Got your car keys on you? Never fear. 
Credit: Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derma/Getty Images

Whether the one corkscrew in your home has gone missing or ends up broken, knowing how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew is an important skill for any host or hostess to have. 

Here, we share five hacks for how to open corked wine without a corkscrew that will ensure you enjoy your hard-earned happy hour without any floating bits of cork or broken glass. 

1) The hammer and screw method

I recently was at a wake service for a family member when someone realized my grandmother’s corkscrew, probably from the 1960s if I’m honest, had jammed. I prepared to excuse myself to run down to Rite-Aid when my uncle surprised the entire crowd by opening the wine with only a coiled screw, screwdriver, and hammer.


  • Start by twisting a screw into the cork using a screwdriver — not deep into the bottle, but enough so that most of the screw remained outside the cork.
  • Use the claw of the hammer to lift the screw out in one swift motion 

2) The shoe method

This works best with a shoe that has a higher profile heel, as well as a shoe with a raised sole. A leather loafer that a gentleman might wear to work is a great example.


  • First, do this hack outside in case there's wine spillage, and stay to the side of the bottle to avoid getting said spillage on your clothes.
  • Make sure any wrapping around the cork is removed before you place the bottom of the bottle into the sole of your shoe.
  • Holding the bottle wine in the shoe, smack the sole against a sturdy wall a few times. You’ll notice the cork will slowly inch free and you’ll be able to ease it out. Or, it will fire out in a burst of wine, and the bottle will start to foam; hence being outside and staying to the side of the bottle. 

3) The car keys hack

Your car keys are an ingenious way to wiggle out a cork in just a few seconds. 


  • Insert your car key at a slight angle, just as you would a corkscrew, leaving just a little bit of the key outside of the cork itself.
  • You can use the top of your car key to turn the cork clockwise and up and out of the bottle.
  • The key here is to turn it in circles as well as pull up in the same movement.

4) The serrated knife trick

Just as you would do with your car keys, a serrated blade could help you uncork a bottle of wine.


  • Insert a blade into the cork and twist the cork in an upward motion 
  • Once you have about an inch or so of cork to work with, take the knife out, stick it in again sideways, and simply twist out the cork in a circular motion.

5) The wire hanger technique

And you thought you could only cleared clogged drains with unwound hangers.


  • Twist a spare wire hanger into the shape of a corkscrew.
  • Now you can easily wiggle your cork out of the bottle with a few quick twists.

If in the course of your adventures in DIY opening you’ve managed to shred your cork into bits and send them spewing into the wine itself, a last-minute hack for you: strain your wine over a coffee filter. It’ll be like the cork never even existed in the first place.