If you find yourself with an unopened bottle of wine, guests on the way and lacking a corkscrew, don’t despair. You don’t have to rush to the store to buy a corkscrew — there are alternative methods of opening your wine that are easy to do.
Disclaimer: if done incorrectly, these tricks won’t work and you can actually ruin your wine or hurt yourself. While these methods have been proven to work more often than not, they aren’t 100 percent guaranteed.
Use A Hammer
This method is pretty simple, but can require a fair amount of strength. All you need is a long screw and a hammer. To open the bottle, take the screw and gently twist it into the cork. You can either use a screwdriver or just twist it in with your fingers.
Don’t screw it all the way in, though — be sure to leave the screw sticking far enough out of the cork that you can put the hammer’s back under it. Once the screw is secure, wedge the hammer under it and pull the cork out of the bottle’s neck.
Whack It Out
This one is a bit strange, and until you try it you might be convinced it won’t work. But people have had success with this unconventional method in the past, so it’s worth a shot. All you need is a shoe with a thick rubber sole.
To extract the cork, hold a shoe in one hand and the bottle in the other. Place the base of the bottle into the shoe and just give the bottom of the shoe a few strong whacks against a solid wall, so the bottle is parallel to the ground. This should create pressure that will push the cork out of the bottle, but don’t keep whacking until the cork flies out — this could be dangerous and it’s an easy way to lose a lot of your wine. Instead, whack the bottle until the cork is protruding from the neck enough that you can pull it out the rest of the way.
Pump It Out
If you have a bike pump, this is an easy trick to use. Stick the pump needle through the cork until it comes out the other side in the bottle, between the cork and the wine. Then just pump. Like the whacking method, this will create pressure that will push the cork out of the neck.
Push It Down
Though this might not be the best method, it’s simply an option to turn to if need be. Just take a blunt object, such as the base of a wooden spoon, and push the cork down into the bottle. This will free the neck and allow you to pour your wine, but the cork will still be floating at the bottom and there is no real way to remove it. This means the cork could get in the way while pouring and clog the neck or the cork could start to fall apart in the wine.
In this method, you’re essentially using your keys in place of the corkscrew. Just stab down into the cork with one of your keys, plunging it as deep as it can go. Then, carefully, wiggle the keys and work the corkscrew out. This method is simple, but tricky — you have to be mindful to not to rip the cork to shreds.
This method is a bit more dangerous because it’s easy for the knife to slip and cut your hand, so if you choose to use it make sure to move slowly and carefully. Take a serrated knife, stick it to the very edge of the cork where it meets the glass, and start twisting the bottle to work the knife between the cork and the neck. As you twist the bottle, begin lifting the cork with the knife and it should slowly start to work its way out.