A good corkscrew is essential if you want to enjoy wine at home. There are a handful of common varieties to choose from, with marked differences in design, ease of use, and price.
Experiment to find the one you like best, but remember, the key to mastering cork removal is to drive the spiral straight through the center of the cork.
Christian Hammer, wine captain at the celebrated New York City restaurant Balthazar, recommends that you look for a corkscrew with at least four ridges in the spiral to assure a proper grip on the cork.
Composed of two flat metal prongs, one slightly longer than the other, attached to an oblong handle. To use, slip the prongs between the cork and the bottleneck; ease in, then gently twist and pull up to remove the cork.
Composed of a steel spiral attached to a T-shaped handle. The drawback of this type is that there is nothing to give you leverage when you draw out the cork, so you have to rely on sheer strength.
A steel spiral folds out of the handle of this tool like a pocketknife. Once you drive the spiral into the cork, you can hook the lifter arm to the rim of the bottle, which gives you the leverage you need for pulling out the cork. There's a small knife blade that folds out of the opposite end, which is useful for cutting off the cork covering.
This type has a steel spiral that juts through a frame to which two handles are attached. The frame rests on the mouth of the bottle, which keeps the corkscrew steady. As the spiral is twisted into the cork, the handles rise; to remove the cork, simply push down on the handles, and the cork will lift out easily.