How To Open A Bottle of Wine When You Don’t Have A Corkscrew

Wine is trickling its way into my foodie consciousness: after dinner with Clotilde where the Babbo waiter paired some dishes with wine, I’m really starting to understand how wine enhances the overall dining experience. I like this Hemingway quote posted today on Gothamist Food: “In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary.”

Friday night, I was too lazy to cook. It was hot and rainy or maybe it was cold and snowy: I don’t remember. All I remember is that I ordered a pizza again from Pizza 33. It’s a delicious pizza: crisp wood-fired dough; fresh cheese and sauce and basil. But a thought struck me as I opened the lid: “This pizza looks nice and all, but do you know what would make it better? Wine!”

I ran out the door and darted across 6th avenue to my nearest wine shop. I purchased a bottle of cheap Chianti—I wanted an Italian wine. I paid and ran back across the street, up the elevator to my apartment and through the door. Was the pizza still hot? Barely; now just warm—but warm enough.

Let’s get this bottle open. Where’s the corkscrew? Corkscrew, present yourself!

Instant recollection: a few weeks earlier, I was on the roof with friends drinking wine. We brought up wine and glasses and…the corkscrew! Now it’s gone forever, no way it’s still on the roof. And here I am with a bottle of wine: what do I do? The pizza’s getting cold!

I turned to the greatest resource available to us in the modern age. The internet! I googled: “opening wine without a corkscrew.” I came across a site that gave the following advice: put a butter knife in the cork, hammer it in and push the cork through. This seemed wildly dangerous, but I was desperate. Here are my tools:


(Ignore the cat milk: that’s Lolita’s wine of choice.)

What can I say? It worked. I made a mess–wine splashed everywhere–but the butter knife pushed the cork down (I hit it very lightly with the hammer) and then I used my knife sharpener to thrust the cork all the way in. I then used my rubber cork stopper to stopper the wine after I’d drank my fill.

The moral of the story is that no obstacle, however large and/or daunting, should prevent you from celebrating life with wine. A corkscrew, however, makes the celebration just a tad bit better.

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