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Wing corkscrew wine openers

4 Different Types of Wine Openers and What to Use When

Electric, counter mount, lever — oh my! With so many different types of wine openers out there, here's the question of the day: What should you look for when purchasing a wine opener for your home or business?

You've likely used more than one type of wine opener before. And while all wine openers get the job done (when operated correctly), you're probably more comfortable with one type of opener simply because that's the one you've worked with the most. However, what if there's a better opener out there that can meet your budget, comfort, style, and needs?

Whether your beloved wine opener has broken and you can't find an exact replacement or you're simply in the market for a newer, better option, the below guide will help you discover your next wine opener.

Man's hands opening a wine bottle using a wine opener

4 Different Types of Wine Openers

While all wine openers have the same basic function — to open a bottle of wine — each type has its own unique set of benefits. In terms of strength, efficiency, ease of use, and comfort, what may work for one person may not work for someone else.

And although your budget may have the final word, don't allow price to be the only determining factor when it comes to picking out the best wine opener. You also need a wine opener that will always perform when you need it, without damaging the cork or requiring too much effort on your part.

So with the above in mind, let’s take a look at the 4 types of wine openers available to decide which one will work for you.

Type of Wine Opener: The Waiter's Friend

1. The Waiter's Friend

The waiter's friend, also known as the waiter's corkscrew, is a hinged opener that unfolds like a pocketknife. And also like a pocketknife, most waiter's corkscrews include a blade. The blade is used as a foil cutter.

Due to its small form factor (generally less than 5 inches long), the waiter's friend is the perfect option for portability. When folded away, it can fit neatly in your pocket.

This wine opener is incredibly basic, but that's also its charm. The waiter's friend is straightforward in its design, although it does require a little bit of trial and error to use it at first.

In case you need a quick primer, here's how to use the waiter's friend:

  • Cut the foil below the bottle's lower lip and discard.
  • Identify the center of the cork.
  • Insert the corkscrew a wee off-center.
  • Twist into the cork clockwise five to six half-turns.
  • Push the lever down onto the upper lip of the bottle.
  • Gently but confidently pull the cork out of the bottle by gripping the handle of the corkscrew. This should pull it half-way.
  • Push down the second lever onto the upper lip of the bottle.
  • Continue to remove the rest of the cork out of the bottle.

The waiter’s corkscrew is one of the most inexpensive options on this list, although you can certainly find higher priced versions depending on the finish.

Metal wing corkscrew

2. The Wing Corkscrew

The wing corkscrew is sometimes referred to as the butterfly corkscrew due to its design. As the screw is inserted into the wine cork, the two levers of the wing corkscrew raise up like arms. To extract the cork from the bottle, you fully twist the corkscrew worm and then push down on the two levers while holding onto the neck of the bottle to securely pop the cork out of place.

The winged corkscrew is one of the most commonly used wine openers on this list, and for good reason. Its butterfly design reduces the amount of effort you'll need to exert when extracting the cork. This design is also self-centering. You don't have to guess where to place the worm (which is what the actual screw part of the corkscrew is called). Instead, this design is foolproof.

Here's how to use a butterfly corkscrew:

  • Cut the foil under the bottle's lower lip and discard.
  • Position the self-centering base over the cork.
  • Twist the worm into the cork clockwise.
  • Continue to twist until the levers (or wings) raise up fully.
  • Push both levers down simultaneously.
  • The cork should pop out of the bottle and into the cavity of the corkscrew. To remove the cork, hold the cork steady with one hand and twist the top counterclockwise.

Since they're so popular, you'll easily be able to find a wing corkscrew anywhere, from big box stores to your local grocery. And just like the waiter's friend, the winged corkscrews are very affordable.

But despite their ease of use and affordability, these corkscrews have earned a negative reputation. Because they allow you to forcefully pull out a cork, a wing corkscrew can actually break old corks. So, if you're going to open an aged bottle of wine, you may want to reach for a different opener.

Red Rabbit Automatic Electric Corkscrew to use when you're a beginner

3. The Electric Corkscrew

If you're looking for a dead-simple corkscrew, look no further than the electric corkscrew. While they're not the cheapest option on this list, they're definitely the most beginner-friendly. Even if you've never opened a bottle of wine before in your life, you can use one of these corkscrews with confidence. They operate with the push of a button.

But these corkscrews aren't just beginner-friendly. They're also great for those with reduced arm strength or those suffering from joint inflammation such as arthritis.

If you can't or don't want to use hand strength to uncork wine, an electric corkscrew will be your best friend.

Here's how to use an electric corkscrew:

  • Cut the foil below the bottle's lower lip and discard.
  • Center the electric corkscrew over the bottle cork.
  • Ensure that the electric corkscrew remains completely vertical and is not leaning.
  • Press the button on the corkscrew to remove the cork, and you're done in seconds.
  • To retrieve the cork from the electric corkscrew, check the owner's manual for device-specific instructions
Steel Twist and Pull Corkscrew

4. The Twist and Pull Corkscrew

If you're looking for an old world and romantic corkscrew, you've got to consider the twist and pull corkscrew. Its simple t-shaped design is deceptive. Be warned: This wine opener is also old-fashioned and hard-to-master. It relies on an equal amount of brute force and skill and is not the type of corkscrew that you should opt for if you're hosting your first wine tasting party and you've never used it before.

Here's how to use a twist and pull corkscrew:

  • Cut the foil beneath the bottle's lower lip and discard.
  • Insert the worm into the cork just off-center.
  • Turn the cork in a clockwise motion until the worm is fully inserted into the cork.
  • After fully inserted, carefully but forcefully pull the cork out of the bottle.
  • To remove the cork from the worm, hold onto the cork and twist the corkscrew in a counterclockwise motion.

Final Thoughts

Which of the above wine openers is your favorite?

As you can see, you have a ton of options when it comes to opening up your next bottle of wine. Let your needs, budget, and your style lead you to the right opener for you. Contact us today to know what's the best wine storage solution for you. 

Milan Pavlovic

Milan is an experienced and knowledgeable wine cellar design specialist with a background in wine travel. He can help you create a wine cellar that is both functional and beautiful, and can also assist you in planning your next wine-tasting adventure. He has extensive experience in sizing the proper refrigeration systems to meet your project's needs. Milan has been designing wine cellars for years and has worked on a wide range of projects, from small residential cellars to large commercial ones. He has experience working with various materials, including wood, metal, and glass, and is well-versed in the latest wine storage technologies. He has also consulted for many wine collectors and wine connoisseurs.
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