7 Ways to Unstick the Cork From Your Wine Bottle

Your holiday meal is ready to be served, and you’re ready to pour that fabulous Pinot Noir or maybe that bottle of M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon Hermitage you’ve been saving for just this occasion. You insert the corkscrew into the cork, and nothing happens. The cork is stuck in the wine bottle! Now what?

Never fear! We’re sharing seven methods on how to get a cork out of a wine bottle without ruining your wine or your meal. Best of all, most involve using tools you already have around the house.

The Good Old-Fashioned Corkscrew

It makes sense to start with what’s handiest—your corkscrew. Begin by reinserting the corkscrew into the cork at a 45-degree angle. Using the side of the wine bottle for leverage, try sliding it up slowly, being careful not to break the cork as you do so.

Home Hardware

While they might be located in your garage rather than your at-home bar, there are a few handy tools you can use to budge that stubborn cork. Attach a 2.5-inch screw to your power drill and drill it straight down into the cork until the screw comes through on the other side. Gripping the head of the screw, wiggle the cork back and forth as you ease it out of the bottle.

No power tools? No worries. Take a few small nails and carefully insert them diagonally into the cork. Once in, use the claw part of a hammer to pull on the nails while twisting the bottle, and your cork should emerge.

Cushion and Strike

Wrap a towel around the bottom of the bottle, making sure that all areas are covered with multiple layers. Firmly hit the base of the bottle against a wall or use the heel of your shoe to hit the base. Each hit will push the wine against the cork, forcing it out.

Find Some Leverage

Using a key or knife, insert the blade between the bottle and the cork working your way around the edges. Once the blade is past the cork, begin working it back and forth. This will loosen the cork enough for you to be able to eventually pull it out by hand.

Heat Things Up

Run the neck of the bottle under very hot running water for about 30 seconds. Heat makes glass expand, so after half a minute, you should be able to grasp the cork and simply pull it out of the bottle.

Get Pumped Up

Got a bike pump with a needle? Insert the needle straight down into the cork until it comes through the other side. Gently pump the bottle with air which will nudge the cork upward. Once you can firmly grasp the cork, pull it free from the bottle.

Tie Up Loose Ends

This method takes some patience, but it’s a pretty cool party trick if you can get it down. Tie a knot at the end of a piece of string or ribbon. Using a paring knife, push the string down into the bottle between the cork and the neck until it passes the cork. Tug gently on the string to pull the cork out far enough to grasp it and pull it the rest of the way out by hand.

Final Thoughts

Any of these methods will work to extract a stubborn cork and ensure your guests enjoy your bounteous feast accompanied by that perfect glass of vino.