It’s actually pretty simple to open a bottle of wine. These steps are for a double-action, or wing, corkscrew, which has two arms (or wings) that help lever the cork out of the bottle. Whatever you do, don’t break the cork.

Things You'll Need

Remove the top of the lead or foil capsule by cutting around the rim of the bottle with the sharp point of the corkscrew. The arms of the cork-screw will have to be raised for this step. You can also make a slit in the foil and remove the whole capsule before beginning.

Stand the bottle on a flat, hard surface at mid-chest level or lower. Lower the arms of the corkscrew. Holding the corkscrew as vertically and straight as possible, place the sharp end directly into the middle of the cork.

Securely grasp the top of the bottle and the lower end of the corkscrew with one hand.

With the other hand, begin turning the handle of the corkscrew clock-wise, applying an even, constant downward pressure into the cork. As the corkscrew goes into the cork, its arms will begin to rise.

Apply more pressure if the corkscrew will not penetrate the cork.

Keep turning the handle until the arms of the corkscrew are completely raised and the screw is well into the cork.

With one hand on each arm of the corkscrew, press the arms down. This will lift the cork out of the bottle.

Wrap your hand around the base of the corkscrew and lift straight up.

Remove the foil, if necessary.

Twist the cork off the corkscrew.

Wipe the rim of the bottle with a clean, damp towel before serving, to remove any stray pieces of cork and, more important, any lead left by the foil.


  • Avoid corkscrews that penetrate the cork with a solid, ridged metal screw, which won’t grip a draw cork well and can tear it apart. Instead, use a corkscrew with a metal spiral resembling a cartoon pig’s tail.

  • If for some reason you just can’t get the cork out on the first try, twist the corkscrew into a different part of the cork until the arms are raised, and repeat the process. But if you keep turning the corkscrew handle until the arms are completely raised, you shouldn’t need to do this.