How to Use a Wine Key


If you work in a restaurant as a bartender or server, wine keys are the standard industry tool for opening a bottle of wine. Wine keys are also useful for opening wine at home. Though it takes a bit of practice, it is less cumbersome than any other type of wine opener. Using a wine key smoothly is an easy way to impress your guests. Read on to learn how.

  • Open the knife to cut off the foil. Most bottles of have a lip about 1/8 inch from the rim; if you cut a clean circle along the top edge of this lip, the foil will pop right off.

  • Grip the wine key in your hand and use the knuckle of your index finger to hold the knife against the bottle. Keep your thumb hooked around the opposite edge of the rim. Use your other hand to turn the bottle and cut the foil all the way around.

  • Fold the knife back into the key. Do this immediately to avoid cuts; sometimes wine keys have sharp knives. Open the lever and the corkscrew.

  • Grip the body of the wine key in your hand again, but this time extend the tip of your index finger down to the tip of the corkscrew. Use your finger to guide the corkscrew into the cork at a slight angle.

  • Twist the corkscrew into the cork until just one or two rungs are visible. When you are finished with this, the corkscrew should more or less be sticking out of the center of the cork. If, at this point, the corkscrew is very much off center, simply unscrew it and try again.

  • Fold the lever down so that the notch at the end of the lever sits plumb against the lip of the wine bottle. If the corkscrew isn't properly centered, the lever won't fit properly over the edge of rim so you'll have to retry Step 4. If the lever folds down below the lip, unscrew the corkscrew a few notches and try again.

  • Lift the opposite end of the wine key up against the lever. If you have a nice angle, the cork should slide right out. If you lift the wine key up as far as it will go and there is still a fair bit of cork left in the bottle, use your hand to gently tug the cork out.

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