Cork-er Technique

CORK-ER TECHNIQUE 

 IS THERE ANYTHING WORSE THAN OPENING A BOTTLE OF FINE WINE AND REALISING IT'S GOT A CORK? 


The hunt around the house (or office) trying to find a corkscrew from yesteryear, The fear that courses through your veins as you try to remember the technique (it’s been a while, after all) and the horror if (or when) you see the cork crumble to pieces before it’s been properly evicted from the bottle.

Unfortunately, the popularity of screw caps these days means that uncorking a bottle is a bit of a lost art. With that in mind, in-house sommelier, Ben Moechtar, takes us on a trip down memory lane and gives us the three-step technique (plus a few sommelier tips on how to look extra fancy!)

Did you know that Australia played a huge role in the invention of the screwcap?  The ‘threaded’ design of screwcaps that you’re used to opening up was actually commissioned by Aussie Peter Wall, then the Production Director at Yalumba, in 1964.

He asked the French business - Le Bouchage Mécanique - to design the product, which they called the ‘Stelvin’. From around 1973 a handful of other Australian wineries began trialling the modern screwcap, including Penfolds, McWilliam’s, Hardys, Brown Brothers, Seppelt and Tahbilk.


HOW TO OPEN A WINE BOTTLE LIKE AN EXPERT

We know how important it is for a wine bottle to be opened correctly. Don't worry, we've got your back! Here are step by step inscructions on opening a wine bottle so the next time you have to open a bottle in front on a crowd, you will look like an expert. 

STEP 1:

Cut the foil capsule below the raised lip of the bottle. Use the underside of the lip as your cutting guide. A pro will present the bottle of wine to whoever ordered it before opening. This is that awkward moment when you look at the bottle, try to decipher the French label very quickly and nod with sophisticated gusto!

STEP 2:

Insert the corkscrew! Hold the bottle straight and aim for the dead centre of the cork. Screwing at an angle or too close to the sides will increase the risk of breaking the cork.

STEP 3:

Lever it out, cautiously but firmly. If you’re using a jointed or two-stepped corkscrew you may choose to do this in two stages, as the cork height changes (a particularly good idea if the cork is older). Some venues will present the cork to the guest to examine. If it’s a special occasion have a think about doing this with your guests and provide the cork as a memento of the event! A good sommelier will give the bottle a quick wipe with a clean serviette and present a few drops to whoever ordered the bottle unless they’re directed to someone else.

  1. Penfolds Grange Hermitage Shiraz 1978 Label Damage