What Is a Corkscrew Called?

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a casual drinker, you’re likely familiar with the corkscrew, the essential tool used to open wine bottles. However, have you ever wondered what a corkscrew is called, or what are the different variations of this tool? In this article, we’ll explore the terminology and jargon associated with corkscrews, from their history and alternative names to their anatomy and different types.

Key Takeaways:

  • A corkscrew is an essential wine tool used to open bottles of wine.
  • There are various names and synonyms used to refer to corkscrews in different regions and cultures.
  • Understanding the different types of corkscrews and their unique features can help you choose the right one for your needs.

The History of Corkscrews

From ancient times to modern-day, the corkscrew has undergone a fascinating evolution. The first known corkscrews date back to the 17th century, where they were used primarily to extract cork stoppers from wine bottles.

Over time, the design of corkscrews has varied greatly. Some of the earliest models featured simple T-shaped handles and a straight, tapered worm. Later iterations introduced a helix-shaped worm and wooden handles. In the mid-1800s, the first pocket corkscrew was introduced, marking a significant shift toward more portable designs.

The History of Corkscrews

By the 20th century, corkscrew design had become more complex. Waiter’s corkscrews, with their compact size and multi-functional capabilities, became a popular choice for wine enthusiasts. Winged corkscrews and lever corkscrews soon followed, offering even greater ease of use. Today, corkscrew variations continue to evolve, with high-tech electric models and eco-friendly designs becoming increasingly prevalent.

Corkscrews have also played a role in shaping cultural and linguistic traditions. In some parts of the world, corkscrews are referred to as “wine keys” or “bottle openers.” In others, they are known as “bottle screws” or “cork extractors.” Whatever their name may be, corkscrews remain a staple in wine culture and an essential tool for any wine lover.

Common Names for Corkscrews

When it comes to corkscrews, there are a variety of names used to refer to this essential wine tool.

The most common name is, of course, “corkscrew.” However, depending on the region or country, you may also hear this tool referred to as a “wine opener,” “bottle opener,” “screw pull,” or simply, “wine key.”

In some countries, corkscrews may even have unique names specific to that language or culture. For example, in France, a corkscrew is often called a “tire-bouchon,” which translates to “cork-puller.”

No matter what you call it, the function of the corkscrew remains the same: to remove a cork from a bottle in order to enjoy the wine inside.

Types of Corkscrews

When it comes to corkscrews, there are numerous variations in design and functionality. Here are some of the most common types:

Type Description
Waiter’s Corkscrew This is the classic corkscrew design, also known as a “sommelier’s knife.” It features a worm, a small knife for cutting the foil, and a double-hinged lever for pulling the cork out.
Winged Corkscrew This type of corkscrew has wing-like arms on both sides that are hinged to the worm. When the worm is twisted into the cork, the wings are raised. Pushing down on them pulls the cork out of the bottle.
Lever Corkscrew Also known as a “rabbit corkscrew,” this type of corkscrew features two handles that are squeezed together to drive the worm into the cork. Then, pulling the handles apart lifts the cork out.
Pneumatic Corkscrew Powered by air pressure, this high-tech corkscrew requires no physical effort to operate. Simply insert the needle into the cork, pump the device a few times, and the cork is easily removed.
Electric Corkscrew This type of corkscrew removes the cork with the push of a button. It usually features a rechargeable battery and requires minimal effort to operate.

No matter what type of corkscrew you choose, make sure to select one that fits your needs and preferences. Understanding the differences in design and function can help you make an informed decision.

Anatomy of a Corkscrew

Understanding the anatomy of a corkscrew is essential to choosing the right tool and using it correctly. A corkscrew typically consists of four main parts:

Part Description
Worm The pointed, spiral metal part that is inserted into the cork.
Handle The section you hold onto when using the corkscrew.
Lever or fulcrum Used to leverage the cork out of the bottle.
Cutter or foil cutter A small serrated knife used to remove the foil from the top of the bottle.

Additional features may include a bottle opener or a cap lifter.

When selecting a corkscrew, understanding the terminology associated with each part is vital. For example, the distance between each winding of the worm is referred to as the “pitch.” The handle can be made of a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, or metal, and can be straight or curved. Lever corkscrews may have a single, double, or even triple hinge.

By understanding the anatomy of a corkscrew, you can better appreciate the differences in design and functionality that make each type unique.

Popular Corkscrew Brands

When it comes to corkscrew brands, there are countless options to choose from. Whether you’re a professional sommelier or a casual wine enthusiast, finding the right corkscrew for your needs is essential. Some of the most popular corkscrew brands on the market include:

Brand Description
Screwpull Screwpull is one of the most well-known corkscrew brands in the world, thanks to its innovative designs and high-quality materials.
OXO OXO is known for producing ergonomic and user-friendly corkscrews that make opening a bottle of wine easy and hassle-free.
True Brands True Brands offers a wide variety of corkscrew styles, from traditional waiter’s corkscrews to modern electric models.
Houdini Houdini is a popular brand that specializes in winged corkscrews, which are designed to provide extra leverage when removing corks.
Rabbit Rabbit produces high-quality corkscrews that are both stylish and functional, with options ranging from classic designs to cutting-edge innovations.

Of course, these are just a few examples of the many corkscrew brands available. When choosing a corkscrew, it’s important to consider your own needs and preferences, as well as the specific features and functionality of each brand and design.

Tips for Choosing the Right Corkscrew

Choosing the right corkscrew can make all the difference when it comes to opening a bottle of wine effortlessly. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect corkscrew:

  • Consider your skill level: If you’re new to using corkscrews, opt for a simple waiter’s corkscrew design. For more experienced users, a winged or lever model may be more efficient.
  • Think about frequency of use: If you only open wine occasionally, a basic corkscrew will suffice. For more frequent use, invest in a higher quality model that can withstand repeated use.
  • Look for durability: A corkscrew made from high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, will last longer and provide better functionality.
  • Consider the worm: The worm is the spiral part of the corkscrew that goes into the cork. Look for a worm with a sharp, pointed tip for easier insertion and less cork damage.
  • Check the handle: Make sure the handle is comfortable to grip and provides sufficient leverage for easy cork removal.
  • Think about additional features: Some corkscrews come with extra features such as bottle openers or foil cutters. Consider if these additional features are important to you.

By taking these factors into account, you can select a corkscrew that perfectly suits your needs and enhances your wine-drinking experience.

Using a Corkscrew Correctly

If you’re new to the world of wine, using a corkscrew can be intimidating. But fear not, mastering the technique is easier than you think. Follow these steps to open a bottle of wine with ease:

  1. Start by cutting off the foil covering the top of the bottle with the foil cutter, typically found on the corkscrew.
  2. Position the corkscrew’s worm at the center of the cork and slowly twist it into the cork, making sure it stays straight and doesn’t bend.
  3. Once the worm is fully inserted, use the leverage of the corkscrew to pull the cork out of the bottle. This can be done either by pulling the handle upwards or twisting it counter-clockwise, depending on the style of corkscrew.
  4. Finally, remove the cork from the worm by twisting it off or sliding it off the end, and voila, your wine is ready to be enjoyed.

It’s important to note that different types of corkscrews may have slight variations in the technique, so make sure to read the instructions accompanying your corkscrew to ensure proper usage. And don’t be afraid to ask a more experienced wine enthusiast for guidance, they’ll likely be happy to share their knowledge with you.

Section 9: Maintaining and Cleaning Your Corkscrew

Proper maintenance and cleaning of your corkscrew will ensure its longevity and optimal performance. The best practices for your specific corkscrew type may vary, so be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, here are some general tips to follow:

Corkscrew Type Maintenance Cleaning
Waiter’s corkscrew Apply oil to the pivot point and worm periodically to keep it working smoothly. Wipe the corkscrew with a damp cloth and dry it thoroughly afterwards.
Lever corkscrew Check the screws and moving parts for looseness and tighten as necessary. Apply oil to the moving parts and pivot points periodically. Wipe the corkscrew with a damp cloth and use a brush to remove any debris that may be stuck in the gears.
Winged corkscrew Check the screws and moving parts for looseness and tighten as necessary. Apply oil to the moving parts and pivot points periodically. Wipe the corkscrew with a damp cloth and use a toothbrush to clean the gears and wings thoroughly.

Regardless of the type of corkscrew, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials when cleaning, as they can damage the finish and functionality of the tool. Instead, use mild soap and warm water, or a specialized corkscrew cleaner if available.

By following these tips for maintenance and cleaning, you can ensure that your corkscrew remains in top condition, providing you with years of reliable service.

Corkscrew Innovations and Future Trends

As with any tool or gadget, corkscrews are subject to continuous innovation and improvement. From faster and more efficient mechanisms to eco-friendly and sustainable materials, corkscrew manufacturers are constantly striving to meet the needs and preferences of wine enthusiasts.

Automatic Corkscrews

One of the most notable trends in the corkscrew market is the rise of automatic corkscrews. These devices use electric or battery-powered mechanisms to remove corks quickly and effortlessly, with little to no physical effort required. Some models even include features like built-in foil cutters and LED lights to make the process even more streamlined and user-friendly.

Sustainable Materials

As eco-consciousness becomes increasingly important to consumers, corkscrew manufacturers are exploring the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials in their designs. Bamboo, recycled plastic, and even biodegradable materials like cornstarch are being used to create corkscrews that are not only functional but also environmentally responsible.

Multipurpose Designs

Another emerging trend in corkscrew design is the use of multipurpose features. Some corkscrews now include additional tools like bottle openers, pour spouts, and even wine aerators, allowing for a more comprehensive wine-drinking experience with just one tool. This type of innovation is particularly attractive to those who prefer simplicity and convenience.

With these new developments and technologies, the world of corkscrews is constantly evolving. As a wine enthusiast, it’s worth staying up-to-date on the latest trends and innovations, so you can choose the corkscrew that best suits your needs and preferences.


Now that you understand the various names, types, and terminology associated with corkscrews, you’re well-equipped to choose the right tool for any wine-opening occasion. Whether you prefer a traditional waiter’s corkscrew or an innovative automatic model, selecting the right features and considering the brand are key to making the right choice.

Remember to take proper care of your corkscrew, cleaning and maintaining it regularly to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. And as you explore the latest trends and innovations in corkscrew design, keep your eyes open for exciting new developments that may change the way you think about this essential wine tool.


Q: What is a corkscrew called?

A: A corkscrew is also commonly referred to as a wine opener or bottle screw.

Q: What is the history of corkscrews?

A: Corkscrews have a fascinating history, from their early invention to the various design variations that have evolved over the years.

Q: What are some common names for corkscrews?

A: Common alternative names for a corkscrew include wine opener, bottle opener, and bottle screw.

Q: What are the different types of corkscrews?

A: There are various types of corkscrews available, including traditional waiter’s corkscrews, winged corkscrews, and lever corkscrews, each with its own unique design and functionality.

Q: What are the different parts of a corkscrew?

A: The different parts of a corkscrew include the worm, the handle, and other components that contribute to the overall function of the tool.

Q: What are some popular corkscrew brands?

A: Popular corkscrew brands include Screwpull, OXO, and various boutique manufacturers offering unique and specialized designs.

Q: How do I choose the right corkscrew?

A: To choose the right corkscrew, consider factors such as features, materials, and mechanisms that suit your needs, while navigating corkscrew jargon and descriptions.

Q: How do I use a corkscrew correctly?

A: Properly using a corkscrew involves step-by-step techniques, including inserting the worm and smoothly removing the cork, while understanding any corkscrew-specific terminology.

Q: How do I maintain and clean my corkscrew?

A: Keeping your corkscrew in top condition involves cleaning and maintaining it according to the specific type of corkscrew you own.

Q: What are some corkscrew innovations and future trends?

A: Explore the latest innovations in corkscrew design, such as high-tech automatic corkscrews and eco-friendly alternatives that are shaping the future of this essential wine tool.

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