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21 November 2008

Ask Mecha: What's the best (read, smallest, lightest, most durable, most reliable, easiest to operate when opening the second or third bottle of wine, etc.) wine-opening device (I probably mean 'corkscrew,' but maybe there's some weird gadget I'm not thinking of) that can be reasonably carried in a messenger bag? In a pocket? On a keyring?
A Waiter's Corkscrew. Hands down.
posted by danf 21 November | 14:44
oh yeah, danf totally beat me to it. Seconded.
posted by lonefrontranger 21 November | 14:45
Fuck it, lots of good wines are going screw top now. Open that bottle with Ockam's Razor!
posted by pieisexactlythree 21 November | 14:45
Yep, waiter's tool. There's a reason it's still around.

pie brings up a good point, though -- there are a lot of good wines that come with screw-caps, if you're needing to take wine somewhere and don't want to mess with a corkscrew. Although I have occasionally resorted to knocking the cork into the bottle with a screwdriver and a hammer out of sheer desperation.
posted by middleclasstool 21 November | 14:59
waiter's wine key, with the little 'booster' notch. I wouldn't trade mine for any tool on the planet.

I keep a crappy plastic tube-shaped one in the car for 'emergencies,' though, and have used it more than once.
posted by Miko 21 November | 15:17
I had in my glove compartment, until I no longer had a car, a thing (which maybe what Miko is referring to as "crappy plastic tube-shaped one") to open wine in emergencies. It was a piece of corkscrew shaped metal, topped with an O shape. It sat in a plastic sheath, which you fed through the O, in order to twist the corkscrew--it may or may not be called a T-bar corkscrew. I never had a problem with it, and it traveled easily. I actually find it easier to use than the waiters one. But I like my jumping jack man one the best
posted by crush-onastick 21 November | 15:49
waiter's wine key, with the little 'booster' notch

The one where the lever part has a riveted hinge, so that it can take two bites in sequence, is hands down the simplest best. That feature will allow you to pull even a super tight cork.
posted by StickyCarpet 21 November | 15:52
Just don't try to travel with one in your carry-on.
posted by Ardiril 21 November | 16:41
not small, but I have one of these and it's never done me wrong. Even when opening my SIXTH bottle.
posted by kellydamnit 21 November | 17:04
I use a Glock. Pretty light and inexpensive.
posted by Eideteker 21 November | 18:12
Though the waiter's corkscrew with the hingey bit is definitely the simplest and most reliable thing ever, I also always enjoyed using the straight-up corkscrew on a handle - the kind with no additional leverage, just sheer arm strength. That had a nice flair to it.

But when I was waitressing a lot and opening 30 bottles of wine a night I didn't really want to fool with that nonsense too much.
posted by Miko 21 November | 18:15
Waiter's corkscrew for sure. The best one I've ever had is also the cheapest--the blade is serrated, so it'll cut through any foil/plastic you throw at it, and it cost me two bucks at some wine store in Edmonton. It's held up better than the $60 Henckels one I bought someone as a gift (guaranteed for life, sure, if the owner can be arsed to send it back for repair/replacement, which this one couldn't when the screw bent beyond usefulness.) Though if I'm traveling a lot, I'll sometimes make do with the one on my Swiss Army knife, as I'm bringing that anyway. As impressive as the kellydamnit-endorsed gadget is when it works, I've actually managed to break one (first bottle of the night even, and the screw part snapped), and the replacement one I bought (since it wasn't mine) didn't work. My conclusion from this is that one shouldn't trust the cheap ones. Also, they're bulky.
posted by elizard 21 November | 18:39
A word of caution: make sure the foil cutter is a blade and not a cutting wheel. The cutting wheel works well most of the time, but some bottle shapes make it a PITA to use. I have one, and I'm basically waiting for it to die before my miserly self replaces it, which should be by about retirement.
posted by middleclasstool 21 November | 20:28
I think I may be leaning toward the Leatherman Juice--it's got a corkscrew 'assist' that's kinda like a single-stage waiter's corkscrew, which puts it slightly ahead of the Swiss Army Knife and makes it the best corkscrew among multitools (which isn't saying much, really). The waiter's tool, despite its other charms, is a little too epicurean--which is to say that carrying pliers makes me seem like less of a drunk.
posted by box 21 November | 22:05
Also, Mecha folks are the kind of people that keep emergency corkscrews in their gloveboxes, and I think that's awesome.
posted by box 21 November | 22:17
What they all said, except, the Butler's Friend is better for older corks, is so much cooler, and once you get used to using one, is so much easier than anything else.

You will still need something to cut the capsule though, so carry a knife (or maybe a Glock, but watch the trigger guard). Or something like this.
posted by GeckoDundee 22 November | 09:45
When the cats are away... || Just when I thought things were looking up.