Can we get the Cork out of the Wine?
I write this as I get sometimes horrified how people open a bottle of wine. It is quite simple but also in restaurant business owners often don’t hire professionals anymore and it becomes a show by itself. One must be already relieved once nobody gets injured.
To open a wine with a normal cork takes around 15 seconds once you do it elegant as a a good waiter and with utmost care not to disturb the wine (or the Guest - or the rest of the restaurant).
You need to be aware that there are different corks. Nothing wrong when a young fresh wine for early consumption has metal cap. Easy to open and it keeps any oxygen out of the bottle. For Amateurs the safest way to survive! That also avoids the “Student Opener” where you press the wine inside the bottle and gain access not considering style.
Then we have the normal cork from the cork oak which should be only used for high quality wines as there are not enough cork oaks to use for all the wines in the world. Then we have press cork which is a cheaper version or also plastic cork which makes a lot of people really struggle.
The Pros in restaurants would use the waiters knife. Its a cork screw with a little knife and wants you have a little practice it is easy to open any wine with it. Waiters like it because it is easy to carry in a small pocket of your vest.
The Classic one
The Old Classic cork screw that only has the handle should be avoided at all times. Yes it works best when the bottle is placed between your legs and with a loud groan you try to pull out the cork, Very stylish! Makes for good entertainment when you hit yourself when finally getting the cork out or dropping the bottle.
The Household Item
Then we have the famous cork screw that has this two wings on the side that come up when you twist the middle into the cork. You press both handle down and the cork should come out. Should. This is actually the worst cork screw, doesn't always deliver results and doesn't look elegant at all.
Wickel & Twist
There is also the wickle and twist cork screw that has two metal blades that go between the bottle glass and the cork and you wickle out the cork. Looks fancy but you also wickel the wine which doesn't make sense. Forget that one too. Wine shouldn’t be wickeled! You have to practise a lot with this one not to look like a complete idiot.
Simply the Best
Best and the simplest is the Cork screw table model that consist only of the main piece which is pressed against the bottle and the middle piece that is screwed into the cork. Professional use this even for old wines when you cant be sure about the quality of the cork but it opens any wine easy and elegant. Waiters don't use this often as you cant carry it around in the pocket but they like it too.
Also very hard cork or plastic cork that resist all the other cork screws don't stay a chance against this one. Big advantage is that even people without any experience can open a bottle with this one. Simply the best!
I will continue judging the waiter first before I order a bottle of wine. Can he do it? Will he get hurt ? Or me? Some days I take the risk and go for the show - on some I order Wine by glass.
Author: Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.