Grub and Vine -


October 21, 2010

Corkscrew FAIL

I used to be into high ceremony and flashy accessories when it came to opening wine.

When having guests over, I would proudly walk over to my laminated box full of glitzy accessories and conduct the ritual that I thought ‘serious’ wine drinkers should perform — you know, the foil cutter, an antique wine funnel and my Rabbit corkscrew.

Due to serious design flaws, I junked all but one of these wine openers.

Honestly, I chose all of my wine accessories for form over function, thinking function was pretty much the same.  One night, this strategy really bit me in the ass. My suave wine opening attempts failed miserably three times in a row. And with each successive gaffe, I earned an increasing amount of laughter from my friends — the exact opposite response I was trying to elicit!

This comedy of errors ended with my Rabbit exploding into bits, ejecting a metal spring into one guest’s risotto while leaving the screw still in the cork! At that point, one of my guests started impersonating Elmer Fudd in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, singing “kill the wabbit…Kill The Wabbit….KILL THE WABBIT…”

Once all the hoots and howls subsided, I still had the issue of opening the bottle with the screw lodged in the cork. Luckily, I had a small pair of vice grips in the garage to bail me out.

Fast forward to the next morning. While trying to put my Rabbit back together, I realized that this wasn’t the first time my glitzy wine accessories had failed me.

At that point, I decided to hit the reset button on my collection and buy a whole new set of accessories. If something had failed on more than once occasion, I junked it…ergo, 2/3 of my accessories collection was gone including a Rabbit, a large mounted brass opener and a French Laguiole.

My new go-to set of tools:

  • A $0.69 sieve to replace my $200 antique wine filter. I found the sieve at a dollar store. It completely outperformed the antique filter, which had large holes instead of fine mesh. I sold the antique on eBay and bought more wine.
  • A Pulltap Waiter’s Corkscrew, which replaces EVERYTHING ELSE. Yes, the sturdy and perfectly functional Pulltap (image right), found in the pocket of most wine-serving waiters walking around restaurants today. This thing works like a dream, and you can buy it for a song ($4-6).  I gave away the other dozen wine openers to Goodwill.
    My new (old) rule for wine accessories: form follows function. And, luckily function doesn’t usually cost more than $5.

Out of curiosity, I’d love to know where my readers stand on wine accessories.  How many do you have?  Does function follow form?  Why?

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