Your Screwing Preferences (Giveaway!)

Vinted on March 15, 2010 binned in giveaways, wine products

I’m talking about corkscrews, people.

Geez, what were you thinkin’?  Honestly, this is about wine, it’s supposed to be sophisticated, right?  So get your mind out of the gutter already!

Since I read up on the topic of corkscrews in the excellent Pocket Edition of Wine For Dummies, I’ve been wondering what corkscrews people prefer.  Also, giveaways of some excellently cool wine gear are involved, so pay attention!

A few days ago, I had a visit from a buddy of mine who just passed his WSET Dimploma, and we got to opening, well, a lot of wine to celebrate.  My buddy is left-handed, and he has a left-handed waiter’s friend corkscrew, which doesn’t sound all that strange until you try to insert the thread of the left-handed corkscrew into a cork using the common right-handed approach, and then it more or less becomes a total mind-f*ck.  It’s like trying to tie your shoes backward.

I find that wine geeks (like me) tend to get almost religiously passionate about their corkscrews.  Or, in my case at least, passionate about the corkscrews that they don’t like.

My corkscrew of choice is the waiter’s friend model (portable & trusty), but I’ll gladly use any corkscrew that has a thread that will easily insert into the cork without destroying it. Which is why I despise “winged corkscrews” with an angry passion bordering on jihad; those things tear up a cork mercilessly, and I’m convinced the model was designed by someone who hates wine and thought it would be funny watching wine lovers chew on bits of cork while they were sipping their favorite beverage.  Jerks.

Anyway, today I’m teaming up with, purveyors of wine goodies and accessories, to find out what corkscrew styles YOU prefer, and to give you free stuff! (read on for dets)…

Leave a comment and talk about your fave corkscrew (and of course, why it’s your favorite).  I will randomly select FOUR winners from the commenters, using a super-secret process involving my dog, who will win one of four way-cool prizes from True Fabrications (in descending order of awesomeness):

  1. Chrome Nautilus Corkscrew – “Works with just a squeeze of the hand.” Not that you need it, you stud.  Chrome finish. Comes with foil cutter and extra worm ($29.95 value).
  2. Treasure Chest Wine Box – 2 Bottle – Double bottle wine box with brass accents and faux leather straps to secure bottles within, in case you’re drunk & sloppy and tossing the thing around ($19.95 value).
  3. Wine Connoisseur Glass Charms Set of 6 pewter wine charms, so you don’t accidentally drink someone else’s wine backwash ($8.95 value).
  4. Natural Wine Gift Totes – made from Renewable Jute and Bamboo – reusable and eco-friendly, to impress that cute vegan you have your eye on ($3.95 value).

Shout out your thoughts and win stuff.  Winners will be selected at the end of the week, so hurry up!

Full disclosure: has NOT given me any of this stuff and has NOT paid me for this, which I think totally sucks but I’m working with them anyway since they agreed to give YOU stuff.  You can thank me later…






  • Jacob

    Ah, the subject of corkscrews. For me, they fall into two categories, travel and home. For home, I tend to use a "rabbit" like corkscrew (although it is a generic brand) similar to the first picture you have in your post. I like this for its ease and versatility. In a matter of moments, and without much effort, you can have a bottle open and ready to go.

    For travel purposes, I picked up a wine key a couple of years ago that instead of a little "knife" on the end has a gizmo that opens and uses metal rollers to cut the foil cap. This is great for sticking in your bag and going. While it does have the corkscrew element, I have never had trouble getting it through security. It seems that everyone is more concerned about that little knife than the corkscrew.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks. You're like a flying wine federal offender with that thing! :-)

  • Constance C

    Like you, Joe, I prefer the waiter's corkscrew. It's just so practical, never fails and is easily portable. My favorites are the ones that have the foil cutter on the end – but I can't seem to find too many of those! Some other corkscrews tend to get too complicated and/or bulky at times (or as you mentioned, rip the cork to bits!) but the simplicity of the waiter's corkscrew is a guaranteed win!

    • 1WineDude


      If anyone has a pic of the waiter's friend with foil cutter, please post a link!

      • Mike Kallay

        I use this at our wine bar & love them! You have everything you need to quickly open a bottle no matter where in the bar you are. I buy about 20 of these every year for our staff. I think they show up on Ebay once in a while in big lots, about $8/per.

        When we opened 5 years ago we used the Rabbit and within 6 mos. I had signs of tendinitis!


        • 1WineDude

          Nice! $8 per lot?

  • Jason Malumed

    Duuuude. Since I won your last competition, I will gracefully bow out from entering this one, but just wanted to give my $0.02. The ONLY type of corkscrew I use is definitely the waiters' styles. At the tasting room, we use the trusty double lever style (…. for ease of use and quickness. When I'm big ballin' at home, I gotta whip out the Laguiole (

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks bro – but those links aren't workin' (and I'd really like to see that Laguiole!)…

  • Matt

    Ah-so … all the way. Classic, cool, and tricky. 'specially good for those old bottles – case in point: i busted open a bottle of 1972 Inglenook Cabernet (yes, that classic rutherford estate before it was sold off in the late seventies) specifically using the ah-so. Damn good thing too since the cork was pretty well thrashed. The wine wasn't bad either for being, i dunno, like about 40 years old? Some napa valley mint and cherry but alas, the wine was way past it's due … 8( … either way, the ah-so kept the cork from being broken up as it slid out of the neck …

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks – how do you find the Ah-so works with newer corks?

      • Matt

        On Synthetics … meh. there seems to be a compression thing that the Ah-so needs for it to grab the cork just right. Wiggle it in and move it side to side <*insert joke here*> my old Ah-so seems pretty stable. I suppose that'll end up being moot if the screw cap keeps gaining market share … But, if that happens, i'll just use my other Ah-so, called my hand.

        • 1winedude5036

          That's what SHE said.

    • Jon Bjork

      I use the ah-so as my rescue device, or for reinserting corks. It was awhile before I learned the rocking insertion procedure and the pull and twist action for removal.

  • @elizabethdehoff

    I have one winged corkscrew I LOVE, but in general I hate all the others. I also have a Rabbit-type device I sometimes use, but it takes a few extra steps (adjust the height, stick it to the counter, etc). I'm not a huge fan of the water's friend corkscrews — maybe I don't use them often enough to be entirely comfortable with them?

    • 1WineDude



    • wineaccguy

      What kind of wing is it? I'm intrigued.

  • Eric S. Crane

    I use the waiter's corkscrew on most everything. For particularly old bottles (or if I am opening many bottles at one time) I use an ah-so. They are both small and convenient and ilegal to take on a plane.

    • 1WineDude

      HA! I wonder if the corkscrew industry is in cahoots with the TSA?

  • Jon Bjork

    I'm also a big fan of the waiter's corkscrew, especially in combination with a Screwpull-style foil cutter (or just quickly ripping off the entire foil). I (well the darned synthetic "corks", that is) broke enough Rabbits and Screwpulls that I've given up on those. If I had a big tasting to prepare, my weapon of choice is one of those bar-mounted Estate openers.

    • Jon Bjork

      Oh, and never mind sending me a prize. Got enough wine stuff (if that's possible)!

    • 1WineDude

      Do you ever just twist the foil and pull it off intact? I do that a lot and it seems people hardly ever try that (it works about 60% of the time).

      • Jon Bjork

        Depends how nice the foil is and/or how much of a rush I'm in. If I'm setting up a big tasting, I'll rip off everything that isn't glued on. With cheap wines (WARNING: I admit I drink those!) I'll rip those off every time.

  • Michelle

    My friends and I use an electric corkscrew. You put it on top of a cork, push a button and the curvy- thingy spins into the cork and twists it out. That is my official non-scientific description of it. It takes no muscles or might, but when I am ready to have a glass of wine I don't want a work out before it.

    • 1WineDude

      Sounds like a victory of technology for versatile modern living!

  • baconator

    I have a knock-off rabbit at home, which works well. It was a present, and came with a base that you were supposed to use to place the bottle on and then adjust the corkscrew if needed. After one try with the base attached, I tossed it and kept the corkscrew. That and the waiter's model cover my needs quite nicely. My parents have a two-prong that they used for a while, but a few years ago switched over to the Rabbit after my dad lost most of the use of one of his hands. He can clamp with the arm and lever with his other hand.

    • 1WineDude

      Interesting – I found that the rabbit worked in a similar way when I broke my hand a few years ago.


  • David Veatch

    While some aren’t very good, admittedly, my choice is definitely the waiter’s friend, double hinged with a fold out foil cutter.  They’re easy to use, and you don’t have to read a manual to learn how to operate it.  The double hinge makes for exceedingly easy cork removal, and don’t take up a lot of space, whether you’re traveling or not.  I’ve used rabbit, winged, electric, and drill press styles, and given the choice, will always use the tried and true, plain and simple, robust and effective waiter’s friend.  I want the wine in me, in the end, and they’ll help me get it there quicker than anything.
    Fortunately, my fiance agrees… That could have been a deal breaker!

    • 1winedude5036


      Thanks, David – I think all of my WF corkscrews are double-hinged now (not even sure how many I have – they seem to multiple quite easily with every wine event!).

  • Joshua Sweeney

    I’m a huge fan of the rabbit-style corkscrews, and you can get generic ones for not that much more expensive than a deluxe waiter’s corkscrew. That said, I much, much prefer the waiter’s corkscrew to anything else. It’s much more satisfying, compact, versatile, and affordable, and you feel like you have more control over it. You can also afford to buy two, one with a stainless steel worm for synthetic cork and one with a Teflon worm for real cork.

    I loaded up on waiter’s corkscrews at my shop (about 30 styles in total) because there’s such an incredible variety of them, single and double boot, both hinged and with springs, pulltaps, bladed, serrated, wheeled foil-cutters, stainless-steel, rubberized, plastic, wooden handles… researching the product has made me realize how cool waiter’s corkscrews can be.

    Electric, self-pull, and winged corkscrews aren’t as reliable, and they do tend to damage the cork more. Mounted corkscrews are the easiest to use, and the have the added benefit of recorking your wine, but once the worm gets even a little dull, you start punching the cork down into the bottle. The compressed-air “cork lifters” are a novelty, and remarkably simple, but having to replace the cartridges can be a pain, especially if no local shops carry them. For me, it’s waiter’s all the way.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Joshua.

      Man, the WF model is waaaay ahead of the pack so far!

  • Scott

    It's gotta be a waiter's friend, if only because it makes you look the most impressive as you open.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks Scott – we should not ignore style points! :-)

  • steve boyer

    I prefer the waiter style opener because when i am not paying attention and accidentally insert the screw into a stelvin closure i can play it off by grasping the capsule and twisting to remove the top, thereby getting away with it if everyone else is as clueless as i am…. :)

    Honestly though… the WF for all except old bottles which should be assisted with an ah-so…

    • 1WineDude

      Steve – niiiiice cover up!!!

  • El Jefe

    The Pulltaps hinged style is really the only way to go for every day use. The logo Pulltaps we sell in our tasting room has a teflon coated screw that makes for smooth insertion (gotta love smooth insertion.)

    For old difficult corks you gotta have an ah so. For bubbly the sabre is my choice; a chef's knife works in a pinch too. And for port there's nothing better than port tongs!

    • 1WineDude

      I *will* learn how to saber a bottle of bubbly this year…!

      • El Jefe

        It's insanely simple. Remove foil and basket, line up on the glass seam, and deliver a firm tap to the base of the rim with the back of the chef's knife. You don't have to hit it hard. Oh, and hold the bottle with a towel so you don't slip and maybe cut yourself.

  • David Honig

    I have to echo El Jefe's recommendation of the hinged Pulltaps for real corks, but I use a winged corkscrew with a giant steel screw for synthetics, because they deserve each other.

    • 1WineDude

      HA! Well said, David!

  • @girlwithaglass

    I have a variety of corkscrews that I put out when we have friends over. It's entertaining to see which one they chose. Women usually go for the winged one & almost always blush & apologize for their wine dorkness. Bartenders (male & female) thank me profusely for having the "pro" tool so they don't have to sigh & complain about my rabbit. Hubby likes the pulltaps. We use a foil cutter or knife on the waiter's tool depending on the foil. So there, if I send you a picture of my pile of corkscrews on top of my wine refrigerator, do I win? :)

    • 1WineDude

      Well, it can't hurt your chances!

  • sao

    The only problem with the Ah-So is that, with old wines and sometimes feeble corks, it can cause the cork to push down into the bottle. So, my vote is for the Waiter's Corkscrew….especially the model wherein there's a foil cutter in the body of the waiter's corkscrew.

    • 1WineDude

      Another vote for the sturdy WF!

  • ~Steele

    I use a waiter's style corkscrew, but with a knife on it about 2.5 inches long – hard to find nowadays. Why the long knife? It is more useful in "all world applications" like cutting cheese cloth for straining out cork bits and other "common waiter uses" and the knife is completely intimidating at the table, so your guests realize "who's in charge." As well, foil cutters do not go down deep enough on the foil as you need to cut below the bottom ridge on the top of the bottle. Why the bottom ridge? Well, because if there is mould under the foil and your poured wine interacts with it, you can get off-tasting wine.

    • 1WineDude

      Steele – I agree that whoever brandishes the 2"+ knife at the table gets to be in charge at dinner, especially when the bill arrives.

  • Kathleen

    Being a delicate flower with weak wrists I will admit to using a winged corkscrew as my primary wine opening tool. I may have a good one or I may just be adept with it, but I haven't destroyed a cork in years. I've tried to learn to love the waiter's friend style, but I always have trouble getting the lever bit lined up on the lip and find it hard to bring up the cork up (note: I really am weak!) I once had a bottle slip out of my hands while trying to lever the cork out and the resulting broken glass and loss of wine has made me very skittish with waiter's friend-type devices. I do use the one I have to cut the foil though!

    • 1WineDude

      Ouch! If the winged model has a good thread, I could see it working ok…

  • Alain

    double-hinged waiter for me. I have some friends who invite me to dinner every now and then and I always bring a bottle of wine to pair with the food. They have a rabbit-style opener, which normally works very well… Until the last time. I brought a 375ml bottle of sauternes for after dinner consumption… The stupid rabbit destroyed the cork and pushed the fragments into the bottle. My dad was attached to his winged corkscrew, which I inherited. I used it for a while, but find that I just don't like how it seems to barely get the cork out in one piece a lot of times. Thus, I've switched to the waiter and have never looked back.

    • 1WineDude

      Sauternes cork action? MAJOR bug out!

  • 1WineDude

    Just got this via e-mail from a 1WD reader, and they allowed me to share it (it's great):

    "i don't mind the winged ones, but have had them break off(the wings) from time to time. me fave is the give-away Mouton-Cadet waiters friend from a wine festival years ago. there are so many other gimmick-y openers out there, that the freebie keeps on giving. how about the gas-operated cork expeller? good for 50 opens. what happens at # 51?"

    #51 = Gas explosion? :-)

  • Katie

    My favorite is the rabbit corkscrew. It's always made opening bottles for me easy and simple.

    • 1WineDude

      I used to love my rabbit corkscrew, but it's terrible on synthetic corks.

  • Eric Ziegler

    I have a Winged Auger corkscrew which I do love, and It is the only one I currently use at home. However I would like to try a rabbit at some point, but alas, my money goes towards wine and not a new expensive corkscrew, especially sice I have never had any problem with it.
    On the road though I have a freebie corksrew (the ones they give away at Wine shows) where you twist it in and give it the old college try.
    Then there is the no corkscrew at all method. Buy most any New Zealand wine and a few from other select vinters and just twist the top (screw cap top that is)…

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Eric – I'm really into screwtops these days, and I'm almost getting on board the Randall Grahm bandwaggon…

  • ~Steele

    Hey! I'm seeing a lot of "Rabbit Lovers" out there, but I have to say that Rabbits puncture the cork all the way through. So, one cannot re-cork and save for later as air gets in there. As well, you cannot re-cork and lay on its side in the 'fridge as juice will dribble out. Which makes one drink the whole bottle. Wait a minute, maybe that was the plan all along! You Lushes!!!!

    • 1WineDude

      Steele – good point. I'm not a re-corker, but can easily understand what a pain that would be…

  • Richard Scholtz

    I have a rabbit for my everyday use. It works great, though with as much wine as my wife and I go through, I will wear one out in about 2 years. I also have a cheap waiter's tool that I use on wine tours. They fit easily in a back pocket, and if I happen to lose it in a drunken stupor, I'm out $10. As for foil cutters, I have found most of them to be lousy and result in a ragged cut. I keep a short bladed paring knife on hand for removing foils. Slide the knife up the seam, and completely remove the foil. Done. I also keep a Leatherman on hand for removing some stubborn prosecco/frizzante corks. If you try to remove one with a waiter's tool, you're likely to stretch the cork and ruin the screw.

    • 1WineDude

      Wow, Richard – that's some heavy wine sampling!

      Totally agree on the stand-alone foil cutters – usually they're not stellar.

      • Richard Scholtz

        What can I say, we go through a lot of juice. :-)

  • Kevin

    Houdini is my fav. But I never had a problem with opening a bottle of wine until I tried to cut the cap off a screwtop thinking it was foil. In my defence it was new years and someone handed my the bottle and the opener and said "Can you open this." We were right in the middle of a poker game for heavens sake!!

    • 1winedude5036

      Kevin – HA! Awesome. And even more understandable if it was well into the night and not the first bottle opened!

  • EaglesNestWine

    My favorite is a quality "Rabbit" type with a teflon coated corkscrew. Wife likes the clamp-on "estate" type opener, I'm not confortable with the suspended – in the air – bottle though. The traditional waiter's corkscrew is compact and handy but unless it has the two-step lever – is more difficult to use especially for those with hand strength issues. For those with arthritis, suggest Oster power corkscrew but they tend to mangle corks.

    If you frequent airport security lines like Jacob above, avoid knife-blade foil cutters see this blog post for TSA issues with corkscrews. Irreverent blog post here

    • 1winedude5036

      Thanks, Dennis – great post, btw. With a toddler at my house, there is NO chance of me using a system that suspends bottles in the air :-).

  • joeshico

    For years I used the winged until learning how to use the waiters friend properly. Now it's been years since I used anything else. But if tearing up the cork is common with the winged, you ought to try the old screw and handle. I have one in my suitcase for emergency when traveling. Hate using it. Haven't got a cork out in one piece yet.

    • 1WineDude


  • Chris

    Every day hom euse is a knock-off rabbit. Biggest advantage I’ve seen withit is the ability to plung through wax seals and get a fairly clean pull. I’ve never been able to do that with a waiter’s screw. On the road, or air, we keep a waiters screw in the checked bag, but if we’re only carrying on, or forget, we tend to buy a waiters screw for $8-$10 at teh first winery we stop at. We probably have accumulated a half dozen or more that way.

    Didn’t do it intentionally, but it’s kind of nice to have souveniers that are useful. And less likely to break than wine glasses.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Chris – my advice is to attend wine conferences and junkets, in which case you will end up with a WF corkscrew in just about every drawer of your house :-).

  • Bret Moore

    Chrome Nautilus Corkscrew:

    Found on a table at the gynecologist's convention.

    -Bret Moore

    • 1WineDude

      No. Because that would be hilarious.

  • 1WineDude

    Hi all – FYI, we have WINNERS! You can keep commenting, but you will no longer be eligible for any of the prizes.

    Winners will be contacted directly via email by me this week.


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