This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.
I open a lot of wine. I’m a sommelier and a wine writer, and, well, that basically makes popping bottles of Beaujolais, Bordeaux, and brunch-ready rosé part of the job description. So, of course, I’m very picky about corkscrews.
You shouldn’t notice a good corkscrew. A quality wine opener shouldn’t force you to struggle to remove the foil from the top of the bottle, and it means you shouldn’t have to throw all your weight into yanking a cork out, too. The corkscrew should do the work for you.
Over my career, I’ve probably tried close to 50 different openers. There are the cheap-and-cheerful ones—under $10 options I keep in my purse and don’t mind sacrificing to TSA. There are wildly pricey ones from the likes of Laguiole and Le Creuset, often gifts from friends or family. If you’re spendy, sommelier-loved wine openers can cost you over $200. There are even openers for the wine nerds, like Coravins or Ah Sos: highly specific openers for handling high-end wines and vintage corks.
But the one I always come back to is my Barvivo wine corkscrew. It’s a high-quality, low-cost corkscrew that is near-perfect down to every detail.
I’ve been using this opener for close to a year, and it hasn’t worn out at the seams, the blade hasn’t dulled, nor has the worm started to lose its sharpness.
Barvivo Professional Corkscrew
The double-hinged fulcrum helps remove the pressure of pulling out a cork, allowing you to slide it out with minimal tugging. I love how the two different levers allow you to customize the pull to your needs. For a standard weeknight bottle, I’ll slide the worm in and use both levers to gently coax the cork out.
For higher-end bottles—recently I opened a bottle of a beautiful aged Sangiovese with a particularly crumbly cork—I’ll bring the worm in as far as I can go, set up the second lever, and use it to ever-so-slowly pull the cork out. I found that with older, drier corks, doing this gave me the control and leverage I needed to ease the cork out of the bottle without breaking it. It also helps that the second step is thick—it creates a wide platform, so you can securely grip the lip of the bottle. (One of my biggest pet peeves with standard corkscrews is that the lever is slippery, causing the step to slide right off of the lip. I’ve even had a corkscrew crack the lip.)
Another one of my favorite features is a double-threaded worm (the twirly part of the corkscrew). The double threading on the corkscrew lets the worm slide right into the cork with minimal resistance. It even works in synthetic corks. One of my favorite winemakers uses strictly neon green, synthetic cork. Most basic waiter’s keys can’t tackle them; it takes a lot of muscle work to get the worm into the cork and yank it back out again. The Barvivo option slides like butter into any cork.
I also love the weight of this corkscrew. While it’s heavier than your standard waiter’s key, I find the added pounds give me the control and leverage to open tricky bottles. It also feels rather fancy in your hand, though a smooth wood handle also helps.
The double threading on the corkscrew lets the worm slide right into the cork with minimal resistance. It even works in synthetic corks.
There’s a serrated foil cutter that seamlessly slices through the foil of a wine bottle, allowing me to quickly remove the wrapping smoothly, though I will note I’ve sharpened it a few times with my standard kitchen knife sharpener to keep the edge extra sharp.
I’ve been using this opener for close to a year, and it hasn’t worn out at the seams, the blade hasn’t dulled, nor has the worm started to lose its sharpness. Plus, it’s not overly pricey, sitting around $20, so if I forget it in my carry-on, I won’t cry when it gets confiscated. While you could splurge on the high-end corkscrews favored by sommeliers, this is the one I’ll have in my back pocket, thanks!
Dimensions: 4.69 x 0.59 x 1.18 inches | Weight: 0.3 pounds | Material: Stainless steel, wood
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced wine writer and working sommelier, who has her BarSmarts and WSET certification. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for six years, including extensive coverage on the subject of glassware and bar accessories.