December 2, 2009

Corkscrews… the demise of a weapon of mass consumption!

It is a sad fact that the opportunity for the corkscrew to be a part of the contemporary consumption story of wine is becoming fewer with the popularity of the screwcap. Although, I have seen a few bottles with screwcaps being punished with a corkscrew and the sight is not a pretty one. I am sure that after the blip in sales after the new airport security measures came in, sales for the humble corkscrew are looking fairly subdued.

The screwcap is superb for convenience and for keeping wine fresher longer it is true. But I do love the look and feel of a truly stylish corkscrew! Not only that, it was an easy Christmas gift for a wine drinker. We have a simply beautiful and sleek one at home that was given as a very thoughtful gift a few years ago and we have used it just a couple of times. However, it really is treasured.

Although the first users of the corkscrew are not known, according to Wikipedia the first may have been derived from the gun worm used to clean out muskets. Of course, back then it was part of the Butler’s job to open the wine and hence a type of opener called the Butler’s friend was patented by a Carl Wienke.

This is still a very popular model that fits into the pocket discreetly. It would be hard to imagine millions of Sommelier trying to fit some of the other types of corkscrews in their pockets without personal damage or ridicule…. Anyway, the screw part of the corkscrew is still called a ‘worm’ and this type of opener is now known as the Waiter’s friend.

Some of my favourites include the rabbit (the Original Rabbit), the party girl (Alessi Anna G) and the fish (Lazy Fish) for under $100.


Or try this sleek number for someone special at $200+ (Laguiole Ebony).


I am tempted this year to get some friends one of these wonderful wine accoutrements before they are regulated to collectors items. Perhaps I just need to bite the bullet … um .. cork… and then ensure that every visit that I take at least one wine that will require its use.

(These corkscrews are widely available but try your local department stores or on-line stores.)


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