Worst-Case Wednesday: How to Open a Bottle of Wine with a Broken Cork

Posted by Basia Padlo

The holidays are over, New Year’s Eve is in the past, but all that leftover wine… it sits there in your fridge (or not, depending on the kind of wine), waiting to be finished. And perhaps, just perhaps in the midst of your revelry, you broke a cork or two. It happens.

Never fear! The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Holidays has you covered.

Examine the cork.
If the cork has broken due to improper corkscrew use, treat the broken cork as if it were whole. If the cork is pushed too far into the bottle, push it all the way in using any long, thin implement and proceed to “Make a filter,” below.

Reinsert the corkscrew.
Six half turns of the corkscrew will usually be enough to allow you to remove a full cork, but you may need fewer for a partial cork. Turn the corkscrew slowly to prevent further breakage.

Pull the cork out.
Pull up steadily on the corkscrew, being careul not to jerk the cork out of the bottol. If the cork remains in the bottle, bore a hole through the center of the cork, using the corkscrew as a drill.

If you’ve had to push the cork into the bottle:

Make a filter.
Place a piece of clean, unwaxed unbleached cheesecloth over the mouth of a decanter and secure it tightly with a rubber band. If no cheesecloth is available, use a coffee filter (preferably unbleached). Do not use a T-shirt or any article of clothing you have washed in detergent—the detergent can affect the taste of the wine.

Strain the wine.
Carefully pour the wine through the filter into the decanter. When the bottle is empty, remove the filter containing the pieces of cork from the mouth of the decanter and serve the wine.

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