How To Open A Wine Bottle Without A Corkscrew

So you’ve bought a lovely bottle of wine and are looking forward to enjoying it with your dinner. However, where is the corkscrew? You search high and low and can’t find it. What do you do? Well, there are other ways to get the cork out of your bottle. They are a little more difficult than using a corkscrew but many are efficient. We will give you 10 methods that you can use and hopefully you will find one or two that will help you.

1 – Twist out the cork with a screw hook

This is probably the easiest method and the one that succeeds most often. Instead of using a corkscrew, all you need is one screw hook so take a look in your toolbox to see if you have one. The bigger screw hook you can find, the better, as it will go further into the cork and will be stronger.

It is simple to use the screw hook. All you have to do is screw it into the cork so that it becomes a handle. Once it is secure, pull gently but firmly and the cork should come out. 

Alternatively, you can use a screw eye. A screw eye has a loop on one end and threaded shanks on the other. You screw it in the same way as if you were using a screw hook. It might even be more efficient as it is easier to hold onto a loop than a hook.

2 – Push the cork out by using the wall

This is not the safest method to use because the bottle could break but if you don’t have a toolbox, it is an option but be careful. 

First, get a towel and wrap it around the base of the wine bottle. Then, gently bang the bottle against the wall. With each bang, you can strike a little harder but this is where you have to be careful not to strike too hard. It is a matter of balance. The more times you use this method, the easier it will become to know how hard you can strike. 

What happens when you do this, is that the pressure pushes the cork out. However, you want to stop when the cork is about halfway out otherwise you risk the wine spilling out. 

Once the cork is part of the way out, put it on the table and manually pull it out with your hands. It should come out easily.  

The most important factor in this method is not to allow the bottle to have direct contact with the wall otherwise it has a high chance of breaking. You could even hold a magazine against the wall and strike the wine bottle at this. A thin book would also do or any piece of clothing.

3 – Pull the cork out with items from your toolbox

This is a much better method than the last but of course, you need a toolbox. Most people have, at least, a basic toolbox and this is all you need.

Find the longest screw you have and screw it into the cork. Don’t screw it all the way down. Halfway is best. When you have done this, make sure that the screw is secure otherwise you will have to start again. Get a hammer and, using the claw, grab the screw and pull gently, but firmly. The corkscrew should come out in a few pulls.

An alternative to a hammer is pliers and an alternative to screws are nails. However, if you use nails, don’t hammer them too far down. They need to go about halfway down with enough room left on top of the cork to insert a hammer or pliers. 

4 – Tap the cork out with a shoe

This is another one you have to be very careful with to avoid either spilling the wine or breaking the bottle. To be extra safe, wrap the base of the bottle with a towel or a piece of cloth of some sort. Then hold the bottle between your thighs, ensuring that you keep it steady. This won’t work if the bottle keeps moving and slipping. 

Get a flat shoe and start hitting the base of the bottle with it. Again, be gentle, but firm. Keep checking to see if the cork is coming out. You only want it to come out about halfway otherwise you might spill the wine on the floor! Once the cork is halfway, put it on the table and pull the cork out by hand. If you can’t get it out by hand, try pliers, but be gentle as you risk breaking the cork.

5 – Push the cork in with a pen

One of the easiest ways to remove a cork without a corkscrew is to push it into the bottle. One of the best tools to do this is a pen. It should be sturdy otherwise it might not be strong enough to do the job. You have to use the blunt end otherwise the cork could crumble and end up in the wine. You could use other tools such as the blunt end of a screwdriver.

If you use this method but don’t intend to drink the whole bottle that day, ensure that you have a bottle stopper. If you don’t have and leave it open, air will get into the bottle and oxidate your wine. It won’t be drinkable the following day.

6 – Fish the cork out with a hanger

This method isn’t the easiest but it can work if you are slow and steady. You will need your toolbox as you have to use pliers. Then, get a wire hanger from your wardrobe and cut a straight part with the pliers. Make sure that it is a long piece so that it can get all the way into the bottle. 

The next step is to use the pliers to curve the wire to make it look like a hook. You then need to push the curved end in between the cork and the bottle until you reach the bottom of the cork. Then push it under the cork and pull it out. This may take some strength but you still have to be gentle but firm otherwise you could break the cork and who wants corked wine? If you do cork your wine, you will have to run it through a sieve which is not ideal, especially if you have guests.  

An alternative would be to use paper clips. Get six and join three of each together. Straighten out the bottom clips leaving a curve at the end. Then put one strip down one side between the bottle and the cork and the other down the other side. Once the curved parts reach the bottom of the cork, push them under the cork and pull. You may need a little strength as paper clips aren’t as strong as wire hangers.  We don’t think this is the best method but it’s worth a try if you haven’t anything else. \

7 – Swirl the cork out with a key

Everybody has a key, right? Any key will do but the longer the better as you are going to have to insert it into the cork and the further down you can get it, the easier it will be to pull out. You will want it to be long enough to go halfway into the cork leaving enough of the key for you to get a grip of to pull out the cork. 

The first thing to do is to use the key to break the top hard bit of the cork. Then insert the key in the soft part and twist it down. When it is halfway down, twist it around with an upward tug. The cork should start to come out. Keep doing this until it is completely out. Make sure that you don’t rush this process otherwise the cork could break and you probably won’t be able to get it out. You could then try and get it out by pushing the cork inside the bottle with a pen but then it is highly likely that the wine would be corked. 

Alternatives to a key are knives or scissors but go gently as they are sharp and could easily break the cork.

8 – Pop the cork out with a bicycle pump

This method is more fun than practical and it might be entertaining if you have guests. Of course, you do have to have a bicycle pump but if you do, why not try it even if you have a corkscrew? It is easy and can be more successful than some other methods we have mentioned.

Your bicycle pump must have a needle as you will want to stick it all the way into the cork. Once you have done this, start pumping. The cork will pop out in no time and you will have satisfied guests.

9 – Use a lighter to remove the cork

This method can be a little dangerous so we recommend caution if you do use it. The first thing to do is to ensure that your bottle isn’t cold as if you put heat on a cold bottle, it could explode and you will have wine and glass everywhere, not the best scenario. Because of this, we suggest you only do this with a bottle of red wine which won’t be cold, unlike a bottle of white. 

Put the bottle of wine on a flat surface and then light up your lighter. Put the flame against the bottle just below where the cork ends. With a little time and patience, the cork will fly out. Make sure that there is nobody close by or anything valuable.

10 – Slice the cork with a sword

Now, this really isn’t something we expect you to do as it is highly unlikely that you will have a sword at home! However, we are mentioning it because it is done by sommeliers and top chefs. You may have seen it performed on TV. It is quite spectacular and if done right, no wine will be lost. The sword slices through the neck taking the cork with it. When done professionally, it is a clean cut and there will be no glass in the wine. However, always check your glass if, for some strange reason, you are able to use this method. This is usually done with bottles of champagne.

What to Keep in Mind

  • Take off the outer casing on the wine bottle. 
  • Take heed of the safety measures we have mentioned to avoid corked or spilled wine, or exploding bottles. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, our suggestions will help you if you find yourself without a corkscrew and want to open a bottle of wine. Some are easier than others but it all depends on what tools you have handy. We are sure that you will have something we have mentioned so that you can enjoy a delicious glass of wine. 

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