Updated August 20th, 2018 – Natural corks breathe air, which allows for the regulated aging process of wine. That’s why they have been the preferred choice for sealing wine bottles in storage.
While corks do allow for a beautifully aged, delicious wine, the downside is that they too age.
They become porous and crumbly, making it very difficult to remove them in one piece.
I’m no wine aficionado, I just drink a lot of wine.
But, I think you’ll agree with me when I say…
There’s nothing worse than being excited about a deliciously aged wine… And then having to fish cork crumbles out of your glass.
I mean, of course, you’ll still drink it, but who wants to spit cork pieces out of their mouth around a table of friends?
What is the Best Corkscrew for Old Corks?
As wine drinkers, we’ve got a brother and sisterhood that no other group of connoisseurs has.
So, being the innovative wine drinkers that we are, someone has come up with a creative goodie to retrieve those nasty crumbling corks.
Here at The Kitchen Professor, we’ve brought you the creme de la creme of the best corkscrews for old corks.
Corkfish Wine Cork Retriever
See the Corkfish Wine Cork Retriever at Amazon
This first solution is the Corkfish wine cork retriever. It’s like the Golden Retriever of crumbly corks!
The Corkfish is a simple design, made from stainless steel with a basket attached to the handle.
To fish a crumbled cork, or even a whole cork that’s floating in your wine bottle is easy as pie.
Just lower the basket into the wine bottle and scoop the pieces of cork into the basket.
Then just use the handle to pull the cork pieces out of the bottle.
It really couldn’t be easier!
Even if you’ve only had cork pieces in your wine once, you know all about those teeny tiny pesky pieces.
Well, the Corkfish has you covered…
It also comes with a handy piece of mesh which is perfect for fishing out smaller pieces of cork.
And it’s stored inside the hollow stainless steel handle, so you won’t lose it.
I can’t find much wrong with the Corkfish Wine Cork Retriever. It’s easy to use and even easier to carry around with you. Its design is simple. It is made of a robust stainless material with a basket head attached to the handle. The corks that fall in the wine are fished out using this gadget. It is easy to use as you need to lower the basket into the wine bottle and fetch the cork into the basket. It can fish out the tiny fragments of the cork since it has gauze mesh in the handle.
Although, a few years back one customer did comment that after only 2 uses they managed to pull the handle off the stainless steel basket.
I think the Corkfish is a fantastic tool for any wine drinker. And it should definitely be in your wine drinking toolbox along with your foil cutter and corkscrew.
Check out how easy the Corkfish is to use…
Cork Retriever 1030
Next up is the Cork Retriever 1030. It works on the same principle as the Corkfish with a few differences in design. It uses the same concept as Corkfish wine cork retriever but different in design. It has long stainless steel fingers with a plastic handle attached to it. The main difference between the cork retriever 1030 and Corkfish is that the former doesn’t have a net to fetch out tiny fragments.
The Cork Retriever has a plastic handle and long stainless steel fingers which you lower into the wine bottle.
See the Cork Retriever 1030 at Amazon
Also, the Cork Retriever doesn’t come with a handy gauze to fish out those tiny pieces. It’s only made to fish out whole corks.
The Cork Retriever 1030 seems like a fine tool for the avid wine drinker. But I think it lacks in functionality because it’s useless when you’re faced with small crumbles of cork.
In my opinion, if you’re looking for a tool to fish out corks and cork pieces, the Corkfish is a much better option.
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Monopol Westmark Germany Steel Two-Prong Cork Puller
See the Monopol Westmark Germany Steel Two-Prong Cork Puller at Amazon
Okay, so although us wine drinkers are one-of-a-kind, we rarely agree on anything. I think the best grapes for a Bordeaux are Malbec. You prefer Cabernet Franc.
Now when it comes to dealing with older corks, some of us think using the right tool from the get-go means no crumbly cork in our wine.
Personally, I prefer the right tool AND a cork retriever – just in case.
One of the best tools for popping an old cork is a 2-prong cork puller. And it’ll beat a regular corkscrew any day. Especially when you’re working with an old cork…
It’s one of the best brands available in the market. It has two steel prongs and a die-cast handle. The puller will fetch out the cork from your wine without damaging the bottle. Also, the handle acts as a bottle opener and is covered with a decorative casing. It’s reliable, efficient, and easy to use. Better yet, the product comes with five years warranty ensuring that you’re covered within that period in case it becomes faulty.
This cork puller also comes with a beautiful cover to protect those sharp prongs.
So here’s how it works…
Gently squeeze the longer prong in between the cork and the bottle. Then move it back and forth with gentle pressure until the short prong starts squeezing in between the glass and the cork.
Next you ‘rock’ the handle back and forth until the cork puller is firmly in the bottle.
The last step is to pull and twist the cork puller at the same time.
Yes, it’s a tricky tool to use, but the cork puller has a great reputation for pulling even the oldest corks out without any breaking.
And after a few tries, you’ll be a master at it.
One thing you should be careful of is accidentally piercing the cork with one of the prongs.
This can easily happen, so it’s important to go slowly through the steps described above.
I like this cork puller for its high-quality manufacturing. It’s made by Westmark in Germany. They’re 50 years old, so they know their stuff.
It also comes with a full money back guarantee if you’re not totally satisfied.
Like I said before though, I recommend having a high-quality cork puller and a cork retriever too.
Norpro A2B Cork Puller
See the Norpro A2B Cork Puller at Amazon
The Norpro A2B is another great option if you’re looking for a quality cork puller at a decent price.
Its design is different from Westmark cork puller, but both items use the same principle. The prongs are equal in length, and they are blunt to ensure that you don’t pierce the cork. Also, the prongs are protected with cover to prevent the user from accidentally stabbing the fingers while fishing it out from your bag. It is made of stainless steel material which is strong, durable and lasts long.
The prongs are blunter than the Westmark. I prefer this because there’s less chance of piercing the cork.
It also comes with a cover to protect the prongs. And prevent you from accidentally stabbing your fingers while you’re fishing it out of your bag.
The Norpro Cork Puller is made in Italy from high-quality stainless steel. And in my opinion, it’s a fine tool for any wine drinker, at a very decent price.
Your Fancy Option
Besides using one of the cork retrievers I mentioned earlier, there is another way you can banish crumbled cork from your wine.
And it’s oh-so-chic!
It involves a wine funnel with a strainer and a beautiful decanter. So this is not an option you can cart off to your next dinner at your favorite restaurant. This method is more for home use.
Opening up a dessert wine? Maybe you’d like some chocolaty dessert to go with that? Here are my favorite saucepans for making fudge.
Norpro Stainless Steel Funnel with Strainer
See the Norpro Stainless Steel Funnel with Strainer at Amazon
If you’re keen on decanting your cork filled wine then you’re going to need one of these.
This Norpro funnel is made in Italy from stainless steel. Of course, this is the best material to use since it won’t taint your wine’s flavor like aluminum would. And because wine is acidic you want a metal that won’t rust.
The mouth – or the top opening is 3 inches and the stem is 4 inches. So there’s not a carafe or decanter on this planet that it won’t fit.
The funnel part is fitted with a removable screen which catches any sediment and annoying cork pieces.
The screen is set in a stainless steel rim which makes it easy to remove and replace after washing.
One word of advice. The manufacturer recommends hand washing this funnel, so it’s not dishwasher safe.
There’s nothing not to like about this funnel for decanting your wine. The only thing it can’t do is remove whole corks.
Bella Vino Crystal Carafe
See the Bella Vino Crystal Carafe at Amazon
Okay, so everyone likes crystal glassware!
And because you’re a wine drinker, you know how decanting your wine can bring out the aroma of fruits, wood, and grasses etc.
Giving even a budget wine a large surface area to breathe will make it taste amazing!
I think this Bella Vino Crystal Carafe is a perfect and affordable carafe for decanting in any setting.
This carafe is made from crystal like I mentioned before and it’s designed with a spill-proof mouth. Although nothing is spill proof when you’ve had one too many vinos!
Jokes aside, I really like the spout, it makes for easy pouring. And other customers have commented on how comfortable it is to hold.
The decanter can hold a full bottle of wine. But I think a half bottle is better since you’re giving it as much surface area as possible to aerate.
Not cleaning the bottom of the decanter properly means over time build up of sediment will form. Which will affect future wines you decant.
I like this Bella Vino Crystal Carafe. It’s simple, looks elegant and gets the job done.
Riedel Ultra Decanter
See the Riedel Ultra Decanter at Amazon
Riedel manufactures some of the best crystal ware on earth. And this Riedel Ultra Decanter is a top of the range decanter.
And it’s bound to impress.
The crystal is mouth-blown by some famous glassmakers in Austria. And it’s full-lead crystal.
What’s the lead crystal? It’s crystal that contains an 18-40 weight percent of lead oxide. But don’t worry, it’s safe.
Full-lead crystal is pretty fancy and sought after in the glassware world.
This Riedel Ultra Decanter is no different from the Bella Vino one. Except that it doesn’t have the neat pouring spout incorporated in its design.
It has a wide, flat bottom which gives your wine a large surface area for it to breathe. Which is what you want.
The more breathing space the more of the undertones you’ll smell and taste.
The decanter is large so it can handle a lot of wine. But it’s best not to fill it since you want to use mainly the large flat bottom area to allow your wine to breathe.
The Riedel Decanter is beautiful and it’s well made. But its price is its downfall in my opinion. It provides the same function as the Bella Vino Crystal Carafe but it’s way more expensive.
But if your heart desires a decanter made by Riedel brings, then this decanter is for you.
One thing that did put me off is a customer commented that her decanter arrived with a chip. Sort of like an air bubble in the glass that popped.
She notified the seller at Amazon and they didn’t even offer her a refund or a replacement. That’s a little cheeky in my opinion. Especially since this decanter carries the Riedel name.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose a corkscrew and cork retriever?
A cork retriever is mainly chosen based on purpose. It may either stuck or slide into the bottle, and these incidents require different tools. A winged corkscrew design is easier to use and is recommended to avoid tearing the cork apart. I would advise you to check the auger to enhance ease of removing the cork. You should consider the spiral glides because they are much easier to drive through the cork with minimum effort.
What should I use if the cork slides into the bottle and is it possible to avoid breakage?
Whenever the retrievers are made, safety is one sure thing. However, this is also dependent on the way the tools are used. Most cork retrievers are steel made. The main reason for this technology is to reduce effort. You should be able to get your cork with minimal efforts.
Among the best retrievers is a Corkfish. This retriever is made of steel. It has a basket fitted on it that makes it easy to fish the cork. It works best for both whole corks and pieces of corks. You may also use the cork retriever 1030.
Are all corkscrews compatible with all bottle sizes?
Corkscrews are made in different model and design. Although this is the case, most of them come in the standard size. This means whether small or large bottles the corkscrews are just perfect. Corkscrew features flexible steel prongs with an attached basket to the handle, and a good example is the Corkfish. The basket helps in the collection of small pieces in either big or small bottles which is done at ease. The cork retriever has a plastic handle that allows you to adjust the fingers to fix the bottle size. The steel used is easy to adjust to all bottle sizes thus no need to worry.
How many options of corkscrew are available?
There are quite a number of corkscrews available. However, some are not affordable. There are several types of corkscrews but the commonly used is the mounted screw. It’s clamped on table counters especially in bars and restaurants. It works best for small corks. Level corkscrew is common in bars but not as compared to the mounted screw corkscrew.
How do I clean my wine decanter?
This is usually among the toughest cleaning tasks. You have to consider how delicate the decanter is because it needs special cleaning tools. You must equip yourself with special brushes, glassware cloth, and cleaning balls. You must also avoid the use of regular detergents.
You will need to prepare lukewarm water. Then fill the decanter with the water. After a while pour the water and pour the crystal cleaner. You may also use the cleaning balls which are very useful in removing tough stains.
There are a bunch of ways you can get rid of corks and cork crumbs from your wine.
But I can’t say no to a beautiful piece of crystal glassware for my wine. So I’d most definitely include a decanter. But my personal choice would be the Bella Vino Crystal Decanter.
Old corks are a small price to pay for the ‘nose’ and taste of a well-aged wine.
But thankfully, we don’t have to put up with the downside of old corks.
So, you know about the innovative gadgets available. And you’ve seen bottle openers that put regular corkscrews to shame.
Now you can shop with confidence and choose the best tools for your wine toolbox.