Opening the Bottle-Wine
Opening a bottle of wine or champagne is coated in as much history as the drink itself. This is such a vital part of enjoying the drink of the gods that there is actual consumer resistance to improvements in caps and corks. Throughout the olden days, the foils used to cover the cork on the bottle was made from lead and essential for keeping mice and other critters from chomping away at the cork. Today, although mainly for decoration, these plastic, tin, or paper foils can help differentiate between bottles on a rack. Some wine producers have even turned to capping the cork with a blot of wax. Foil cutters that slice the foil just below the lip of the bottle are a helpful way to keep the bottle looking presentable. After the foil is cut, it is necessary to remove the cork. Corkscrews come in many sizes, shapes and varieties. Although the type of corkscrew that is used is not important, it is imperative that the worm of the corkscrew be at least 5 centimeters or 2 inches long. Having a worm shorter than this specified length might cause breakage and other damage to the cork. The worm should also be round with an open spiral and sharp tip. The most common type of corkscrew has two winged on each side that pull the cork up as they push down. Popular models include the "waiter's friend," which uses the bottle as leverage to secure and pull out the cork, and the "butler's friend," which avoids inserting a worm into the cork and instead grips the cork at its sides with two prongs while it is twisted out.
One of the most frustrating aspects of opening a bottle of wine is having the cork break off, leaving part of it still in the bottle. Although having the cork floating around inside the wine will not effect taste or quality, it makes the bottle a bit less presentable. Hence, pulling out the cork slowly and securely is a good way to ensure it comes out undamaged. However, even the best corkscrewer can have an off day. If a bit of the cork is left in the neck after the first attempt, carefully re-inserting the corkscrew at an angle is the best bet on removing it completely. If this fails, then gently nudging the cork into the bottle is a good idea. If the cork has split into many pieces, decanting the wine into another bottle can make it more enjoyable.