How To Open A Wine Bottle Without A Corkscrew: 8 Great Hacks

by Hunter Robillard

Ever faced a situation where you were ready to open a corked bottle and the wine opener was missing? You’re not alone!

Discover 8 creative ways on how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, using nothing but your wits and some handy household tools.

Further reading

How To Open A Wine Bottle Without A Corkscrew: 8 Unusual Hacks

If that nice bottle of wine you just bought doesn’t have a screw cap and you don’t have a corkscrew to open it, these techniques can help. 

These tricks and tips will also work on both bottles with natural and synthetic cork.

1. It’s Hammer Time!


For this technique to work, you only need a little arm strength and a few tools to open the wine bottle.

You’ll need:

  • One long screw 
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer or fork

Here’s what you do:

  1. Take the wrapping off the wine bottle neck. 
  2. Using the screwdriver, twist the screw into the middle of the cork. Leave about an inch showing on top.
  3. Get the back part of the hammer or a fork and lock it under the screw. 
  4. Now, pull the cork out. It may take a bit of tugging, but the cork will come out.

2. The Shoe Method 


If you don’t have a wine bottle opener or any other tool, you can always use a shoe. 

You’ll need: 

  • One shoe (make sure it has a firm heel to serve as padding for the bottle.)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Put the bottle inside the heel area of the shoe. 
  2. Grip the bottle and the shoe firmly and smack the heel against a wall a few times. The cork will slowly start moving out.
  3. To avoid a potential mess, stop when there’s enough cork to grip and pull it out of the wine bottle.

You can follow the same method with a thick towel instead of a shoe. Make sure you securely wrap the base of the bottle to prevent it from breaking.

3. Just Insert (a Knife or Key) and Twist


Even if you don’t have a wine key handy, you’re sure to have one or more of the tools below. But, since some of the items can be sharp, be mindful when handling them. 

You’ll need one of the following:

  • Car key
  • Serrated knife (like a steak knife or a butter knife)
  • Pocket knife
  • Pair of scissors 

Here’s what you do:

  1. Remove the foil on the bottle and put the key, serrated knife, or pocket knife into the cork at a 45-degree angle. If you’re using scissors, pull the blades apart and use one of them to insert into the cork.
  2. Once you’ve wedged it in properly, move the key, knife, or scissors in a circle, slowly twisting the cork free. Don’t rush it.
  3. It should come out after 2-3 rotations.

4. Bring on the Heat (with a Blow Torch or Lighter)


For this technique to work, make sure the bottle isn’t straight out of your wine cooler. If it is, bring it down to room temperature before applying heat.

You’ll need: 

  • A blow torch, preferably, or a lighter

Here’s what you do:

  1. Remove the wrapping on the bottle and start using the blow torch or lighter. 
  2. Apply the heat to the bottle neck under the cork. 
  3. Keep rotating the bottle as you heat it. The air around the neck will expand with the heat, causing the bottle cork to pop out. 

5. Pump It Up and Out


If you own a bicycle, this hack may help you open your wine bottle.

You’ll need:

  • A manual bike pump or ball pump with a needle

Here’s what you do:

  1. Remove the wrapping on the bottle's neck and insert the needle down the middle of the cork. It should come out on the other end.
  2. Carefully pump air into the wine bottle. This will create air pressure and push the cork upwards.
  3. Once enough of the cork is out, pull it out with your hand.

6. Push It Down (with a Spoon)


Here, you basically push the cork in, not pull it out.

You’ll need one of the following:

  • A wooden spoon
  • Screwdriver
  • Any narrow blunt object

Here’s what you do:

  1. Once the cork is exposed, grab your wooden spoon and hold it with the paddle (spoon area) facing upwards. 
  2. Hold the bottle so it stands vertically. 
  3. Use the blunt end of the spoon and push the cork down. It should go down after a few pushes.
  4. Now you can enjoy your opened wine bottle!

Avoid using this technique with older vintage bottles, as cork bits may crumble into the wine. 

But, if this happens, strain the wine into a decanter before you have a taste. Use a mesh strainer, coffee filter, or cheesecloth to strain the wine.

7. The Hanger Matter


You can use a wire hanger to open your wine bottle, too.

You’ll need:

  • A wire hanger
  • Pliers
  • Towel or gloves

Here’s what you do:

  1. Use the pliers and pull the tip of the hanger 30 degrees backward, creating a fishhook of sorts.
  2. Clear out the wrapping and slide this hook in between the cork and glass.
  3. When the wire is through, turn it 90 degrees so that the hook part sits under the cork. 
  4. Now you just have to pull it out. Use a pair of pliers to help you grip it while you tug. You can use a towel or gloves for extra protection.

8. Knot And Pull with a String


This hack will need a bit more elbow grease than the others.

You’ll need:

  • Screwdriver or thin metal item
  • A thick piece of cord or string (shoelaces also work)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Unwrap the bottle and make a hole in the middle of the cork with the screwdriver or metal object.
  2. Get your cord and tie a knot at the end. 
  3. Push the knot through the hole with the screwdriver.
  4. Once it’s out the other end, start pulling on the wine cork with the cord. 

Get a Corkscrew and Indulge in Your Fave Bottle Now!

While these techniques are fun to experiment with, they are not entirely reliable. 

The wine bottles can chip or break, so if you have an expensive wine bottle and no corkscrew, get a wine bottle opener right away or save the bottle for when you have one. 


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Yes, remember to use a corkscrew to open these bottles!

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