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Sarah Ward

Opening a Wine Bottle: 6 Factors to Open Wine Bottles

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Learning about opening a wine bottle is a small but important step in learning how to open a wine bar. Yes, wine bar cabinet and shelf storage is important. So is learning the cost to open a wine bar. From wine bar supplies to hiring–or being–a wine bar owner or manager, there is a lot that goes into opening a wine bar. 

The process of how to open a wine bottle isn’t a money investment, but it takes time. There are people–a sommelier, for example–who have studied the art of opening and serving different types of wine. In this BinWise blog post, we’ll walk you through some of the basics–and a little flare–of opening a wine bottle. 

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Opening a Wine Bottle

Opening a wine bottle can be a simple or decadent event. If you’re having a busy night at your wine bar, sometimes you’ll grab the closest corkscrew to do the job. When you’re taking the time, however, you can make opening a wine bottle into a form of art. Yes, that makes us sound like wine snobs, but we don’t care. There is something artful about the care that goes into presenting a new bottle of wine. 

These six factors of how to open a wine bottle will help you along the way. Some of these are functional, while others are geared toward the artistic presentation of opening a wine bottle. All of these are important for you to be aware of. They’ll come in handy throughout the days of serving up the best wine. 

6. Presenting the Bottle

Presenting the bottle is the start of opening a wine bottle at your wine bar. The main point is to show the label to the person who ordered the wine. This is particularly important for fine wine options. 

5. Chilling the Bottle–or Not

Some wines are meant to be chilled, some are not. White wines are typically the options that should be chilled. The best types of white wine have specific requirements for chilling time. Check them out before you bring out the ice bucket. 

4. Cutting the Foil

You should cut the foil around the top of the bottle right underneath the lip of the bottle. This makes for a minimal mess with the line of the cut. It also helps to avoid spills when it comes time for pouring wine

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3. Centering the Corkscrew

Centering the corkscrew is important for two reasons. The first reason is, it looks better. That’s purely for the aesthetic of opening the wine bottle. The second reason is that it makes it easier to remove the cork cleanly. 

2. How Many Half Turns?

Most folks will tell you it takes six half turns of a fully manual wine opener. If you’re using a winged wine opener, it also takes around six or seven twists to get the corkscrew fully into the cork. 

1. Sediment and Spill Cleanup

If there is any cork or wine sediment around the top of the bottle, give it a wipe before you pour the first glass. This is where the standard white cloth over your arm comes in handy. It also helps with any unexpected spills. 

"Key Takeaway: Opening a wine bottle can be a simple or decadent event. If you’re having a busy night at your wine bar, sometimes you’ll grab the closest corkscrew to do the job. When you’re taking the time, however, you can make opening a wine bottle into a form of art."

Frequently Asked Questions About Opening Wine Bottles

Learning how to open a wine bottle is often one of the last things on your mind as you’re opening a wine bar. It is, however, a vital component of learning customer service in regard to your wine bar. Your presentation of wine and overall wine bar atmosphere is as important as your inventory list, budget, and wine bar management. It’s all about overall customer satisfaction

Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you even more to think about in terms of how to open a wine bottle. Some of these questions are a little silly. When we read them we thought, “Of course, we need to address this.” You can experiment with these at home, at your wine bar, or simply enjoy them as a laugh while you drink some wine. 

How Do You Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew?

If you don’t have a corkscrew or you want to get creative, these steps can help you open a wine bottle without a corkscrew:

  1. To get the foil off the bottle, place your hand firmly around the neck of the bottle, gripping the foil tightly. From there, twist it up and off while maintaining your grip.
  2. Find a blunt object that fits within the area of the top of the cork. Use a towel or cloth to wrap around the top of the wine bottle and hold on tight. Use the blunt object to push until the cork pops into the bottle. 
  3. Continue to use the blunt object to hold the cork in the bottle while you pour your glass of wine.

If you don’t have the right type of blunt object around, there are other options. One includes:

  1. Start with a hammer, a screw, and a screwdriver. First, you’ll use the screwdriver to drive a screw into the cork. You should leave a fair amount of the head of the screw still sticking out.
  2. Use the hammer to gently pull at the head of the screw. 
  3. Once the cork is pulled out enough, pop it out by hand. 

However, you won’t necessarily have those tools on hand. Sometimes, all you have is a wine bottle and a lighter in your pocket. Have no fear, you’ll still be able to drink that wine! The steps are simple:

  1. Remove the foil from the wine bottle.
  2. Use the lighter to heat the neck of the bottle, just beneath the cork. With a bit of time, the cork will pop out as the air beneath it heats up.

Any of these options are fun and entertaining. They also come in handy during those times when you can’t find your corkscrew. 

How Do You Loosen a Tight Wine Cork?

If you’re dealing with a tight wine cork and you want to avoid it breaking, run the neck of the bottle under hot water. This works to heat up the glass and help the air expand in the neck of the bottle. It’s the same principle as opening a wine bottle with a lighter. 

Can You Pull Out a Cork With Your Hands?

You can open a wine bottle with other items, but ultimately it would be very difficult to open it with only your hands. Technically you could dig a fingernail into the cork then pry it out slowly, and likely piece by piece. It would get messy, however, and take more time than the other options outlined above. 

Is It Okay to Push the Cork Into the Wine Bottle?

Yes, it’s okay to push the cork into the wine bottle. It’s not ideal for a wine presentation at a wine bar, but it won’t damage the wine. If you’re in a situation where this is your only option, do your best to keep the cork in one piece. It’s not a damaging item, but it’s not fun to end up with small pieces of cork in your wine glass. 

Can You Open a Cork With a Fork?

Yes, you can open a cork with a fork. You can stick the fork in and pry it out. You can also use the blunt end of the fork to push the cork into the bottle. Either way, this handy kitchen trick will have you enjoying your wine in no time. 

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Opening Wine Bottles: Pop the Cork

When it’s time to learn how to open a wine bottle, it’s time to open your wine bar! When you’re ready to open the doors, come back to BinWise. BinWise Pro, alongside the BinScan mobile app, can help manage your inventory program. Pair BinWise with BlueCart to master your order management system

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