It’s time to put the Best Corkscrews and Wine Keys, According to Pros to the test. Over the years we’ve had a number of great tools come through the vine, and there’s no question that some of them are better than others. To get the real scoop on what’s best for you, we asked a number of sommeliers and wine professionals what their favorite corkers are. Take a look and tell us which of these five picks you’d like to have in yours!
I’ve tried many cork screw and wine key products, but the most common problem that I have found with the majority of them is that they are poorly made. This may be due to the fact that not all of them have a quality control process in place that ensures they are made from the highest quality materials, or perhaps the cork screw or wine key is poorly designed from the start. Either way, if you are looking for a cork screw or wine key, you may want to consider a more serious option, such as a Corkscrew King.It can be hard to find a corkscrew or wine key that you feel comfortable with.
What is the difference between these two instruments? The corkscrew has two levers that lift the cork, and an upper trigger that rotates to create leverage to pull the cork. A wine key, also known as a corkscrew, has a small blade and uses a metal pivot point on the rim of the bottle to create leverage and lift and remove the cork.
A good wine wrench or corkscrew should be sharp enough to easily pierce the cork, have a good grip and most importantly be easy to use. Often inferior corkscrews can damage the cork, leaving small wood splinters in the glass, or completely destroy the cork, making it impossible to open the wine.
If you’re looking for a wine key or corkscrew, here are a few that sommeliers swear by.
Yannick Benjamin, sommelier and co-founder of Wine On Wheels, opens a bottle with the Pulltex Pulltap Black Cordoba / Photo: Michael Lipiansky
I love the Pulltex Pulltap Black Cordoba corkscrew, which I think is the best corkscrew on the market if you’re looking for a traditional waiter’s corkscrew, says Yannick Benjamin, sommelier and co-founder of Wine On Wheels, a group of wine professionals who raise money for charity.
This beautiful corkscrew has an elegant black horn handle that allows you to open your wine in two steps, as it features a stainless steel double lever system. It feels great in my hands and since I started using this corkscrew in 2012, I have never used another corkscrew.
We find Pulltap double-hinged corkscrews in our back pockets, on the bottom of our bags [and] even in our car cup holders. Let’s just say there’s always one available, says Caitlin Frame, co-owner of Sunny’s Natural Wine Shop in Amesbury, Mass.
For me, it also served as an incentive when I had to talk to a particularly talkative client.
Our favorite corkscrew for wine is Coutale’s two-lever, spring-action corkscrew, says Rachel Pronovost, co-owner of Curio Coffee & Wine in Cambridge, Mass. We like that it’s fast, easy on the cap and soft on the wrist. The cap cutter is pretty good, but generally you grab the bottle and yank the cap off as fast as you can.
Brittany Galbraith, wine director at Dedalus Wine Bar, opens a bottle with her Houdini corkscrew / photo courtesy of Dedalus Wine Bar
When serving guests or teaching, I show my superiority by taking our Houdini two-level corkscrew, says Brittany Galbraith, wine director at Dedalus Wine Bar in Vermont.
The key’s lightweight frame, short blade and convenient dual system make it an easy-to-hold and easy-to-use tool that allows us to concentrate on the important task of pouring delicious wines for our guests. Plus, I like it when they get bored and the hinge loosens up a bit. For more delicate corks, I get my favorite Ah So opener.
CorkscrewLigne W L’Essentiel / Photo : Bruno Pellarin
I have worked with many wine keys, some of which were very expensive. One brand [Laguiole World Sommelier Series] kept breaking despite its beauty and durable material with a long manufacturing history, and my Code 38 wine keys kept getting stolen, says Pascaline Lepeltier, partner at Racines NY and winemaker at Chëpìka.
So I was looking for a very affordable wine key that offered the quality I needed. The Laguiole W L’Essentiel has a barely serrated, long handled blade that will not need sharpening for many years. It also has a long titanium screw for long caps and tight Diams-type caps, a double edge and a good grip. The price and warranty are also very interesting. We began to develop merchandising for the chëpìka and chose this particular option. I wish it had been more environmentally friendly.
During my career as a winemaker, I managed to collect the keys to wine, says Margo Mazur, wine writer and lecturer at The Fizz.
They’re everywhere: at the bottom of every grocery bag, in the pockets of my coat, sometimes burning a hole in the back pocket of my jeans. Some of these wine keys are durable, others are not. But when I want to use something special, I pull out a wine key I bought at the Bordeaux Tourism Office on a trip to Bordeaux in 2018. It is sturdy, with a good weight and has a very sharp screw, which is very important for a good wine tool. I love it so much I even got a tattoo. The closest is a double cellar corkscrew – a little more expensive than some of the other options, but you use those when special bottles pop up.
Published on 21. June 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
What wine key do sommeliers use?
The wine key is a tool used by sommeliers to identify the type of wine they are tasting.
Which wine opener is best?
The best wine opener is the one that you are most comfortable with.
What is the best kind of corkscrew?
A wine opener.
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