How to Remove Cork Without a Corkscrew

What if you find yourself with a great bottle of wine, but the corkscrew is nowhere to be found? Sounds frustrating, right? Thankfully, you can get creative and pull off some easy hacks to ‘uncorking’ a wine bottle. With a little bit of persistence and cautiousness, you’ll be sipping that crisp Chardonnay in no time.

Related article: How to recork a wine bottle

1. Hammer and Screw Method

This method is easy to follow as it only involves driving the screw into the cork and pulling it out using a hammer. Yet, we recommend you use bigger screws because it’s easier to latch the end of your hammer into them.

If you can also find some pliers, even better, as these provide a firmer and easier removal.

2. Brute Force Method

Not all people have screws, hammers, and pliers at home. Even if one does, it can be challenging to use such tools without background knowledge. For folks who’d instead pop the bottle without any tools, the brute force method is a simple way of going about it.

Smack the wine bottle against a table and make the cork pop out. The catch is to wrap a cloth around the bottle for cushioning. Anything sturdy is excellent, which means that you can even use a wall.

3. Shoe Method

If there is no stand-in tool for opening a bottle of great wine, your shoe can help. This method requires persistence and force. So, if you want to unleash your frustration of misplacing a corkscrew, try this one.

Nestle the bottom of the bottle into a well-cushioned shoe. Then, make the bottle perpendicular to a concrete wall and parallel to the ground. Hold the bottle and shoe securely together and smack the sole of the shoe against the wall. After a few smacks, you’ll make progress. Keep on smacking until the bottle is open.

4. Knot and String Method

For this method, you will need a thick piece of string and a screwdriver. Using the screwdriver, make a hole in the cork. Follow this up by tying a figure-eight knot at the end of the string. If you’re unsure of your knot-tying skills, review these steps:

  • Tie a single eight in the string two feet from its end.
  • Wrap it around the support.
  • Pass it through the loops.
  • Take it behind the big loop.
  • Pass it next to the upper line.
  • Take it out parallel to the standing part.
  • Pull the ends to tighten.

The finished knot should form a loop. Then, lower the knot into the bottle’s neck (opening). Next, tilt the bottle and create some space on the other side. This way, the string can slip past and underneath the cork. What else? Yank the cork out by pulling the string as hard as you can.

5. Remove Cork with a Lighter

This is probably one of the easiest methods, but requires a little bit of patience. The process is very simple. You remove the foil cover of the wine and using a lighter start heating the bottle’s neck. The air below the cork will heat up and will push the cork up. And voila! you have opened your wine bottle with a lighter. This video explains the steps in detail.

6. Slap Method

This is quite similar to the shoe method; however, it doesn’t require a concrete wall to hit the wine bottle against. Alternatively, turn the bottle upside down and grip it firmly between your thighs. After that, slap the base from above-using anything hard like a book, shoe, etc. Once the cork is loose enough, begin pulling it out using a towel.

7. Wire Hanger Technique

Using a pair of pliers, form a wire hanger into a shape of a hook. Position the new hook in the cork’s edge with the U-shape facing up. Then, wiggle the hook back and forth and don’t stop until it’s two inches down. To catch the bottom of the cork, rotate the hook and begin pulling the cork out.

8. Serrated Knife Trick

This method is quite risky, so make sure to do the steps cautiously. First, insert the knife between the cork and wine bottle. Then, twist the bottle and gently pull to remove the cork gradually.

9. Car Keys Hack

No knife? No problem. Your car keys can be a solution. Just like a serrated blade, your car keys can uncork a bottle of wine.

Insert the key into the cork at a 45-degree angle for maximum effect. After that, use the top of the key to push the cork clockwise, up, and out of the bottle. In other words, turn the key in circles and pull it up in the same movement.

10. Pump Plan

If you have a bicycle or a garage, this trick is for you.

To open the bottle with a pump, insert the needle between the rim of the bottle and the cork. From the contraption, perform about four to five pumps. Do not go beyond this to keep the bottle from exploding. Once the cork has peeked out of the bottle, pull it out using a clean piece of cloth.

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11. Bonus – 3 Unusual Methods to Remove Cork Without a Corkscrew

While these methods work like a charm every time, it is still worth noting that you do these with extra caution. If in case you are in doubt of your skills, save the bottle for another time, with a corkscrew at your disposal.