Wine Accessories: The Fine Art of the Corkscrew

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PitPend_screw We stayed at the Inn of Occidental for Barrel Tasting last March. The decor in our room; The “Wine Room,” included a shadow box with various corkscrews. One of the most interesting of all of the wine accessories, the corkscrew gives it’s manufacturer the opportunity to get creative. And of all the corkscrews available, we’ve found the easiest to use is the sommelier tool, also known as the “waiter’s friend.”

Joe started a collection of sommelier (or waiter’s) tools on our first trip to Wine County. We try to get one from every winery we visit, if they have them for sale.

Joe's Collection of Cork Screws

Joe's Collection of Cork Screws

Of all the corkscrews we’ve tried, the double-hinged model seems to be the easiest and most efficient to use. Since most of them are pretty small, it’s easy to throw one in the glove compartment, or a handbag for those spur-of-the-moment opportunities to enjoy a bottle of wine.

While looking for images of sommelier tools, I came upon some interesting specimens; some that look particularly sinister (above) which reminded me of the first horror movie I ever saw, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, starring Vincent Price. So I started thinking; who invented the corkscrew or waiter’s tool, and when? Being the geek that I am, I searched the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, to find the inventor of the lever-style corkscrew we use to open wine today.

Corkscrew_patent2 This is a picture of the drawing provided with the American patent (No. 283,731) granted on August 21, 1883 to Carl F. A. Weinke. Weinke was granted a patent in his own country of Germany for the Lever Corkscrew (DRP 20815) on May 26, 1882. He was granted a British patent (Improvement in Lever Corkscrews No. 2,022) on April 20, 1883 and a French patent (No. 155314) on May 7, 1883. A rather quick process. According to a former law professor who now works for the U.S. Patent & Trademark office, the process to obtain a patent takes a good deal longer today.

The History of the Corkscrew

No one really knows the creator of the very first corkscrew, but it is thought to have originated in the 17th Century. Its original design may have been derived from a “gun worm,” a tool with a single or double spiral end fitting used to clean or remove unspent charges from a musket barrel. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine,

The corkscrew is possibly an English invention, due to the tradition of beer and cider, and Treatise on Cider by John Worlidge in 1676 describes “binning of tightly corked cider bottles on their sides”, although the earliest reference to a corkscrew is, “steel worm used for the drawing of Corks out of Bottles” from 1681.

The English were the first to seal wine bottles, using cork imported from Spain or Portugal. But wine bottles were the first time corks were used as a seal. Before WWII, all kinds of substances were often stored in corked containers: beer, medicine, cosmetics and food.

Free Corkscrew Collection Posters

Favre & Associates, a graphic design firm in Argentina has 10 different posters of corkscrew collections that can be printed free from their website. Posters 9 and 10 are very high resolution 1.5 MB files. Posters 3 through 8 are less than .5 MG in size. Poster 2 is about .8 MG. All they ask is that you actually print it from their site.

You can copy and to print the posters without any cost. We request to conserve the author’s name. In the case of links we request that the link is directed toward this website so that the posters is discharged from here.

These posters has been carried out so that our clients and the public in general can enjoy the same ones. We hope are of their pleasure.

It takes a little maneuvering but most of the posters are 22 cm x 28 cm and can be printed onto 8.5″ x 11″ paper. The larger ones are 42.5 cm x 53.5 cm and can be printed onto tabloid size paper. Of course using a large format printer or plotter would probably work best.
monkey_screw
Corkscrews on Parade

  • In August 2006 the University of California, Berkeley displayed a 1,500-item corkscrew collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Kroeber Hall, on the UC campus.
  • Since July 2006, the Montecalvo Versiggia near Pavia, Italy is displaying a collection of over 200 different types of corkscrews.
  • The Greystone campus of the Culinary Institute of America has over 500 corkscrews on display in St. Helena, California. The collection was started in 1949 by Brother Timothy, a “pioneering winemaker” for the Christan Brothers Winery.
  • The Virtual Corkscrew Museum offers a wealth of information about corkscrews, including books, stories, pictures, history and links to auctions for corkscrews on the secondary market.
  • At least one former United States President has had his likeness fashioned into a corkscrew. It’s rather naughty, so you can google that for yourself.
  • So there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about the corkscrew, but were afraid to ask!

    Cheers!

    WineWonkette, square~ Amy Corron Power,
    aka WineWonkette

    About Amy Corron Power

    A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and nearly 10,000 twitter fans. She holds certifications from International Sommelier Guild, regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events and is currently studying for her California Wine Appellation Specialist certification through the San Francisco Wine School.
    • thirstforwine

      Amy

      I work with the Vivanco family who created the Dinastia Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine in Rioja. Rafael Vivanco has amassed a collection of almost 5000 corkscrews, 3500+ of which are on show in the family museum at the winery in Briones, La Rioja. In fact, they have an original of most of the ones you show here including the monkey.

      You should come and check it out!

      • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

        That would be a great trip! We shall put it on our list of things we must do!

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      That would be a great trip! We shall put it on our list of things we must do!

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      That would be a great trip! We shall put it on our list of things we must do!

    • http://www.winevine-imports.com/Corkscrew-Collection-Wine-Bottle-Openers-c-2.html Nicole

      Whoever invented the amazing wine accessory – the corkscrew… must have created the wine cork. If you are shopping for easy to use wine openers check out a great selection of wine openers at http://www.WineVine-Imports.com

    • Pingback: Not Just Another Wine Sample | another wine blog

    • http://www.flowergirldressforless.com Accessories

      corkscrews we’ve tried, the double-hinged model seems to be the easiest and most efficient to use. Since most of them are pretty small.

    • http://www.flowergirldressforless.com Accessories

      corkscrews we’ve tried, the double-hinged model seems to be the easiest and most efficient to use. Since most of them are pretty small

    • http://www.headbandsandaccessories.com accessories

      I never seen this type of fine art in past.
      I can give any price for this.
      Really very nice article.
      Thanks for sharing it.

    • http://www.homeandgardenideas.com/food-recipes/drinks/wine/how-to-open-wine-without-a-corkscrew Corkscrew guy

      You should always have a corckscrew at hand when you enjoy wine..

    • wine Corkscrew

      corkscrew is really a nice art!