Corkscrew Q&A

Corkscrew Q&A

Aprire il vino col cavatappi

Uncorking a bottle of wine is a gesture which is often performed automatically. But we must not forget that this is a delicate moment in the life of a wine and if all goes well, we usually tend to forget the presence of the cork at all. But when all does not go well, there is the risk of compromising the wine and its flavor and more importantly the tasting experience.

Any self-respecting wine lover has paused to reflect on this at least once and inevitably questions and doubts arise. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

Who invented the corkscrew?

shutterstock_192267299This seemingly simple and intuitive tool may have had its start as a tool used to remove bullets that remained trapped inside canons. Its history therefore may be distantly related to the production of weapons. According to another version, the corkscrew may have been nothing more than a modern form of a punch dowel.

One thing is certain, the instrument we today know as corkscrew had its start in the mid-17th century when the practice of aging wine in bottles became more common practice. Of course once wine was aged in bottles, the cork needed to be removed, hence the corkscrew.

The first patent however came only in 1975 in England, thanks to Reverend Samuel Henshall who ran mass production of them and from then on worked on optimizing them for more practical use.

How do you open a bottle of wine if the corkscrew breaks?

The best way to open a bottle of wine with a broken corkscrew is with dexterity and a corkscrew blade which has a different shape from the conventional corkscrew, allowing you to grip the corkscrew from the outside. This is especially important for old corkscrews which have absorbed a good amount of wine. Once the corkscrew blade is inserted in the space between the neck of the bottle and the cap, you can pull the handle turning it and pulling out the part of the cap that was stuck. If this is too complicated or if you do not have a corkscrew blade at hand, you can always push the cap into the bottle or make a hole in it to allow the liquid to pass through. Both of these solutions though require an additional step – wine filtration through a strainer into a decanter in order to remove any unwanted fragments in the bottle.

Can high pressure blow the cork off of a wine bottle?

Transporting wine bottles via airplane is safer than you think. The high-altitude pressure is not a problem in the cabin or even in the luggage hold. So you can easily buy your favorite wines before traveling as it isn’t a problem at all.

The temperature in the luggage hold is usually cool and constant so there is no risk of damaging the wine due to heat alteration. You do need to pack your wines well and be careful of any breakage due to unforeseen shock.