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How to Open a Bottle of Wine Properly

Do you feel awkward or uneasy when you have to open a bottle of wine, especially when someone is looking over your shoulder?

Well, breathe easy.

Today, I'm going to share with you how to open a bottle of wine like a pro.  

As a Sommelier, I have opened hundreds of bottles of wine, and I’d like to pass on some of what I’ve learned to you.

Now before you get your corkscrew out, you have to ask yourself, "what kind of bottle closure do I have?" Do you have a cork or a screw cap? This may sound simple, but don't use a corkscrew with a screw cap. Just twist off the cap! If you try to do anything else, that will not be a good look for you. Ha! Anyway, on to wine bottles with cork.

Before we begin, make sure you have these tools available.

  1. Waiter's Helper (with foil cutter, corkscrew, and boot lever)
  2. Clean cloth or napkin

Next, follow these 5 steps (you can see a visual demonstration of these steps on my YouTube Channel):

STEP ONE: Clean the Bottle

With your cloth or napkin, clean your bottle, especially the top foil.

STEP TWO: Remove the Foil

Hold the bottle at a slight angle. Place the foil cutter below the ring. Then, use your foil cutter to score all the way around the ring. Cut up on the cap until the cap is removed.

STEP THREE: Open the Bottle

Continue to hold the bottle at a slight angle. Open the worm on your Waiter's Helper and place the tip of the worm in the exact center of the cork. Maintain an even pressure as you turn the corkscrew clockwise. Go until the fourth coil on the worm is in the cork (there are five total).

The cork screw should look like a “T” in the bottle.

Next, pivot the metal boot lever of the Waiter's Helper so that its hinge sits on the top edge of the bottles. Hold the bottle firm with one hand. With the other hand, pull the corkscrew handle up. As you do this, the cork will come partially out of the bottle. Then, reposition your hand and give the cork a slight tilt and turn in order to get it all the way out.

STEP FOUR: Check the Health of the Wine

Check for smells such as mold, wet cardboard, wet wool, or really strong cork. These smells are an indication that the wine is flawed and should not be served. If it smells good, then go ahead and take the cork off the worm.

STEP FIVE: Clean the Opening

Look at and into the mouth of the bottle to see if there's anything there. Use your clean cloth to wipe away any cork or foil particles. Also use it to wipe off any spills or drips.

Finally, you are ready to pour the wine! To learn how to make the perfect pour, check out this video:

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