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6 Genius Ways to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew

Updated: Apr. 09, 2024

Yes, it can be done with a pair of scissors, a house key, or a shoe.

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Push it in

If you, like so many others faced with a delicious bottle of wine but no corkscrew, are wondering how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, we have a few methods for you to try. First, put on your least-favorite shirt and step outside; with this method, there will be splash-back. The idea is to push the cork all the way into the bottle using the blunt tip of a screwdriver, butter knife, etc. Just stand your blunt instrument straight up atop the cork, and slowly hammer it in with the palm of your hand. You will see the cork starting to depress. Proceed very slowly from here. One mighty blow could send wine spurting up to your ceiling (as it did in our photo studio). Optional finale: Strain the wine through coffee filters like these to avoid getting cork in your pour.

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Screw it

Drive or hammer a large screw straight into the top of the cork; leave at least half an inch of the screw showing on top. Hook the forked end of your hammer around the top of the screw, grip the bottle tightly with your other hand, and pull the cork out. Remember as you pull: Twisting always helps. You can also use nails instead of a screw.

Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Make a handle out of scissors

Open a pair of scissors so that the two blades are spread apart from one another. Stab one blade straight down into the cork. Gripping the scissors where the two blades meet, twist the cork out, pulling up little by little until it pops free. It’s easier than it sounds. By the way, here’s how to open a can without a can opener—knowing this could really come in handy.

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Make a handle out of a key

Nervous about using a hammer or scissors? Here’s how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew and without potentially dangerous objects. Drive a house key diagonally into the cork at a 45-degree angle until it is all the way in. Slowly twist the key around and up, around and up, until you are able to get a grip on the cork and pull it out. In case using one of these tricks ends badly, here’s everything you need to know about red wine stain removal, including how to get red wine out of clothes.

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Bang it against the wall

This method introduced by a popular YouTube video on how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew produces mixed results depending on the type of cork in your bottle; save this trick for last if you can. Here’s how it works: Wrap the bottom of the bottle in a small towel or washcloth. Stuff the wrapped bottle into the heel of a sturdy dress shoe. Bang the heel flat against a wall several times until the cork starts to pop out. Finish the job with your hands, lest you want the cork to blast out of the bottle on a geyser of horizontal vino. Check out these 25 other kitchen shortcuts you’ll wish you knew sooner.

Ali Blumenthal/Rd.com

Pump it out

Here’s how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew but with a bike pump like this one. Jam the needle of your bike pump into the center of the cork. Pump for a few seconds until the cork pops free. YouTube’s Jason Harrison proclaims it best: SCIENCE!!! Don’t miss these 43 other extraordinary uses for household staples you already own.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest