Welcome to F&W Gear Guides. Each week on Wednesday, we publish a buyer’s guide to an essential piece of kitchen gear based on real world testing. Missed an installment? Find them all here.
After testing 15 corkscrews over multiple dinner parties, we found the best classic waiter’s friend, a wonderful but extraordinarily costly upgrade, a very nice lever corkscrew, an electric model that beats its competition and a one-of-a-kind opener that’s ideal if you frequently open older bottles.
The Search for the Best Corkscrew
As long as wine has been packaged in glass bottles—since the 17th century, roughly—there have been tools designed for the safe removal of cork stoppers. Although they came in many shapes and sizes, most antique corkscrews were variations on the screwpull model. That is, a metal helix (also called a “worm”) sometimes encased in a frame that could be twisted down vertically into a cork, requiring the person wielding it to brace the bottle and tug firmly upwards until the cork emerged, often with a cartoonish popping sound. Screwpulls are still around today. And still effective, too, though I would exercise caution when using one on a bottle of red while wearing a white blouse or dress.