There's nothing worse than trying to open a bottle of wine only to realize the cork is so dried out it crumbles apart, leaving half of it still stuck in the neck.
Luckily there are a few ways you can avoid the crumbly cork frustration so you can start sipping your wine sooner rather than later, with no "floaty bits" to deal with.
Also known as a "Waiter's Friend," this two-pronged corkscrew is wedged around the cork and pulls it out of the bottle, unlike a regular corkscrew that penetrates the cork itself. The latter can make a crumbly cork crumble completely into the wine or break halfway through opening the bottle.
If your cork looks too crumbly to withstand the corkscrew, try poking a small hole in the center of the cork with a sharp, thin nail or very slender drill bit and then pouring the wine through. If you use this method, make sure to pour the wine through a filter to catch any errant bits of cork.
This method takes a little patience but works like a charm. Place your bottle of wine in the heel of a hard-soled shoe, then bang the shoe (while still holding the neck of the bottle) against a hard surface. You want to whack it firmly but not so hard that you blow a hole through the wall. Once enough of the cork has emerged from the neck of the bottle, use your hand to pull it out.
Alleviate some of the pressure caused by a single corkscrew, and try using two at the same time to open wine with a crumbly cork. Point the corkscrews at an angle moving toward each other, and screw them in until their points meet. Then gently pull both screws to try to dislodge the cork without it crumbling into the bottle.
If you can pull this off at a party, people will be super impressed. Make a knot at the end of a piece of strong string or slender rope. Use a tool, like a small screwdriver, to work the knot down around the cork (between the cork and the glass) and into the bottle. Once the knot is below the cork, simply pull firmly on the rope, and the knot will lift the cork out of the bottle.
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