The Wine Drinker's Bar: Wine Openers

Wine? Check. Glasses? Check. So what's next? A wine opener!

You may think that what type of corkscrew you have may not matter. If you're good with it and the bottle gets opened, you're right -- it doesn't really, but each have their pros and cons, so if you haven't purchased one already, I'll give you the scoop.

In general, I would say there are five types of wine openers: what I call the traditional, the waiter, the winged, the screwpull, and the Rabbit. There are couple more, but these are the ones I see most frequently.

The Traditional

The traditional is a tricky one. Pros? You can't get much simpler with just a handle and a worm (the curly part). Cons? I have found these to be very difficult, and if you don't get a high quality one, they can break easily. I (stupidly) purchased a cheap one while out of town for work and the worm broke off in my cork. Overall, I'd say unless you're a pro at opening bottles, there are much better options. The one in the photo is a nice one from Le Creuset. I've found it to be sold from $25 - $75, but I've also seen traditional ones for cheap as $2.99. If you go this route, stay away from the $2.99 ones. To watch a video on how to use this type of corkscrew, click here.

The Waiter

The waiter is the wine opener that everyone knows because you've seen it in restaurants... hence, its name. Pros? They are easy to take with you anywhere or store in a kitchen drawer since they are compact. You can find one at pretty much any store, and they are relatively inexpensive. The one pictured from Crate & Barrel is $10, which is about average, but you can find them as cheap as $1.50. Again, they're usually cheaper for a reason, so I'd spend a few extra dollars and get a quality one. You can also find VERY expensive ones, but I'd stick with the $8-15 range. Cons? They can be tricky for new wine drinkers to use. They take some coordination and it can be difficult to get the worm centered well in the cork. That being said, with a little practice, I think this is the best choice if you are looking for an inexpensive option. To see a video on how to use a waiter's corkscrew, click here.

Tip: if you're new to a waiter's corkscrew, you can look for one that is "double hinged" (such as this one) which makes it easier to get the cork out as it provides a second hinge to resist against the bottle once the cork is over halfway out.

The Winged

If you already own a wine opener, I would put money that it is a winged one. They are extremely popular due to their ease of use and are also in just about every store next to the waiter's corkscrew. They are also inexpensive, ranging from $5 up to $40, but on average, I'd say they are probably $10-15. However, I have probably broken the most corks using a winged wine opener. I'm not sure the exact reason, but it's likely due to the short worm and because it can be difficult to center the opener over the bottle of wine. I've also had bottles where the neck was too big for my winged opener! While I certainly understand its popularity, I would advise someone who hasn't purchased a wine opener to use a different one -- either the waiter, screwpull, or go all out for the Rabbit, but that's just my opinion. To see a video on how to use a winged wine opener, click here.

The Screwpull

I feel like I should put a disclaimer on this one that I've never personally used a screwpull type wine opener. However, during my readings and after watching several videos for this post, it seems that it is a very easy wine opener to use, as long as you have no trouble with your wrist. This type of opener does require constant twisting, but the opener does all of the work by itself by lowering the worm into the cork and then coming back out. You can see a video of how to use one here. They seem a little bit harder to find in a typical box store compared to the waiter or winged, but I've found them online for prices ranging from $20-50.

The Rabbit

I call this one the Rabbit solely because the main brand I see with this type is Rabbit. There are others, but the one I've pictured specifically is amazing. I had seen a couple people with these and desperately wanted one, so I added it to our registry earlier this year. Pros? Super easy to use as it only takes a lever to take the cork out. See a video on how this contraption works here. Cons? They are pricey. The one pictured above from Crate & Barrel is $50, but I've seen $100 ones too. I was told you can find The Palm Restaurant version at HomeGoods sometimes for about $30, so that is how I'd combat the price. Also, it is bulky, so if you have limited space, I'd stick to the screwpull or waiter. However, if you love wine and have the space for it, I think this is a very fun gadget to have.