Getting a bottle of wine open might seem like a straightforward task. Wine bottles use corks. Corks allow the wine to breathe, which is what causes the exquisite aging process. But there are a ton of tools on the market that claim to be the best at popping that bottle open. How do you know which one is truly the best?
|#1. New Star |
Our Best Pick
|Stainless steel||Curved blade||5 x 1 inches|
|#2. Pedrini |
|Soft grip||Straight blade||9.1 x 3.5 inches|
Different Gadgets for Opening Wine
There are a ton of gadgets on the market that let you open a wine bottle, ranging from extremely complex to deceptively simple. Some have complicated systems that involve transferring torque between levers. Others operate on battery power or need to be plugged in. Still others use vacuum suction to work. There are even models that require installation on a table or wall before they can be used.
None of these gadgets is terrible, at least as long as you’re only pouring wine for yourself. But waiters have to pour several bottles of wine per hours. The average server won’t be helped by an over-complicated machine. Waiters appreciate tools that have stood the test of time.
If you ask any bartender, server, or other person who frequently opens bottles of wine, they’ll tell you that a wine key is the most important tool of the trade. Wine keys offer the gold standard as far as wine bottle opening goes.
In every restaurant that serves wine, you’re likely to find some variation of this tool. A wine key is simple, portable, compact, and capable of being used efficiently. There’s also something elegant about the confident wrist motion associated with a wine key.
What to Look For in a Wine Key
There are a number of things that a server must consider when choosing the best wine key for them.
The top priority should be ease of use. You don’t want a complex tool that seems to require a manual to work. You want something that you can learn and use efficiently. When you’re a server, your job is complicated enough without adding another level of complication.
You should look for tools that have a comfortable and ergonomic design. You’re going to be using the tool a lot. A difficult-to-use tool will cause your hands to cramp up, and you’ll be sore by the end of your shift. It’s important to look for a tool that’s gentle with your fingers, wrist, and hands. The tool should also be portable enough to slide into your apron, vest, or pants pocket.
The next thing to consider is the worm. One restaurant could stock hundreds of wine bottles. You want to make sure your worm can screw into a great deal of different cork materials and sizes. It should be wide enough to grip the cork securely, but it shouldn’t be so wide that it might shred the cork. You don’t want any floating cork bits to end up in the wine!
You’ll want a tool that offers maximum possible durability. Tools made from stainless steel will last for multiple years without breaking. Ideally, your tool should stand up to repeated use without malfunctioning or wearing out.
The last consideration should be the price tag. The majority of restaurateurs will be cautious about overspending, especially when their day-to-day operation has such unpredictable economic margins. Restaurant employees don’t want to overspend on a tool they’re buying out-of-pocket to help with their work, either. You want a tool that’s durable and effective, but that won’t break the bank.
There are two main types of wine key on the market: single-hinged and double-hinged. Some people consider single-hinged designs to be more professional. However, the double-hinged design may be easier to wield. It helps ensure that servers don’t get carpal tunnel syndrome due to overusing their hands.
The Best Wine Keys for Servers
#1. New Star Foodservice 48247 Stainless Steel Corkscrew
This is an all-in-one tool that can handle all your needs regarding beverage service. When you open your bottle of wine, the folding knife offers an easy way to remove the foil from around the bottle. A folding corkscrew is used to extract the cork, with a single-hinge lever that makes the process even easier. The lever also includes a notch by the hinge which can be used as a bottle opener.
This entire tool is constructed from stainless steel. It’s a very compact option, measuring just five inches. In addition, it’s safe to use in the dishwasher. The only potential drawback is that there’s no ergonomic grip.
#2. Pedrini’s Wine and Bar Corkscrew
This model is slightly more elegant than the previous version. It also tends to take up more space, being about 10 by 5 inches long. The tool comes with a non-slip handle that provides a soft grip, ensuring you stay safe when you use the sharp tools. A folding foil cutter makes quick work of the foil on the mouth of a wine bottle, and a bottle opener increases the ease of use.
This tool isn’t made with stainless steel, so it’s likely to wear down over time. However, it is safe to run through the dishwasher and does tend to be durable.
Both of these corkscrews will do the job you want them to. If you want something that’s compact enough to fit in a drawer, the New Star will suit you best. This is also the best model if you want stainless steel construction.
However, if you’re planning to open several bottles of wine in an hour, you’ll want the Pedrini. The comfortable handle makes it easy to use multiple times in one night.