Apparently, You Can Open A Wine Bottle With A Knife And Fork

People often enjoy a bit of drama when it comes to opening wine bottles, reminiscent of the flair shown when slicing the tops off Champagne bottles with sabers — a method known as sabrage, which dates back to the Napoleonic era, and is still occasionally practiced for its ceremonial thrill.

In modern times, however, it's generally considered more impressive to open wine bottles with common household utensils — anything but a conventional corkscrew. Forget the wine key; MacGyvering open a fine bottle of wine with items like car keys, scissors, a hot hair straightener, tennis shoes, or even a fork and knife has become a mark of resourcefulness. Indeed, all these tools have been showcased on social media as capable bottle openers.

Want to give it a go? To open a wine bottle with a fork and knife, stab the table knife into the cork, then slide the tines of the fork around the knife, using the fork as a makeshift lever to twist the cork out.

The knife and fork work in tandem

Actually, it's not surprising that a fork and knife can be repurposed to open a bottle of wine. Consider their roles at the dinner table: The fork holds food steady, while the knife cuts confidently. These two are natural partners.

So, how do they team up to uncork a bottle? The knife is thrust into the cork; it must be wedged in securely for the method to succeed (but here's how to power through the tragedy if your wine cork breaks). Once it is firmly lodged, the fork's tines are slid around the knife. This positions the fork to turn the knife — and, by extension, the cork — culminating in the bottle's opening.

This process is not unlike that of a corkscrew's operation. A corkscrew's worm is twisted into the cork's body — a far more sophisticated means for the task than a knife. But once embedded, the corkscrew, particularly in the form of an old-style version, relies on brute pulling force to extract the cork, whereas a modern version leverages against the bottle's rim, making cork removal seem effortless. Both methods grip the cork firmly, using leverage to draw it out. Simple physics.

Other ways to open wine bottles

The fork and knife are merely the latest examples of unusual implements being used to open wine bottles. While we wouldn't recommend using a hammer to open a bottle of wine, it can be done. Simply insert a nail halfway into the cork of your wine bottle, and then use the claw of the hammer to pry it out. Similarly, one can nestle a wine bottle in a sneaker or boot, and beat it against the side of a sturdy surface until the cork pops out.

If you're more of a traditionalist, it's worth noting that corkscrews have not become extinct. Varieties are still sold in stores nationwide, many at affordable prices ranging from $5 to $10. But there might be something to be said for accomplishing common household tasks in new and astonishing ways, especially if these methods come with the added bonus of impressing friends and family. After all, who wouldn't be impressed by someone using the same fork and knife to eat dinner and pry open a perfect wine pairing? It's a pretty neat party trick.