Emma with friends Gabby, Grace, and Kerong.

P.C. Stephanie Pence

Last month my mom left me for over 2 weeks!  Can you imagine that? 14 long days without her to follow around and wait for her to give me the best ear rubs anyone can give?  I was morose. I did nothing but mope while my dad tried to love me back to my normal self. Thinking back about it now, I suppose she did leave me for a very important reason. You see, my sister Emma is serving in the Peace Corps in Rwanda, and my mom misses her terribly.  I try to keep her lots of company, but I know it doesn’t completely take the place of Emma.

Mom had a really great time and got to see lots of fun things besides just Emma.  She even took some of our Brix & Columns wine with her to enjoy with Emma and her friends.  The wine sharing evening had all the trappings of perfection – until they realized there was no bottle opener in sight.  Grace came to the rescue with the old pen and rock trick and saved the day! She simply stood a ballpoint pen up on the cork, and then used a rock to bang down on the pen and push the cork in the bottle.  It was genius!

Grace working her millenial magic on our Chardonnay.

P.C. Stephanie Pence

Let’s all give Grace a round of applause.  She is a long ways from her home in California, so we will have to clap extra loud for her to hear! It took a millennial from a West Coast wine state to teach this East Coast winery mom from Virginia a few tricks.

I figured there had to be more ideas out there to uncork a bottle of wine that were nearly as brilliant, so I looked around and got my paws on some to share with you! Please keep in mind that these are just some fun discoveries, we aren’t recommending that you try any method other than the tried and true corkscrew.

One of the easiest methods is to screw a LONG screw into the cork, then use the claw side of the hammer to pull it out.  

Another pretty simple, and mind-blowing approach, is to use a bike pump.  This method, of course, needs you to have access to something that might not be available to everyone, but if you are a cyclist reading this, I am giving you pure gold here.  You insert the needle all the way into the cork (until the hole of the needle is below the cork) and pump air into the bottle. Eventually, the cork will work its way out.

If you only have your keys on hand, you are in luck as I found a method for you.  Push your key into the cork at a 45 degree angle, and twist it in a circle until it pulls the cork out enough for you to remove it the rest of the way by hand.

If you happen to have a machete on hand, you can always try the “chop the neck of the bottle” off method, but that one sounds a little scary to me.  You might lose a toe, not to mention the bottle could shatter and you would lose all of the wine you were trying to drink!

Two of the approaches I found require heat to work.  The first one uses a blowtorch because who DOESN’T have one of those sitting around?  On a room temperature bottle of wine, you can aim the torch directly below the cork line of the bottle, and the heat will push the cork out of the bottle.  

The other heat-based method employs a big pot of boiling water.  After the water has come to boiling, remove from heat and place the wine bottle inside.  Eventually, the heat will push the cork out, and your wine will be ready to drink. This would be perfect if you were already planning to heat your wine for mulled wine.

The final method is the one to go for when you have none of these other supplies on your hand.  You basically just bang the cork right out of the bottle by hitting the bottom of the bottle with your shoe or by wrapping the bottle in thick padding and hitting the base against a tree.  Theory says that it works eventually; just make sure you keep a close eye on it and stop before the cork comes all the way out. You wouldn’t want to spill any of that hard-earned wine on the ground!

Our Petit Verdot pictured with our favorite style of wine opener.

P.C Erin Baugher

These all sound really fun and interesting, but some of them also sound pretty dangerous.  I personally wouldn’t recommend trying any of these at home, and the best solution to always having a way to open your bottle is to carry a handy double-hinged corkscrew around with you.  You can check out our favorite kind next time you come to the winery, but only after you have a time to love on me!