How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew
To open a wine bottle without a corkscrew is, to the uninitiated, a daunting task. Thankfully however, there are a few little things you can try that may allow you to enjoy that long awaited bottle of wine. I’ve ordered these methods by means of less equipment required and most successful at the top (there are plenty of other methods not mentioned here, although they have very limited chance of success (although over the course of the ‘test day’, my cognitive ability did decrease significantly!)).
1- Place a towel or item of clothing on the bottom of the bottle, hold it horizontally, and gently bump the bottom of the bottle against a vertical solid object repeatedly. Use something like a tree to hit it against, as it will be softer on the surface meaning there is less chance of cracking the bottle. The cork will slowly be bumped out of the neck of the bottle. Be patient and don’t hit too hard! Alternatively you could hold the bottle upside down between your legs and strike the bottom of the bottle repeatedly with a shoe, although keep an eye on the progress of the cork to avoid losing your wine! Once the cork is protruding sufficiently, finish removing it with your hands.
2- Push the cork through. The disadvantage of this method is that the cork will be lost inside the bottle. Use a solid object, as thick as you can find yet still thin enough to fit in the neck of the bottle, to push the cork through. Take great care when using this method as the cork will displace the wine and some will more than likely squirt out. Should you adopt this method and be opening a bottle of red wine, at the very least, point the bottle away from your nice clothing. If possible, you can relieve the pressure and reduce squirting by piercing the cork all of the way through before you push it in.
3- Use a thin, sturdy knife. This method runs the risk of cutting yourself, breaking the cork, or breaking the blade of the knife. Hold the knife sideways and run it into the cork at an angle until the tip of the blade is against the opposite side of the neck. Hold onto the neck of the bottle using your less dominant hand, and use the side of your thumb as a fulcrum (similar to opening a beer bottle with a lighter), and try and slowly lever the cork out of the bottle. Keep your forefinger away from the lip of the bottle as otherwise it is very easy to stab yourself should the knife slip out. Please be careful when using this method!
4- Stick things in in order to get things out. The most successful of household objects to use here are wide threaded screws and pliers. There are many other methods advertised elsewhere, such as pushing knotted leather lace down the side of the cork or hammering nails in and then levering them out, however these methods are mostly infeasible.
Be patient. Being too forceful will either break the cork or the bottle.