It’s a story as old as time. Maybe it’s Mother’s Day, maybe you’re struggling with what to get some newlyweds, maybe you turned 30 and decided that you needed to live a “classier” life. All of these situations lead to an inevitable, regrettable purchase: the elaborate wine opener.
Search “wine opener” on Amazon and you’ll get over 6,000 results topping out at around $650. There are wing ones, electric ones, lever ones, twist ones and hundreds with a strange amount of LED lighting. Just about every iconic design company makes one — Alessi’s are famously cheery — and Pottery Barn — famed purveyor of reasonably affordable home goods — sells this 21-pound monstrosity for $284.
So, There’s One Exception
Strictly speaking, there is one very expensive wine opener worth getting, but it’s for a fairly specific fringe case. When it comes to very old bottles of wine (think legal drinking age or older) you’ll oftentimes need a way of removing what is now a very fragile cork. There’s none better for this task than the heinously expensive Durand ($125), which combines a traditional corkscrew with a prong style opener called an Ah So.
This madness needs to stop. To be clear, there is a lower limit where wine openers are actually garbage, spend $3 on that plastic thing that comes in two parts and you’ll be upset and without wine. However, you absolutely do not need to spend more than $12 to get all the wine opener you’d ever need. The Pulltaps Double Hinged Waiters Corkscrew is universally lauded, under 15 bucks and is more or less perfectly designed. It will open wine seamlessly and easily without shredding corks or running out of battery and you will forget about wine openers for the rest of your life, and you will be liberated. If $15 is too rich for your blood, the Truetap is a perfectly acceptable knockoff of the Pullltaps that starts at about $6 (plus it comes in fun colors).
So please, stop buying elaborate motorized and geared gizmos that take up space, don’t work well and generally project an air that you’re going to launch into a missive about why you named your dog Mourvedre. And if you’re ever in doubt about what to gift a wine lover? Just get them a goddamn bottle of wine.
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