In this episode of Wine School, Ray and Hallie put questionable wine tricks to the test.

By Bridget Hallinan
June 22, 2020
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There are different hacks out there for opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew, like using a shoe. In this episode of Wine School, Ray and Hallie try a few and see which ones actually work. Ray makes it clear early on that using a corkscrew is obviously the best method for opening a bottle of wine, and he particularly likes waiter-style corkscrews because they’re affordable, easy to find, and seamless to use. (Indeed, when we tested 15 different corkscrews to find the best one, a waiter’s corkscrew came out on top.) Nevertheless, he’s game to test out the tips Hallie found—well, except for the one involving the blowtorch.

Here are all the hacks they tried:

Screw and hammer

This trick involves inserting a screw into the middle of the cork using a screwdriver, and then pulling it out with the end of a hammer head (the forked part). It’s not the most efficient way to open a wine bottle, but it does end up working with little bit of effort.

Wooden spoon

All you have to do is take the end of the handle of the wooden spoon and use it to push the cork into the bottle. It works, but as you’ll see when Hallie tries to pour a glass, you have to be mindful of the cork blocking the neck of the bottle and therefore the flow of wine.

Blowtorch

The blowtorch method Hallie dug up online involves applying the flame to the neck of the bottle. Ray vetoes it.

Wire hanger

Ray and Hallie take wire hangers and twist the ends to form hooks using hammers, so they can use the hangers to wiggle the corks out. Although Hallie is eventually able to get her hanger into the wine bottle, the method doesn't work.

The boot

Last up is the “smack it” method. This involves wrapping two towels around the bottle and banging it repeatedly against the wall (taking care not to hit it too hard and break the bottle). Ray and Hallie end up placing the bottle inside of a boot instead to try the shoe method—no matter how many times (and different walls) they try, the cork does not come out.