Favourite corkscrews

Anything to do with Port.
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uncle tom
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Favourite corkscrews

Post by uncle tom » 21:48 Fri 25 Sep 2020

I don't often buy corkscrews - they are sometimes gifted to me, sometimes part of mixed auction lots, but I did buy one recently, not because I needed it, but because ever since the plastic on the foil cutter that came with my existing one snapped suddenly, I have been fearful of the same happening to the main part of it.

So I bought another..

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Screwpull-co ... 2749.l2648

It's a useful device, as it exerts good control over the cork. With old vintage ports, I find winding down the spiral until it's nearly home, and then pushing it down the last 1/16" to break the seal before pulling the cork out manually (rather than winding it out) is the best way to extract old VP corks in one piece.

For frail old claret bottles I place a lot of faith in the butler's thief type:

https://www.masterofmalt.com/barware/gh ... PUEALw_wcB

But for young bottles with fresh tight corks, nothing beats The Bug corkscrew..

https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/283900600722?c ... 81EALw_wcB

The device looks very American, with it's high chrome finish and over engineered design, but it works incredibly well and with very little effort.

- Is it still made? It's an excellent bit of design..

What are other people's favourites..?
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

akzy
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by akzy » 21:56 Fri 25 Sep 2020

I mainly use a butler's thief as I'm trying to preserve corks to make an epoxy resin. I had one from amazon which had a coating which flaked off after a few uses. I have since got a better one which also seems to make everything easier (or I have got better at doing so)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0002WZR4K/ ... BFbAPQV4QR

Otherwise, I keep a waiter's friend in my rucksack for emergencies.
Last edited by akzy on 22:01 Fri 25 Sep 2020, edited 1 time in total.

Glenn E.
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by Glenn E. » 22:00 Fri 25 Sep 2020

The Durand is even more reliable than the butler's thief style because it essentially combines a butler's thief with a traditional corkscrew.

But generally speaking, I just use a waiter's friend. I'm good enough with one that I can extract even notoriously bad corks (read: Porto Souza) reliably.
Glenn Elliott

Andy Velebil
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by Andy Velebil » 08:41 Sat 26 Sep 2020

For general use in new corks the cheap $2 waiters corkscrew from my local Trader Joe’s is awesome. My favorite and it happens to be cheap. It’s the same one that most port producers sell/use with their logos on them.

The super expensive French Laugindal (spelling?) I have sucks compared to the $2 one.

Otherwise an Ah-so for medium old corks and Durand for old corks.

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JacobH
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by JacobH » 10:18 Sat 26 Sep 2020

That Durand is seriously expensive for what it is. No doubt the target market can afford it, but it doesn’t look like it would cost much more than a very standard corkscrew to make...

Years ago, someone gave me a Rabbit Corkscrew which I think is great for easily getting new corks out of young bottles and even some older ones since the spiral is quite open and the force it produces on the cork is mostly vertical.

I tend to alternate between that and a few waiters’ corkscrews which were mostly gifts: a Laguiole one (which, unlike Andy’s works better than most cheap ones); a metal Niepoort one (which I always think should be good but often disappoints); a few cheap ones and, of course, an Alessi one shaped like a parrot!
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winesecretary
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by winesecretary » 18:32 Sat 26 Sep 2020

The Durand is theoretically replicable more cheaply but it is a patented design. I think the £125 I (well, actually, my girlfriend as a Christmas present) paid for mine almost five years ago is one of the better investments I have seen made. I have opened perhaps a thousand bottles, including some very old and rare and expensive stuff belonging to other people, with it, with only six occasions where I have failed to get the cork out before it disintegrated.

It doesn't work on plastic, young, or composite corks. For those I have a waiter's friend.

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uncle tom
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by uncle tom » 21:47 Sat 26 Sep 2020

My only issue with the butler's thief type - which the Durand is a composite version of - is that it often trashes the branding on the cork, which can be critical on old port bottles.

The Durand's patents are due to run out in about six years time - I expect some cheaper versions will then emerge..
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

Christopher
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by Christopher » 22:18 Sat 26 Sep 2020

With old bottles I now just push the cork in decant and smash the bottle in a plastic bag with a hammer. Even using a bag to get out a fork can damage making it unreadable.
It also has the added advantage of being free😂

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DRT
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by DRT » 01:12 Sun 27 Sep 2020

The Durand is very effective. I use it on old bottles that I know to be what they are so the cork-branding damage is of negligible importance. For dubious or unknown bottles I follow Christopher's method of pushing in and recovering the cork intact.
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PhilW
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by PhilW » 12:32 Sun 27 Sep 2020

I find the Durand to work extremely well on (generally older) fragile corks where identification is not an issue. For unknowns I prefer to use tongs where possible, otherwise using other corkscrews rather than pushing in, since the external face of the cork is not always clean.

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SushiNorth
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by SushiNorth » 20:32 Sun 27 Sep 2020

After too many mangled, broken, and disintegrating corks, I switched to my favorite:
An extra-long three-finger steel pull whose bore is a wide, hollow spiral with a sharpened edge. I picked it up for a few pounds in a corkscrew stall on Portobello Rd; it's labeled circa 1920, but there's no brand or mark to distinguish it.

I'm a bit indelicate in its use: after putting it through the cork (often through the bottom), I put the bottle on the floor, gripping it between a pair of rubber house mocs, and pull straight up in one motion. Since I've been using it, I've had most corks come clean out. The stubborn few usually lose a small half-circle from the cork bottom. The other excellent thing is that it's length and sturdiness make it easy to use it to lift out anything that clings inside the neck. I press the bore hard against the debris and drag it clean out. I don't know the make, but I've been keeping my eyes open for a backup.

I've seen the Durant at work, and I'd take this pull over it any day. Less effort, less debris in the neck, less mangling.
SushiNorth
Image Port wine should perhaps be added -- A Trollope

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SushiNorth
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Re: Favourite corkscrews

Post by SushiNorth » 20:38 Sun 27 Sep 2020

Christopher wrote:
22:18 Sat 26 Sep 2020
With old bottles I now just push the cork in decant and smash the bottle in a plastic bag with a hammer. Even using a bag to get out a fork can damage making it unreadable.
It also has the added advantage of being free😂
I learned an excellent trick on this forum. Rather than putting that bottle in the bag, put the bag in the bottle:
1) Rinse the inside of the bottle
2) Check that the bag is sturdy, and does not have air holes.
3) Squish the bag into a long thin shape, then push it into the bottle. Keep the end of the bag sticking out.
4) rattle the bottle about a bit until the cork is partially into the neck, and aligned for removal.
5) Blow some air into the bag, then hold the end of the bag shut (I twist it up around a finger a little)
6) Pull gently but firmly, and the cork will pull out.
tip: Sometimes you have to release a little air, sometimes it takes another try. If you get frustrated, there's always the hammer :)
SushiNorth
Image Port wine should perhaps be added -- A Trollope

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