How To Open A Wine Bottle When You Can't Find Your Corkscrew

There's nothing worse than coming home with a bottle of wine and realizing you don't have a corkscrew or, even worse, the cork breaks when you're trying to open the bottle. Whether it's been a long day, you just spent a quarter of your paycheck on wine, or a Saturday night with friends, the joy of wine-drinking can immediately switch over to rage territory when faced with such a predicament. It's surprising there aren't more "Law & Order" episodes about how someone went postal because they couldn't open a bottle of wine.


While once upon a time this might be the type of thing that could make anyone snap, cry, or shake their fist at the sky and ask the universe "why me?" it doesn't have to be like that anymore. That's right; you no longer have to go without wine just because you're missing a corkscrew or the corkscrew you had decided to wreak havoc on your bottle of wine.

Because you're likely to be frustrated when this happens, we're going to skip the really tricky ways of opening a wine bottle — like the more-often-than-not disastrous shoe method (via NPR) or the lighter method, because alcohol, fire, and a projectile cork can be a little risky (via Wesley's Wine Tips).

Instead, we're going to keep it simple and fairly danger-free and ultimately get that wine into your glass without too much trouble. So, sit back and take some notes.


The push in method

Sure, pushing the cork into a bottle of wine after it has broken off can cause chunks of cork in the wine. However, if the cork is still intact and you're just sans corkscrew, it may be a method you want to employ. You just need some strong fingers, but you can rest assured that it's a technique by which sommeliers swear.


"[Pushing the cork into the bottle] always gets the job done," winemaker Stuart Spoto of Spoto Family Wines tells Insider. "I've done it a hundred times. Take it slowly. Be cautious and patient."

To keep things as mess-free as possible, you'll want to have a towel around the bottle for the wine that's guaranteed to spray out. You can't push something into a full bottle without there being some sort of splash back. You'll also find that synthetic wine corks are more difficult to push in a bottle than traditional corks made from the bark of a tree (via Euronews). This has to do with the fact that the bark will absorb the wine, softening it, whereas synthetic corks don't have that quality.

The pry out method

If you're unable to or don't want to push the cork into the bottle, you can dig it out. The three best tools for prying a cork out are car keys, knives (ideally serrated), and wire hangers (via Cooking Light).


Using a wire hanger is just like using a corkscrew. However, if using a key, insert it into the cork at an angle, leaving just a bit of the key outside the cork, you can twist the cork clockwise and out of the bottle. Your movement simply needs to be slow so you don't damage a cork that might already be broken or a cork that's in the bottle.

If using a knife, insert the blade into the cork, and twist and pull up at the same time. The more of the cork that's out of the bottle, the better your chances of being able to put down the knife and wiggle it out with your hand. But don't jump to using your hand too early; you don't want to break that unbroken cork if you can avoid it.

Other items that can be used when you're in a bind include scissors, a screwdriver, and even string (via VinePair). No matter what technique you use, just make sure you have a towel on hand, and you're over the sink or outside. There's no telling where that wine might be splashing when you pull a DIY move.