Wine can be intimidating. Your corkscrew shouldn’t make it more so.
Last Updated Dec. 16, 2021. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 19: Elegant Dinner Party
We received some questions about the durability of our winning twist corkscrew, the Le Creuset Table Model Corkpull. We retested it; it’s unchanged and as well-made as it was when this review was originally published. While its thin plastic is somewhat flexible, we think that this flexibility is intentional, making it easier for users to squeeze the prongs around the neck of a wine bottle and grip it securely. It remains our winner. If you would like a continuous-turn corkscrew with a more rigid build, we also recommend the Brabantia Tasty+ Corkscrew. It’s heavier and bigger than our favorite but still does a good job of removing corks of all sizes and materials.
For opening bottles of wine, we like to use a waiter’s corkscrew—it’s fast, neat, and requires little physical strength, at least when used correctly. The trouble is, using it correctly takes practice: You must learn how to insert the worm (the metal spiral that pulls the cork out), how to keep it straight and centered within the cork while turning, and where to position any levers to extract the cork.
Twist corkscrews are far less intimidating, in part because they promise to take some of the guesswork out of these steps. And less intimidating is good, since a recent study by consumer research group Mintel revealed that more than half of all legal wine drinkers in the United States describe themselves as “beginners,” regardless of age.
There are two kinds of twist corkscrews: continuous-turn models (also known as corkpulls or screwpulls) and winged corkscrews. Both types have a base that hugs or sits on the neck of the wine bottle and a handle that helps the user center the worm and twist it straight down into the cork. With a continuous‑turn model, you then use the same handle to keep twisting until the worm comes back out with the cork attached. With a winged corkscrew, you depress the two wings on either side of the handle to lift out the inserted worm and cork together.
We wanted to know if either type of corkscrew was worth buying, so we tested a range of models, pitting them against our favorite waiter’s corkscrew, Pulltap’s Classic Evolution Corkscrew by Pulltex ($39.95). We used each model to open 20 bottles: 10 with natural corks and 10 with synthetic corks, which are made from a denser, less flexible plastic that makes them more challenging to remove.
First, the good news: Novice testers did in fact find both types of twist corkscrews to be significantly more intuitive and user-friendly than the waiter’s corkscrew. And there was only one malfunction; 199 of the initial 200 bottles were successfully opened without the cork breaking. Still, a few differences made continuous-turn models even easier to use than winged models.
For one thing, winged corkscrews were somewhat less intuitive and a bit fussier to operate. First-time users were unsure about where to put their hands (around the wings? around the base?) and how to position the wings (up or down position to start?). The corkscrews themselves were big (most were more than 7.25 inches long), and some were surprisingly heavy (1 pound or more), making them unwieldy when balanced on the slender necks of wine bottles. And guesswork was still required to determine how far in to twist the worm.
By contrast, testers found the con...
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Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.