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July 17, 2015

Up Your Wine Game: How to Open a Bottle of Wine

Happy Friday everyone! Today marks the first post from a series I call “Up Your Wine Game”. Periodically I’ll be sharing ways in which you can learn something new and up your wine game! For example: Ever wondered how bubbles get in bubbly? What the heck are tannins? Screw cap vs cork?

Today, it’s all about getting the damn bottle open! There have been many wine openers on the market over time, and to be honest, most of them are crappy.  Exhibit A and B.

Exhibit A

                  Exhibit A

Exhibit B


Sure, they’ll do the job, and if you need to get the bottle open and have no other options, it doesn’t matter what you use, right? But when you do have a choice, here’s how it should go.

I (along with all other somms) recommend the Waiters Friend Corkscrew. Exhibit C.

Exhibit C

              Exhibit C

This opener is different than other openers because there is a 2-hinge construction which allows the cork to come out in 2 steps, ensuring that the cork comes out straight and doesn’t break in half.  Most other corkscrews look very similar, though they only have 1-hinge (See Exhibit B). You can get a great Waiters Friend Corkscrew in most places; they are not hard to find. Click here to see a good one available on (also a great wine blog that I highly recommend!). The good news is that it is under $10.

Here are your quick and easy steps on how to properly open a bottle of wine.

Step 1: Cut the foil. This is where that handy dandy little knife on the corkscrew comes in handy. You take the knife and slice open the foil just below the part on the neck that juts out. You do one slice for the front half and one slice for the second half.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2: Remove the foil. I do this by making a single slice up on the foil. You can then unwrap the foil with your hands, and it should just fall off.

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3: Insert corkscrew (with the corkscrew flat/perpendicular to the bottle) just off center into the cork.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4: Stand the corkscrew up straight and twist it down 6 times (fun fact: it’s always 6 turns to get the corkscrew in the cork!). Be sure to leave 1 curl at the bottom unscrewed.

Step 5: Put the lever on the 1st hinge on the lip of the bottle of wine and pull the “handle” up. This was a tough cork. Note the face:)


Step 6: Once the cork comes out as much as it can (about halfway), move the 2nd hinge onto the lip of the bottle and pull the handle up. At that point, the cork should pop out.

Extra Credit: Don’t pull the cork out so hard that you hear a popping noise That’s not cute. Same thing with a Champagne cork. No popping please. Wait until the cork is ALMOST out, maintain full control, and pull the cork out ever so slightly. You should hear a “whisper” as it comes out. If you take on this extra credit, you will MAJORLY up your wine game. Most people like to pop bottles, make a lot of noise, and feel cool by doing it. And to be honest, most people around you won’t know the difference. But for those wine people that are sprinkled among us, one less bottle that is “popped” is music to our ears. We really appreciate good wine opening technique:)

Cheers and happy Friday!

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a Los Angeles-based certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer.

Brianne has educated and entertained over 10,000 people through her in-person and virtual wine tasting experiences.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping people Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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