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Is it the cork or me?


I order 6 bottles once a month. Out of the last 5 orders I’ve had 3 instances of the cork crumbling as I open the bottle. I stand the bottle on the kitchen worktop, I use a decent quality corkscrew (levery type). Is it my method or the quality of the cork?


Do make sure you turn the screw enough that it reaches near the bottom of the cork . If you leave it too high in the cork , it is possible you are ‘tearing’ the cork if it is tightly held at the bottom.

Otherwise, the only thing I can think of is that these are all wines you’ve stored for a while in overly dry conditions and the corks are drying out, but if these are wines you’ve bought recently that is unlikely


Thanks. I will take your advice on ensuring that the corkscrew goes far enough down. The second point isn’t relevant because the wines are used in the month that they are bought. Not stored. Hopefully your first tip helps. Again, thank you.


If it is 3 bottles out of 30 then it is more likely the cork than you. I hate it when that happens.


There are different types of levery corkscrews. I have never felt fully in control with screwpulls and double-lever cork screws, preferring waiter’s-friend types where you can see exactly how the screw goes into the cork and see it easing out. If you do not use it, maybe at least try a waiter’s friend? And as Robert said, make sure the screw goes in all the way.

Oh, and the butler’s thief (AKA Ah-So) device is particularlly good for crumbly corks - if the cork quality is the problem


We had a thread on corkscrews awhile back, it was interesting how people favoured different types and why, the only one as I explained at the time a problem with was a couple of early Screwpulls that were not fit for purpose.
Almost everything else I have used has worked well and my current and now quite old winged corkscrew with a helix spiral has never failed, I also have currently a double screw with helix spiral that works well but it takes twice as long so doesn’t get used often, the waiters friend has only one thing as an advantage that I can see, and I have owned one, it is very portable, ideal for holidays as it takes up no space.
As far as not going into the cork far enough, there are corkscrews with shorter spirals and they obviously should be avoided but all the others if you screw them down to maximum will penetrate any cork to the full depth !
If you get a really crap crumbly cork nothing will pull it out that is the luck of the draw.


I have found that the ‘auger’ type of corkscrew messes up the cork whereas the helix type I haven’t had an issue with.



I was going to say the same with @M1tch but couldn’t remember the right words for the different worms. The helix ones are much, much better.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a cork crumble on me, it’s been more than five years at the least. At home I use mostly my (helix) waiters friend, or on occasion my ‘ah-so’

Perhaps @Granslife can post a picture of the corkscrew used. Even better with the cork. We can do like a community remote root cause analysis! :slight_smile:


Echo that. The ‘auger’ style of thread - with a hefty solid central core - is much cheaper to manufacture; but it b***ers up the cork on the way in and doesn’t provide as much ‘lift’ on the way out. A helix design (with an empty centre core) is substantially superior.

A Butler’s Their / Ah-So style cork-pull is a great tool for dry corks, or for the lower portion of a snapped cork. Can take a little getting used to, and vary in quality - the cheap on I bought years back is still going strong, whereas the posh Peugeot-designed one has weaker, slightly thicker blades which are less easy to glide down the sides of the cork, and bend too easily.


Thanks for all the very useful comments. I’m sure my cork problem will soon be resolved.


after all, practice makes perfect :wink:


I must also mention that I have been using The Wine Society corkscrew for quite a while now, its really very good as it also has an integrated foil cutter that makes everything neat :slight_smile: