How to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew

So, picture this: you’re on a relaxing vacation and you’ve booked the perfect AirBnB. You take in the beautiful views, the Egyptian cotton sheets, the rolling jacuzzi — this place has everything.

Well, almost everything. There’s no corkscrew.

Now, you’re looking at two tantalizing bottles of wine and wondering how you could have let the night end like this. No, you think. There has to be a way forward.

Lucky for you, there are about a dozen ways to open a wine bottle without a proper bottle opener. Half of them are too dangerous for consideration, so we’ve put together a list of six safe, effective methods to rescue your wine night.

Prepare your palate and wash your wine glasses because you’re about to discover six ways to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew.

  1. The Screw and Hammer Method

The screw and hammer tactic is one of the oldest out there, but it still works a charm. Warning, this approach does require a slight time and muscle investment, so be ready for a fight.

First, go through your toolbox and grab a screwdriver and a long screw. Then, slowly twist the screw into the cork until there’s an inch or two left poking out at the top end. Using the backside of the hammer, set it under the head of the screw, and slowly, gently pull the cork out.

Pop. Easy. Simple. It might have taken some elbow grease, but you’ll be rewarded for your effort with a wonderful night of wine.

  1. The Hanger Approach

The hanger method is one of the most consistent and successful in this list. Unfortunately, you will have to say “farewell” to one of your wire hangers — we think it’s a worthy sacrifice.

Once you’ve located one of your less valued wire hangers, use a pair of pliers to bend the top hook of the hanger completely straight. Now, create a tiny metal loop at the tip of the hanger — it should look something like a fish hook.

Insert the hook between the cork and the inside of the bottle, slowly wiggling down until it's fully beneath the cork. Now, simply pull and twist up on the wire and the cork should pop out.

You may have lost a hanger but look on the bright side — you gained a chic new bottle opener and a fresh bottle of wine to go with it.

  1. Pressure, Pressure

Overpumping your bike tires could result in a rough ride and increase the risk of a flat. Overpumping your wine bottle? That’s one way to rescue a memorable night.

For this method, start by attaching a needle to your bike pump. Next, stick the needle through the cork, making sure it penetrates the whole way until it’s firmly out the other side. Lean over the pump and give it a few compressions, gradually filling the wine bottle with air.

Eventually, the cork will rise up and pop out of the bottle.

  1. The Shoe Trick

Few techniques will impress a crowded room like this one. The shoe trick is a real, tried-and-tested method to uncork a bottle of wine with an average, cushioned shoe. Ready? Let’s go.

First, remove any foil or wrapping from atop the cork. Next, place the bottom of the wine bottle into your cushioned shoe, just as if you were slipping the shoe on your heel.

Now, find a nearby wall or column and line the shoe up so the toes are facing the ceiling and the bottle is horizontal. Lightly tap the shoe and bottle against the wall as if you were hammering a nail. It might take some time, but slowly the force will cause the cork to bulge just enough so that you can remove it with your fingers.

It’s not magic. It’s physics. But you don’t have to tell your friends that.

  1. Add Some Heat to the Kitchen

Playing with fire is usually a bad idea. But if you take proper safety precautions and maintain a calm, controlled environment, a little flame just might free your wine from its cage.

First, make sure that your wine bottle is at room temperature. Applying this method to a cold bottle might result in the glass shattering from extreme temperature change. So, to reiterate, do not try this on a cold bottle.

Got a lukewarm bottle? Good.

Now, use a match or lighter to apply a small flame to the neck below the cork. This heats up the air within the bottle, creating pressure. Hopefully, this added force will be just enough to nudge the cork up and out of its resting place, allowing you to enjoy a night of tasteful drinking.

  1. Push the Cork Inside

Needless to say, this method has its issues.

Yes, the cork will be nearly impossible to remove once you push it in. Yes, this method is not recommended for finer bottles or for fragile corks that look like they might crumble.

But if you’re all out of other options and you appear to have a relatively sturdy cork on your hands, you can always push the stopper into the bottle and enjoy your wine that way.

Simply use the handle of a spatula or wooden spoon to apply pressure to the cork and gradually push it into the bottle. If you’re with friends and are planning on drinking the whole bottle in one night, even better.

Just remember to use a strainer and decanter to remove the bits of cork and fully appreciate your vino.

Be Prepared with Wine Insiders

Hopefully one of these methods can rescue you from an otherwise wine-less evening. And hey, maybe you’ll realize that these creative workarounds bring some excitement to an otherwise routine ritual. After all, opening a wine bottle should be an event, an adventure!

...Well, maybe not every night. Do your future self a favor and invest in a quality corkscrew. While you’re at it, buy yourself a backup.

There should be as little friction as possible between you and a memorable night of friends, conversation, and mouth-watering high-quality wine.

Whether you like red, white, sparkling, or all of the above, grab your next bottle from Wine Insiders.

To make your next wine night extra special, use our code WINE101 to save 30% at checkout!