Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: Best corkscrew in the world!

By way of background, opening thoughts: First, confessions:  As you may know from another site, Chez Ray Winery, I am both a closet (ok, basement) winemaker as well as a wine reviewer.  In the course of tasting wines, I often recycle corks for later use in winemaking.  (For those interested: the process involves pulling the cork without quite penetrating through the lower end of the cork - if you do that, the continuous hole will create a leak when the cork is reused.  Then the cork is cleaned by heat sanitizing immediately in a microwave oven, then resanitized in solution immediately before use.)  But the point is, I have tried innumerable cork removal systems over the years.  I have now become convinced of the characteristics associated with the best corkscrews on the planet.  And I have found one of these to be easily available commercially.

Review : This is True Fabrications The Professional Double Hinge Corkscrew, with spring-loaded double hinge and 10-year warranty.  (The corkscrew seems fairly widely available commercially, including via Amazon.)

After setting this corkscrew and setting it as deep as you wish, you push the spring-loaded short (top) hinge a bit to engage the bottle top, then retract the cork part way.  You then let the corkscrew handle drop a bit towards the bottle, and reengage the long (bottom) hinge to finish the job.  Very clean and almost effortless removal.  Also, each draw of the corkscrew handle is quite short, which puts little sideways pressure on the corkscrew itself, avoiding any bending.

The key is, both the long and the short hinge MUST be attached to the same point at the end of the corkscrew handle.  In effect, the short hinge "hugs" or "embraces" the longer hinge.  See this picture:

I have seen a version of this without the "spring-loaded" feature.  The spring makes no difference to the fundamental performance.

But beware!  There are "double hinge" corkscrews and there are "double hinge" corkscrews - and the two types are entirely different from one another.

SOME "double hinge" corkscrews (I've included a picture below) have the long hinge attached at the end of the corkscrew handle, but the short hinge is then attached at the end of the long hinge.  These are the type of double hinge corkscrews that you want to avoid:

The reason is that the length of the draw on the handle is so long in one linear motion that by the time the cork is extracted, there is already sideways pressure on the corkscrew which tends to bend it over time.  It also makes for an uncomfortable removal, with extra effort at the end.

Let me know if your experiences differ.  But after almost a decade of experimenting and paying close attention, I believe I have found a truly differentiated and superior style of corkscrew - certainly for those of us trying to maintain the integrity of the cork seal while we enjoy a classy, relatively effortless removal!

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