You want the drama of a bottle of wine to be the in the pour, not in a mighty and messy struggle to open it. But opening a wine bottle does not have to be stressful. These days, there are options suited to every wine drinker. Elizabeth Schneider, author of Wine for Normal People ($20.80, amazon.com) and host of the award-winning podcast of the same name, recommends looking at what those who are constantly opening a lot of bottles of wine use—it's a good indicator of what works well.
Whichever of these options you choose, once the bottle is open, both you and the wine can breathe easy.
There's a reason this style is beloved by waiters (and many others). It's small, easily fits in a pocket, and once you get the motion down, it's really a bulwark of efficiency. Schneider says it's her favorite option for everyone to get a clean pull without breaking the cork. You can choose a single or double hinge, but make sure to buy a version that feels sturdy, heavy, and weighted. Schneider says definitely go for the one with a serrated blade instead of a straight blade, "so you don't end up in the emergency room" when cutting through the foil before you insert the cork puller. Then simply plunge the corkscrew in the middle, turn until just one loop is showing, rest the fulcrum on the lip of the bottle and pull, lifting the cork up and out with a satisfying pop. "The trick is to get the worm in the center of the cork," she says.
It requires some dexterity and practice, but once mastered, the waiters corkscrew is seamless and will last. "The best investment is to learn how to use it," Schneider says.
Shop Now: Franmara Hugger Waiters Corkscrew, $6.99, amazon.com.
Courtesy of Bed, Bath & Beyond
A wide range of brands make electric corkscrews with varying features: button-operated or automatic, battery-operated, or rechargeable. These are especially good for those lacking hand strength because they require little physical effort. They're also great for opening a lot of bottles in a row—think wine tasting party or a big family gathering.
Shop Now: Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener $29.99, bedbathbeyond.com.
Easy to use, this feat of engineering opens the bottle without removing the cork. The needle punctures the cork without letting oxygen in and pressurizes the bottle with argon gas to pour. Why does this matter? With the cork in place, the remaining wine is preserved in the bottle for a longer period of time so you don't have to rush to drink it all at once. Who doesn't appreciate staying power? "It's great if you are a single person, or if you like red and your husband likes white and you want to open both," says Schneider. You do have to stock up on the argon cartridges to insert. This wine opener is on the pricier side, but let's consider it an appliance—one that does its job well.
Shop Now: Coravin Model One, $199.95, crateandbarrel.com.
Original Rabbit Lever Manual Corkscrew
While Rabbit makes an electric version, their original manual version is memorable for its distinctive look. It opens a bottle quickly and then automatically releases the cork. It's smooth, ergonomic, and easy to use. The only downside is that it is on the larger side.
Shop Now: Rabbit Wine Corkscrew with Foil Cutter, $36.69, amazon.com.
Courtesy of Amazon
This handy little device is a crucial tool for peeling away the foil or wax that covers the cork, making it easier for a corkscrew to do its job. Avoid the temptation to plunge right into a foil-covered bottleneck with a corkscrew without first removing that layer. You'll end up on the wrong end of a tug-of-war. Instead, use the cutter first. Cutters are sometimes sold with corkscrews, and range from a couple of dollars to "sommelier" quality models. This one, we think, does the trick.
Shop Now: J.A. Henckels Sommelier Accessories Stainless Steel Foil Cutter, $19.95, amazon.com.
Don't overlook the merits of a bottle with a screw cap. "It's easier and doesn't mean the wine is low quality," says Schneider. "They've come so far and are especially good for young wines."