How to open a bottle of wine like a pro


Open a bottle of wine badly, and you'll likely end up with bits of cork for your guests to chew on as they sip. Save yourself the embarrassment by watching Food and Wine magazine's Senior Wine Editor, Ray Isle, show you how to open a bottle of wine like a pro.

How to open a bottle of wine like a pro

The corkscrew:

Ray demonstrates opening a bottle of wine with a traditional waiter's corkscrew, which has three main parts:

  • a blade (often serrated)
  • a bottle opener/lever
  • a screw

Opening the bottle:

  1. Use the knife end to cut around the base of the capsule (the metal part) and pop off the metal cap of the wine bottle.
  2. Insert the tip of the screw at an angle, with the point digging slightly into the middle of the cork. This helps prevent you from hitting the side of the wine bottle.
  3. Then put it straight in and begin turning the corkscrew while pointing the opposite end straight up so you can place your hand over the top.
  4. Twist the corkscrew in until you can use the first notch of the bottle opener against the side of the wine bottle and push up. Twist more till you can reach the second notch or end of the corkscrew and use this notch or end against the top of the bottle to pull the rest of the cork out.



I’m Ray Isle from Food and Wine Magazine, senior wine editor, and I’m here to talk about how to open a bottle of wine.

I’m a big fan of the classic waiter corkscrew. It’s got three main parts: the little knife, you’ve got this doodad and you’ve got the screw itself. There’s usually a rim around the bottom here. This is called the capsule, this metal part. Go around the base of this little rim, it’s much easier than going around the top of the rim.Then pop off the little metal cap.

Then what you’ve got to do — this is the key part, getting the cork out of the bottle. Take the screw at an angle, so that this little point goes straight in. Then put it straight in and turn it straight up and down. That gives you an angle that puts the corkscrew right in the center of the cork. What you want to do is get it right in the center of the cork so that you don’t run into the sides of the glass. You twist it, and use the first part to bring the cork out a little bit, move over to the next part, pull that cork out and it makes that nice popping sound, and that’s great.

I’m Ray Isle, and that is how to open a bottle of wine.

meet theexpert
  • Ray Isle

    Ray Isle Senior Wine Editor, Food & Wine Ray Isle speaks regularly on wine and wine-related subjects at live events, and has been a guest on national media outlets. more about this expert »