Monday, August 31, 2009
WHY WINE: CORKSCREWS: part two: 'types'
The basic corkscrew has a pointed metal helix, called a worm, and a crossbar used for pulling the cork out of the neck of the wine bottle. This is accomplished by screwing the worm into the cork and pulling the cork up and out of the wine bottle. The only fault with this kind of corkscrew is that it take a lot of strength to pull the cork out, while holding the bottle down.
An improvement on this design was to have something on the bottle to hold the bottle down while you pull up. There are two popular versions of this improvement:
1) The wing corkscrew (also referred to as the butterfly or angel corkscrew) is most common in households. It has 2 levers on either side of the worm, which goes through a metal ring (or collar) that sits on top of the bottle neck. As you screw the worm into the cork, the force between the worm, ring, bottle and cork, makes the cork loosen and begin to rise out of the bottle. (If you need to know more detail - please see a physics teacher). This also causes the levers to rise. When the levers are up, you push the down and the cork will rise further. Continue to do this until you can pull the cork completely out of the wine bottle. Another feature of this type of wine bottle opener is that usually a bottle opener is fashioned on the top of the worm shaft.
2) The sommelier knife (also referred to as the waiter's friend), is a bottle wine opener most commonly used in restaurants by waiters and waitresses. It folds up like a pocket knife. The crossbar for gripping has a hinged worm, a bracing arm to hook onto the neck of the wine bottle to assist in the lifting out of the cork, and a small knife used to remove the foil cap.
In modern times, the wine bottle openers are just variations of these designs. With the introduction of gas driven worms and electricity, you no longer need to expend any energy to remove the cork. They have become very fast, efficient and automatic, but not as romantic as opening a bottle of wine over a candle light dinner.