Published March 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
Any old corkscrew will open up a bottle of wine, but not all of them will do so with ease.
Lever-style corkscrews are designed to use leverage rather than muscle power to pull the cork, but many such models are unwieldy and bulky. We wanted a wine opener that could cleanly and effortlessly remove any type of cork, took minimal cajoling (the fewer steps, the better), and fit neatly in a drawer. So we gathered 17 models ranging from $8 to $100—everything from lever-style openers, to waiter’s corkscrews (in which the lever rests on one side of the lip of the bottle), to twisting pull models, and winged designs—and opened cases of wine until we narrowed our choices to seven. That lineup did not include our previous winner, which lost out to models that were at least as intuitive, more compact, and far less expensive. After wine-opening novices and experts alike test-drove our finalists on both natural and synthetic corks, a sleek, economical, lever-style corkscrew was dubbed the premier pick. And at a fraction of the cost of our old favorite, we had more to spend on a good bottle.