Open Sesame!


A two pronged cork extractor stuck in the top of a bottleBack in the old days, when it came to opening a bottle of wine, I used one of those picnic basket style cork screws. You know the kind, little tube, cork screw has a plastic knob on top with a hole in it that the tube fits through. Heck, I bet you have three in your junk drawer.

Sure, I always lusted after the Rabbit (and it’s knock-off brethren), but I never had enough wine to worry about it. Or, to be more precise, most of the wine I drank was port, which usually has the plastic topped cork on it, so no corkscrew needed there.

Once I started drinking more wines, or, more to the point, once I moved in with my fiance and we started drinking more wines, we had the need for a better cork screw. Hers was lost in a move, and mine didn’t quite cut it. So I picked up the Screwpull travel corkscrew, not exactly on purpose since I didn’t think I’d be traveling with it, for a Christmas present and, well, I love it. My parents always used one of the rabbit ear corkscrews (I don’t know the proper name, but every time I see it, I think either rabbit ears or touch down…), but this was just… easy. Easy into the cork, easy to pull the cork out and, my favorite part, easy to get the cork back off the screw. That little ball really is like magic.

But it got me wondering about the magical … well, admittedly, I’m not sure what it’s called, so I had to look it up… the magical… well, ok, second admission, once I found the name, it lost *alot* of the magic…. the… y’know, I feel silly even just typing it, but… here goes: the two pronged cork extractor. What a horribly sad name for a device that looks like Jean-Claude Van Damme could have used it in a movie to remove someones eye in a bar brawl.

As someone who has never seen one used, the two pronged cork extractor had mystery behind it. How could a piece of metal manage to clip between the cork and the glass, not breaking the cork, but still manage to grip the cork strongly enough in order to extract it?

I must try one.

Fortunately, they are inexpensive.

Even more fortunately, the future father-in-law had an extra one that he could give me. Hooray!

I watched the future father-in-law work the device, teaching me the ins and outs (no pun intended) of its use and, being the shy guy that I am, I opted not to try it in front of anyone but my bride to be a few weeks later.

However, the instructions are simple. Take the longer of the two prongs and slide it between the cork and the glass. This is easier than it sounds. I was afraid that the cork would break far to easily or that I’d be sticking it into the cork nine times out of ten.

Push it down until the shorter of the two prongs is just below the lip of the wine bottle. Tilt towards the longer prong, giving the shorter prong just enough clearance to be able to slide down between the cork and bottle. Start rocking while pushing down, until the handle is at the top of the bottle.

Now, just twist and pull.

That’s it.

My first attempt did not go so well.

Either the wine bottle was already broken, or I managed to chip the glass as I fed the prongs in, but as I twisted and pulled, I could feel the gritty texture of ground glass between the metal prongs and the glass wall of the bottle.

Remembering an old episode of Oz (a tv show about prison… someone was killed by feeding them ground glass in their meals), I knew that this was not a bottle we’d want to drink.A cork set in a two pronged cork extractor

Good thing it was a cheap bottle.

Second attempt, however, was flawless.
I can’t decide if I like this two pronged cork extractor more than my Screwpull. After all, I like being able to say that I do have at least one Screwpull. … Ok, so that’s really an aural joke. Not quite as funny on paper.

But, I’ll admit, using it gives off a certain bit of flair. Not quite saber opening the champagne, but… Well, that’s next week. Unless the fiance reads this…..

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Reader Comments

Try losing the exclamation point on the headline.Doesn’t anyone edit this stuff? jeesh.

As the author of the post, I’m obviously not a professional editor and likely lack knowledge of style guides. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to why an exclamation point is not acceptable at the end of the title of a blog post?

The two pronged device doesn’t always work well (for me) but can be useful on old corks that may crumble using a corkscrew. We have a waiters friend corkscrew with a small hinge on the side that sits on the neck of the bottle. It works brilliantly every time. Unfortunatley, I’ve never found another one of these corkscrews with the hinge.