How to Open a Bottle of Wine: 5 Tips from a Sommelier


During an elegant dinner or important occasion, opening a bottle of wine goes far beyond the practical dimension and into something of a ritual.

While it may seem like a trivial job, extracting a cork from a wine bottle, unless you are expert sommelier, can be an insidious operation. A real expert is attentive to several aspects: how to remove the foil, how to clean the bottle, how to hold the bottle ...

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If you want to avoid spoiling the magic of the occasion, follow the advice of Alessandro Scorsone, sommelier and master of ceremonies of Palazzo Chigi, who drafted the five rules of how to expertly uncork a bottle for APCOR (the Portuguese Association of Producers of Cork).

According to Scorsone, a bottle of wine that's about to be opened contains the history of the vine, the cellar and of the geographical area. And, it's for those reasons, the moment that these stories are "freed" when the cork is extracted, is a moment that must be faced with awareness and utmost attention.

How to Open a Bottle of Wine: 5 Rules to Perfect

1. With the label exposed to the table and clearly visible to the guests, start to open the bottle by cutting the foil on the lowerlip of the bottleneck, at the front and back without ever moving or shaking the bottle itself.

2. After these incisions, the top of the foil can easily be removed. With a napkin, clean the upper part of the exposed bottle neck from any dust or mold.

3. Take a corkscrew, the spiral (or "worm") and insert into the exact center of the cap, for about 4/5 turns, from which the cork can then be lifted with the first lever.

4. With the utmost delicacy and sensitivity, you get now get to your goal: the final extraction, which should be soundless and take care not to touch the cork with your hands.

5. Once the cork is extracted, smell it. Then clean the inner neck of the bottle from any residue and take a first taste.

If all else fails, discover: How to open a bottle in 14 different ways without a bottle opener.