What to Do When You Have No Wine Opener

Little in life is more irritating than staring at a lovely vintage you cannot drink – because you have no wine opener. Whether you are enjoying an outdoor picnic or camped out at home with your favorite varietal and friends on a rainy night, finding out you are without this essential tool can put a damper on even your finest plans. But what if you knew how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew? Learn about four other ways to open wine that will suffice in a pinch.

Use a Knife

If you have a serrated knife, you can mimic the action of a traditional manual corkscrew. The ideal knife will have a narrow and very sharp serrated (ridged) blade. First, use the blade to remove the foil (foil can make removing the cork more difficult). Next, carefully insert the knife blade into the center of the cork. Begin to rock the knife back and forth, twisting gently as you do. As the cork begins to work its way out, continue pulling the knife up and out until the cork comes free. You can also try this tactic with a paring knife or even a pocket knife.

Use Pliers and a Screw

This method can be even more effective than a serrated knife for very narrow bottles. Grip the screw with the pliers and gently “screw” it into the center of the cork. When you are finished, there should be about one-half an inch of screw left visible. Then gently and firmly pull on the pliers until the cork works free.

Use a Coat Hanger

A coat hanger is another handy all-purpose tool – if you have ever locked your keys in your car, you already know the value of a spare coat hanger. For best results you want a cheap wire coat hanger that you can easily bend. Using your fingers (or pliers if needed), untwist the coat hanger. Then bend one end into a u-shape (it should look like a fish hook). Insert the coat hanger – hook sideways and parallel with the side of the bottle – between the bottle lip and the cork. When the coat hanger is all the way in, twist the hook until it is centered beneath the cork with the tip inserted. Then begin to pull on the coat hanger until the cork is forced up and out.

Use a Corn Cob Gripper

For those who enjoy piping hot buttery corn on the cob, you can already visualize the relief of gripping two corn cob grippers rather than the ends of the hot cob itself. The good news is, these grippers can perform a similar task for a wine cork as well. Just screw one corn cob gripper into the cork then exert firm and steady pressure to force the cork up and out.


With these handy tips, you can enjoy a delicious bottle of wine whenever and wherever you are – even if you don’t have a wine opener to pop the cork for you!


About the Author: Marvin Serrantos is passionate about wine. His favorite is red – a fact that his extensive personal cellar readily discloses. He frequently recommends to friends to purchase red wine at CityWineCellar.com.

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