How to Open a Bottle of Wine with Everything But a Corkscrew

Rachel Tepper Paley
January 17, 2014

Say you’re stranded on a desert island with nothing but a bottle of wine and—inexplicably!—the contents of your entire junk drawer. But a corkscrew is nowhere to be found amidst the clutter.

What do you do? 

This is a stressful time for you, being shipwrecked and all. You need that full-bodied Malbec with notes of black cherry and mild acidity that has landed on your island with you. Here’s how you’re going to get the damn thing open. We’re not saying these methods are easy or particularly safe, but you’re in a jam, and they WILL get the job done. Proceed with caution.

1. With a shoe.

Good thing you were wearing dress shoes when your plane went down! And, astonishgly, there’s a nice hard wall on this desert island. 

2. With a bike pump.

And you thought you wouldn’t have use for that bike pump you happen to have. Silly you!

3. With house keys.

Be relieved you didn’t forget your keys at home. Hopefully you have some mirrored shades, which in this video seem integral to making this approach work. 

4. With a toothbrush.

Dental hygiene is important. So is maintaining a good buzz.

5. With a steak knife.

Too bad there isn’t any steak around to go with that knife. Whatevs, get drinking!

6. With a screwdriver and a piece of string.

This one involves string and knots. How nautical! Next step: building a raft.

7. With a wire hanger.

Bonus: Afterward the wire can be fashioned into a trap for catching fish. (We’re trying to be helpful, people.)

8. With a screw hook.

Works just like a corkscrew, except shipwreck-ier!

9. With a metal file.

Afterward, use the file to fashion a crude hut using tree branches and coconut fronds. Shelter! (Warning: This video has a certain nails-on-the-chalkboard sound quality that may induce a real immediate for wine). 

10. With a pair of hot tongs.

Just start a fire using those ol’ Girl Scouts skills, and heat up them port tongs.

11. With a power drill.

Wait, there’s electricity on this island? It’s friggin’ inhabited, you dingaling! Why are you wasting time drinking wine? Go get help!


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