjoy the wine!
4. Use a Bike Pump To Remove a Wine Cork
A bike pump uses air pressure to force the cork out of the bottle. This is a simple use of physics and is safer than other methods if you do it correctly.
Using the Bike Pump Method
It would be best if you cleaned the pump needle before you even began. You don’t want to risk contamination from the needle into the wine.
Carefully insert the pump needle into the cork. You need to puncture through the cork itself to get down into the air pocket between the liquid and the seal.
Once you’ve broken through the cork, you should go pump by pump and push air into the chamber. Like all of the other methods on this list, you should not force the cork fully out. Instead, please remove it from the cork yourself once it has emerged enough to get a good grip.
5. Using a Shoe To Uncork a Bottle of Wine
The shoe method uses pressure and force to inch the cork out of the bottle slowly. It is a long process and can be frustrating, but this is great if you have no other options.
You use this method by using the sole of your shoe (ideally a high heel or other firm bottom shoe) and smacking it against the bottom of the bottle. Over time, the cork will come out of the neck, and you can remove it with your hand.
You can also wrap the bottle or the shoe in a towel, blanket, or even clothes. You should especially do this if the shoes have sharp points or decorations that could get broken.
6. Opening a Wine Bottle Using The Wall Method
Similar to the shoe method, you slowly work the cork out of the bottle and then remove it by repeatedly hitting it against something. However, this one uses a wall.
The most important thing is that you don’t use too much force. This could break the bottle, but it could also put a hole in your wall. Ideally, you should pick a wall that is made of brick, rock, or cement.
That’s why you should wrap the bottle in a towel, blanket, or another fabric padding before hitting it. Not only will this protect you from getting hurt if the bottle breaks and prevent a mess or wine stain, but you can also protect the wall you’re hitting it against.
Carefully wrap the bottle in a towel and hold it firmly. Carefully hit the bottom of the bottle against the wall until the cork has been dislodged enough for you to remove it manually.
7. Using Heat to Remove a Cork From Wine
Something you might not expect to use is heat and physics.
Introducing heat to the pressurized air in the wine bottle will make that air expand. The expansion will move the cork out of the bottle in an attempt to release the pressure.
Don’t use this method if the wine has been in the freezer or the fridge. The cold temperature of the glass will not react well with the heat. You could end up shattering the bottle, and then you can’t enjoy the wine!
Using the Heat Method
This requires the most specialized equipment. It would help if you had a small blowtorch of some kind or a lighter. Either of these will work, but they might leave soot on the glass.
Carefully ignite the heating device and place it on the neck of the bottle where the air space exits. It would be best not to put it directly under the cork; this could burn the cork. Don’t put it too close to the wine; this could ignite it and make the bottle explode.
As the air heats up, it will slowly force the cork out of the bottle neck. Only heat it until you can pull it out by yourself. Let the bottle cool after you’ve removed the cork, so you don’t burn yourself on the hot glass.
8. Use Scissors or Keys To Remove a Wine Cork
You could also use scissors, keys, or even a butter knife to open a bottle of wine when you don’t have a corkscrew. These are everyday household items that you can repurpose like the other methods on this list.
Like the knife method, you should be very careful and watch out that you don’t hurt yourself. Again, cut gloves are perfect for keeping your fingers safe. Follow the same sort of safety steps as for the knife method.
Insert the scissors or house key (a car key will work great too!) into the cork and carefully twist. You can then twist it around and slowly remove the cork. Make sure you keep your fingers inside the scissor handles, so your hand doesn’t slip and get caught in the blades.
If you don’t have a corkscrew, you don’t need to worry. There are so many great ways to get a cork out of a wine bottle without hurting yourself. It takes some ingenuity, but you’ll have the cork out and be enjoying your nice bottle of wine in no time!