by Chris Weiss
Getting the right type of corkscrew can mean the difference from popping a bottle of wine open like the host at a fine French restaurant and staring at an impenetrable bottle that teases your taste buds. A good corkscrew is the number one essential in home bar and wine tools. There are a variety of corkscrews available, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Lever-style corkscrew. A lever-style corkscrew is nearly foolproof and is the perfect option for wine lovers who struggle with other types of instruments. Featuring a clamp to hold the top of the bottle in place and a simple lever-style corkscrew that lowers the worm into the cork, it's easy to use. Simply grip it, push down and pull up. Keep the wine bottle steady as you pull out the cork, and the lever-style corkscrew does most of the work for you. Lever-style corkscrews are typically larger in size than other styles of corkscrew so if you have limited drawer space in your kitchen, this might not be the best corkscrew for you.
Continuous turning corkscrew. A continuous-turn corkscrew can be identified by its large turning handle on top and the head that fits neatly on top of the wine bottle. Place the head on the bottle, twist the worm into the cork and then continue to twist the handle; the corkscrew will do the work for you, twisting the cork out. This is an easy-to-use, reliable type of corkscrew that is relatively inexpensive. It is not as slim as others on the list but not as large as the lever-style corkscrew.
Waiter's corkscrew. Also known as a compact corkscrew, a waiter's corkscrew includes a small knife for tearing foil as well as a simple corkscrew. It can also serve as a bottle opener. The corkscrew unfolds and is a simple mechanism that is manually screwed into the cork. The arm (bottle opener section) is pushed down to brace the bottle, and the body of the corkscrew works as a lever to pull the cork out. The simple, compact design is what allows waiters to carry these tools around in their pockets, providing the inspiration for the name. A compact corkscrew requires more technique than the others and is slightly more difficult to operate. On the other hand, it has a slim, professional look and is quite easy to transport from place to place -- an excellent choice for travelers.
Dual-lever winged corkscrew. The wing corkscrew is also quite easy to operate. Turn the top to slowly insert the corkscrew while the levers on each side automatically rise. To pop the cork out, simply push down on the levers. A dual-lever corkscrew offers a good mix of ease-of-use and price, as it is generally inexpensive and works well when operated correctly. It is not quite as compact as the waiter's corkscrew but is slimmer than the others on the list and is easy to store and transport.