There’s nothing worse than buying a nice bottle of wine to share amongst friends only to find out that you forgot to bring a corkscrew.
But, that shouldn’t be the end of the party. There are plenty of different ways to open up a wine bottle without having to use a wine bottle opener, or a corkscrew.
Let’s take a look at some cool hacks for opening your wine bottle when you don’t have the proper tools available.
And in case you haven’t figured it out already, these hacks only pertain to wine bottles that are sealed with a cork. If you have a twist off bottle and you’re having trouble opening it, we suggest drying your hands off a bit, or using a jar opener to help you out.
The methods we list below will not help you with a stubborn twist-off top, but rather with a corked bottle.
I know it sounds pretty obvious, but we just want to make sure nobody hurts themselves trying to open a twist-off wine bottle using these hacks below.
Opening a Wine Bottle Without Any Extra Tools
These methods will tell you how to open that corked wine bottle without any extra tools required. This means, all you need is the wine bottle itself and a little force. They may not be the best methods, or the most recommended ways to open your wine bottle, but if you’re in a pinch with no other options, these can do the trick.
Push the Cork Down
This method is probably easier if you have something extraneous to use to push down on the cork, but theoretically it can be done with just your fingers.
There’s really not much to this trick, you just push the cork down into the bottle instead of pulling it out.
Since it would be impossible to get your fingers down into the bottle to pull the cork up, you can use your fingers to push it the opposite direction, into the bottle so that the wine can flow freely into your glasses.
It’s not the easiest method since the cork expands and generally makes a good seal at the top of the bottle, but with the right hands and the time, this can be done without any extra tools.
If you’re looking for something to help with this, the blunt end of silverware can help, a stick, the handle of a wooden spoon, or anything that can give you a bit of leverage when pushing down on the cork itself.
There are some downsides to this method though. For one, the cork is now in the bottle and can probably never be removed. So you’ll have to live with it floating around in there and probably blocking the top of the bottle at times when you go to pour.
The other downside is that sometimes cork can degrade over time. And if that starts to happen, and the cork is now floating in the bottle, you could end up with remnants of cork in your glass. It won’t hurt you, but it’s going to be weird taking a sip and finding a chunk of cork in your mouth.
The Slap or Shoe Method
Ok, so this method doesn’t quite require “no” extra tools, but in most cases someone in your group is going to have a shoe on them, or with them, so it’s not a stretch to assume that you’ll have the tools needed for this method.
There are two ways you can handle this method, but the idea is the same.
The first way involves your shoe and a wall. Put the bottle of wine in your shoe (you can also use a towel, or a thicker magazine, just something to pad the bottom of the bottle), then you’re going to smack the bottom of the wine bottle against the wall repeatedly until the cork comes out enough for you to manually pull it the rest of the way.
Don’t go too overboard when slapping the bottle against the wall, you don’t want to break the bottle.
If you don’t have a wall available, say you’re sitting around a campfire for example, then you can simply take the bottle, place it upside down between your legs, and slap the bottom of the bottle with your shoe until the cork loosens enough for you to pull it out the remainder of the way.
Methods That Require Extra Tools
These next couple methods will require a little more than what you may have on you at any given time, but in most cases you’ll be able to find the tools you’ll need.
Car Keys / Knife Method
This method will require either your car keys or a serrated knife.
Essentially all you’re going to do here is push your keys or your knife into the cork at a 45-degree angle (straight down will either push the cork into the bottle or it won’t give you the grip you need), and then you’re going to begin to twist the cork while pulling it back out.
Since the keys/knife has a serrated edge to it, it should grip the cork enough for you to wiggle it out and remove it from the bottle.
The Screw Method
Not everyone is going to have a screw, screwdriver, and a hammer laying around, but if you do, this method will work better than the keys/knife method.
Take the screw and use the screwdriver to screw it into the cork. Leave enough room that you can get the back of the hammer underneath the screw. Use the hammer to remove the screw as if you were removing an old nail from a piece of wood.
The screw should grab on to the cork and pull it out as your tilting the hammer.
Methods We Don’t Recommend
The methods below are a little more dangerous than the ones we’ve already described. But if you’re desperate and have these things available to you, they can work wonders for getting that cork out of your wine.
Have a blowtorch laying around? Grab it and begin to heat up the neck of the bottle just below the cork. As the air expands in the bottle it will begin to push the cork out of the bottle.
Be careful with cold wine bottles though. When cold bottles are exposed to extreme heat they can easily shatter or explode if you’re not careful. If this is your method of choice, we would suggest waiting until the bottle is a little warmer instead of right out of the wine cooler.
We’ve all seen the videos of someone with a long sword (saber) slice off the top of the wine (or champagne) bottle in one sweeping motion.
This method can be useful and extremely satisfying if done correctly, but it is dangerous and will slice off the top of the glass, leaving it very sharp.
Basically, you just want to slide the saber, machete, or even a spoon (if you’re good enough) in a quick motion along one of the seams of the bottle towards the opening/cork. You’ll want to make sure that your blade is at a slight angle before you swipe up towards the opening of the bottle, and be sure to swing through (don’t stop at the cork).
And of course, make sure you’re not aiming the bottle at anyone.
Forgetting the corkscrew or wine opener isn’t the end of the world. There are always other methods you can use to open the wine bottles but be careful when using any of these methods as they can cause the bottle to break or become sharp in certain cases. A corkscrew or wine opener is always going to be your best bet, but at least you know the party won’t be ruined if you forget them!