For wine enthusiasts, opening a bottle of wine is a practice elevated to a ritual requiring style, experience and the right bottle opener. These devices are available in waiter, lever, twist and pump styles, but the lever style is often preferred for its ease of use. The lever-pull wine opener employs gears and natural leverage to insert and remove the spiralling "worm," so using it requires little muscle or experience. However, the lever-style wine opener is not without drawbacks.
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Many favour the T-shaped waiter-style corkscrew over the lever-style because of relative size. The waiter-style may be no larger than a pocket knife --- and many pocket knives actually incorporate a simple corkscrew in their design. However, the lever style tends to be bulkier, with the spiral-shaped worm projecting from a tubular base and as many as three levers branching outward from it. It takes up considerable space in the utensil drawer. Some models are stored in their own cases, adding more bulk, or are permanently attached to a base that would occupy counter space like an electric can opener or coffeemaker does.
Prices of wine openers vary from as little as a few dollars for a simple waiter or twist style, to several hundred dollars for an uncorking machine. The model recommended most highly by "Cook's Illustrated" in March 2011 was the Oggi Nautilus corkscrew, the price for which was listed on the site as £16.20. The price cited for the magazine's second favourite, Metrokane Vertical Rabbit, was £38.90. "Good Housekeeping," which, in 2011, listed a simple £7.70 waiter-style corkscrew as the one "people prefer" for everyday use, praised two lever-style models as well. The magazine listed the £42.20 Vacuvin Wine Master as "fail-safe" and the £97 Screwpull Elegance Lever Model as an "ultimate investment."
As with any product, the more parts involved, the greater the possibility things can go wrong. Although using a lever-pull opener requires less twisting and muscle power, learning to work the levers may require some practice. Levers made of less durable material may not provide enough leverage to remove a harder, synthetic cork. Also, working parts may stop moving as smoothly or efficiently over time, but a bit of lubricant on moving parts may fix the problem.
Just as many automobile owners cherish the stick-shift-operated manual vehicle, so do many wine enthusiasts prefer the "manual" corkscrews that require the twist and pull motions. Uncorking the wine bottle manually amounts to a ritual for some --- a ritual that may be compromised if it is partially automated with gears and levers.
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- Winston's Wisdom; How to Shop for a Lever Style Corkscrew; January 2009
- Winston's Wisdom; Corkscrew Styles - Pick Your Preference; July 2008
- "Good Housekeeping": Corkscrews
- Consumer Search; Wine Openers - Full Report; Sept. 2009
- "Cook's Illustrated"; Wine Openers; March 2011
- Beverage Factory: Wine Openers