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How to open a bottle of wine with a shoe.
July 12, 2010 7:45 PM   Subscribe


 
I tried this last night at the beach and it didn't work. Are you one of my "friends" who mocked me and then later drank my wine anyway?

Actually, I believe you just have to have a traditionally-shaped bottle. I had a squat one with very little air at the top, and there wasn't enough magic inside to pop the top.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:48 PM on July 12, 2010


This is why god invented screw-top wine bottles.

That said, I was stuck an hour outside of nowhere in Wyoming a few weeks ago and this would have come in very handy. We opened the bottles with the worst opener ever, but I kept wishing I knew some other way. So thanks for sharing!
posted by barnacles at 7:53 PM on July 12, 2010


This is guy who threw the shoe at George Bush was really just trying to help him open a wine bottle.
posted by storybored at 7:54 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was going to say that my preferred method is to wrap the bottle in a towel and then bang it against a wall. However, half way through the video I discovered that the French method simply substitutes the shoe for the towel rather than for the wall. So, it's really just another method of opening a bottle of wine with a wall.

Nice shoe though.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:56 PM on July 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


Aw, dang. Looks like I'll be picking up some Trader Joe's wine for experimentation purposes tomorrow!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:58 PM on July 12, 2010


This is amazing news. Although I'm sure the first heroic attempt I make at it to save the evening will end with shattered glass and embarrassment.

Kind of like every time someone thinks they know the trick to opening a beer bottle they end up bleeding.
posted by breakfast! at 8:01 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And then, you use the shoe to drink the wine with. You can drink more if you don't wear innersoles.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:02 PM on July 12, 2010


This is the coolest fucking thing I've ever seen in my LIFE. In my LIFE.

However... stiletto heels? Flip-flops? Uh-uh.

Nonetheless, this is the coolest fucking thing I've ever seen in my LIFE.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:05 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. That's actually a fantastic party trick.

But yeah, probably risky enough that I'd want some practice before trying it in public.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:11 PM on July 12, 2010


Alright, I've watched it. Anyone care to translate? Watching can only do so much . . .
posted by 6:1 at 8:12 PM on July 12, 2010


Could have used this knowledge years ago. There's also this street version.
posted by PHINC at 8:14 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Solutions for the barefoot: while not easy in a pinch it is sometimes posible to push the cork into the bottle with a finger. While the shoe method preserves the cork for reuse, the push method permanently traps the cork inside the bottle - meaning that you have an excuse to drink the entire bottle.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:16 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Works best with a fashionable Parisien men's shoe. Also note the cork he removed: short and composite. Cheap wine.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 PM on July 12, 2010


Does this have to be done horizontally, against a wall? Or can it be done against like a table or floor?
posted by kafziel at 8:21 PM on July 12, 2010


Well, he clearly didn't want to waste a nice bottle of wine on a bunch of philistines like us. Just read the translation at the point when he removes the wine:

"...and now, with...with a bit of effort, which you lazy Americans probably can't muster, you can work the cork out of the bottle, or you could just drink rat piss out of an aluminum can, you probably can't tell the difference. And that is how you remove a cork with your shoe."
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:23 PM on July 12, 2010 [25 favorites]


the push method permanently traps the cork inside the bottle
You can actually get it back out with a towel, but it's easier after you empty the bottle, so yeah, you still gotta drink it.
posted by hypersloth at 8:24 PM on July 12, 2010


Also note the cork he removed: short and composite. Cheap wine.

I was under the impression that synthetic corks were preferable as they weren't susceptible to TCA.
posted by geoff. at 8:28 PM on July 12, 2010


Yes, but that cork was made from actual cork bark. Just little pieces glued together. Sort of the worst of all worlds.

Screwtops are by far the best way to close wine. Consumers complain about it, particularly ignorant ones, but in markets that have universally adopted the screw closure (New Zealand) it works great. They're not cheaper, really, but can be manufactured locally. They don't taint the wine. And they can be re-closed, so you don't have to finish the bottle. (Arguably not a feature).
posted by Nelson at 8:30 PM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Did you ever drink Bailey's from a shoe? Creamy.
posted by synecdoche at 8:32 PM on July 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I love how between the absurd premise and my utter lack of French makes every step of this a surprise and the entire thing feel like a surrealist film.
posted by griphus at 8:32 PM on July 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


er...removes the wine cork
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:34 PM on July 12, 2010


I so very much want to try this now. Gimme a shoe and a bottle of vino.
posted by desuetude at 8:36 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is exactly what my boyfriend and brother-in-law were attempting to do last week with a bottle of wine. Except that it didn't work at all for either of them, and one of them resorted to mashing the cork INTO the bottle, which inspired a geyser of red wine all over the wall, the table, and bf's shirt.

But, you know...wine, rat piss, I'm american so we barely noticed the difference.
posted by contessa at 8:36 PM on July 12, 2010


That's a great trick.
posted by Skygazer at 8:36 PM on July 12, 2010




Or just drink beer, and wear these.
posted by padraigin at 8:39 PM on July 12, 2010


You can actually get it back out with a towel

Perhaps you mean "with a piece of string"?
posted by GeckoDundee at 8:49 PM on July 12, 2010


Next video: how to clean a shoe print off a painted wall with a corkscrew.
posted by jamaro at 8:49 PM on July 12, 2010 [34 favorites]



I'm sure the first heroic attempt I make at it to save the evening will end with shattered glass and embarrassment.


I didn't really think it would work, then I saw this guy trying. I love YouTube. You don't have to ever get off the couch.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:51 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also note the cork he removed: short and composite. Cheap wine.

I was under the impression that synthetic corks were preferable as they weren't susceptible to TCA.


I read a while back that all winemakers would love to switch to twist-off caps. For the cheap wine, the best wine, all of it. They're much cheaper and easier than corks--either real or synthetic--and it doesn't affect the wine at all. But because people associate corks with quality and twist off caps with shitty wine, corks are here to stay.
posted by zardoz at 8:53 PM on July 12, 2010


This is why god invented screw-top wine bottles.

Because they are generally consumed by the shoeless?
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:54 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, I tried this shoe trick once. Stuck it in my sneaker and started whaling it against a metal beam. Didn't work! The cork started to pucker outward slightly after maybe 30 or so smacks, but at that point I was getting tired and my friends were getting thirsty.

Saddest day of my life.

Anyone know what I was doing wrong?
posted by phunniemee at 8:57 PM on July 12, 2010


Ahem.

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
has a few things to say on the subject of towels...

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. Or better yet, use it to extract he cork from a wine-bottle."
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:57 PM on July 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


the push method permanently traps the cork inside the bottle

Don't underestimate those Frenchmen. I saw a tool being sold at a wine shop in Paris that was made specifically for removing corks from bottles of wine. It was made out of thin plastic "fingers" that were splayed open, and you closed the "hand" to insert it into the bottle, where it opens up inside. When you pull it back out, it captures the floating cork and draws it out the neck, being thin enough to fit between the cork and the neck.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:01 PM on July 12, 2010


> Anyone know what I was doing wrong?

Armchair physics from someone who's not even a wine drinker, but I think the ductility of the metal beam did you in. Most of your pounding energy was going into vibrating the beam, not pushing the cork out. I imagine the shoe technique requires a solid pounding surface like masonry.
posted by neckro23 at 9:10 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best way to open a beer, but I don't think it will work for champagne.
posted by warbaby at 9:17 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The easiest way to do this is to just use a tree whose bark you don't care too much about. You can also use a wall and a phonebook to avoid marring the paint or wallpaper.
posted by jedicus at 9:39 PM on July 12, 2010


Nah, the easiest way to do this is to just pound the bottle on your rock hard abs.
posted by jefbla at 9:43 PM on July 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


my favorite and obvious once you've heard it method is to use a screwdriver and screw a screw 3/4's of the way into the cork. use a hammer/tongs/pliers to pull out the cork. enjoy tasty tasty wine.
posted by cloax at 9:49 PM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


cloax: "my favorite and obvious once you've heard it method is to use a screwdriver and screw a screw 3/4's of the way into the cork. use a hammer/tongs/pliers to pull out the cork. enjoy tasty tasty wine."

!!!!!
posted by barnacles at 9:54 PM on July 12, 2010


Nah, the easiest way to do this is to just pound the bottle on your rock hard abs.

Why bother when you can knock the cork clean out of the bottle by flexing your bicep?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:03 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


screw a screw...into the cork

Dude. A screw. Into the cork. It's like...a cork...screw! You're a genius!
posted by explosion at 10:08 PM on July 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


I read a while back that all winemakers would love to switch to twist-off caps.

All? Oof, I doubt that.
posted by desuetude at 10:15 PM on July 12, 2010


Many years ago I was on a second date with a cute law student who I met through a friend. For date #2 she invited me over to watch the season premier of Lost S2. I knew she didn't like beer so I picked up a bottle of wine on the way over. I figured everyone would own at least a cheapo wine opener but turned out she didn't. So after we poked around her kitchen for anything else that might work, I settled on a blunt knife. I peeled off the foil and jammed the knife into the cork. I figured that I could slowly push it in after two or three tries and we could make this work. Sounded like a great plan at the time.

Well, I pushed down so hard that the cork just caved and in an instant both of us (she wore a white skirt) were completely soaked in red wine. After a moment of silence we both burst out laughing and much naughtiness ensued.
posted by special-k at 10:17 PM on July 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is my favorite way to open a wine bottle.

I just bought ten of them and keep them stashed all over my house, my cars, my backpack and I frequently leave them at friend's houses. So far, it's really working out for me.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:18 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you mean "with a piece of string"?

I'm not familiar with that one, but I did mean towel, as PareidoliaticBoy said, quoting the sage Mr. Adams.
The video has been removed, but this page gives a step-by-step, and I've pulled it off several times.
posted by hypersloth at 10:27 PM on July 12, 2010


That appears to be the same method. A piece of string with a knot tied in it works the same way. I was thinking more "beach towel" and less "napkin", so I couldn't see how you'd get it into the bottle. The beach towel method is to use the towel to cushion the blows just as the bloke here uses his shoe.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:56 PM on July 12, 2010


We used to wrap the base in a towel and bang it on a tree.
I don't think these methods will work so well with the new plastic corks. But we are older and more responsible now and always remember our corkscrews, so I will never know.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:28 PM on July 12, 2010


Don't underestimate those Frenchmen. I saw a tool being sold at a wine shop in Paris that was made specifically for removing corks from bottles of wine. It was made out of thin plastic "fingers" that were splayed open, and you closed the "hand" to insert it into the bottle, where it opens up inside. When you pull it back out, it captures the floating cork and draws it out the neck, being thin enough to fit between the cork and the neck.

Yeah; somehow my dad got a hold of one of those, he was ecstatic and wanted to show me how it worked.

Picture this: I'm 17, I've finished all my college applications, painstakingly typed (this was in the typewriter era), I'm proofreading and collating, stuffing envelopes, I've got months worth of work spread out on the kitchen table and I'm looking forward to dropping the envelopes in the mail and waiting for fate to offer me a spot somewhere far from home.

Enter Dad. He says, "Look at this neat gizmo that pulls the cork out of a bottle." He struggles with it for a moment, then the cork pops out along with a fine mist of cheap red wine. This red wine mist coats the better half of the kitchen and the family table including all my hand-typed applications and essays that I was sorting and stuffing into envelopes.

Dad saw what he did and the look on his face still stays with me, so sad and so defeated. I couldn't do anything but rake up my red-stained papers and dump them in the trash then pretend that the papers at the bottom of the pile were the ones that I cared about the most. I applied to only one school; my last resort that was on the bottom of the pile. It was the only one that didn't make me look like the Zodiac Killer.

If only dad knew enough to bang his red wine bottle, ensconced in his Sperry Topsider, on the hearth. Maybe then everything would have turned out differently.
posted by peeedro at 11:34 PM on July 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


Ooh ooh ooh! Time for a story!

I was in a graduate program with a large company, and at the start of our second year all of the graduates (about twenty of us) were flown in to Perth for few days to get together and pat each other on the back and talk about professional development and other such fascinating matters. After eight hours of this, we were long overdue for a drink. We wandered up to the pool and proceeded to celebrate the not-so-spectacular achievement of staying employed for a year.

As these things do, it ends up at 3am in someone's room, with one final bottle of wine, but no corkscrew. Remembering a Mefi comment I'd once read, I proceeded to horrify my friends by smacking the bottle against a towel held on the wall. I'd tried this once before successfully, but this time it wasn't really working. I was also waking up several floors of the hotel, as people three stories below commented on the loud banging they'd heard.

Anyway, at about the time I decide I was doing something wrong (and everyone else in the room was pleading with me to stop, the bottle of wine bursts and covers the wall, the roof, the carpet, and my friend (it was his room), fortunately avoiding me. It turns out this bottle had a synthetic cork, which don't come out as easily.

Now, this would have all been fine if not for the fact that someone mentioned the incident to our CEO the next morning. He had a laugh and kept quiet until our farewell dinner that night, where he promised to put on a $1000 bar tab if I could repeat the experiment successfully, this time with a shoe.

I'd never seen the show technique before, but was game to try. He took a full bottle of wine from a nearby table, then forced in a cork. He handed it to me, at which point I turned it upside down, gave it the lightest tap with the shoe, and the cork shot out, followed by a torrent of wine upon the floor of the restaurant. It was at this point I realised the bottle was a screw cap, and the cork must have been from some other, smaller necked bottle.

To top the night off, I pointed out that he'd only mentioned getting the cork out, not keeping the wine in, so he still owed us the $1000.

My friends didn't let me buy any wine with it though.
posted by twirlypen at 11:35 PM on July 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Pretty amazing. 50 comments on this thing and nobody has gotten around to trying it and telling about it. Armchair winos.
posted by charlesminus at 11:45 PM on July 12, 2010


Pretty amazing. 50 comments on this thing and nobody has gotten around to trying it and telling about it. Armchair winos.

If I can find a bottle with a cork in it, I'll do that. Give me a couple of hours though, I'm not going to open anything fancy.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:49 PM on July 12, 2010


Armchair winos

[Looks down] nuh, office chair. Counting down 'till 5.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:51 PM on July 12, 2010


So, I tried this shoe trick once. Stuck it in my sneaker (...)

Anyone know what I was doing wrong?


Sneaker soles probably slowing down impact and absorbing the energy - they are designed to do this to protect your knees.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:00 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the method where you bang the bottle against the wall, holding it by the neck. Then it breaks in half, and you point that half-bottle in someone's general direction and demand a corkscrew, NOW!
posted by qvantamon at 12:04 AM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wonder if the same concept of blowing the bottom off of a beer bottle would work here?
posted by karminai at 12:05 AM on July 13, 2010


A liquor clerk in Gainesville, Florida tried to tell me about this trick when I raced in to buy a corkscrew to take back to our horrible, cheap motel with mysterious shower stains, but I couldn't risk the chance that I'd waste precious wine because I had drama that involved my father in the ICU, a crackhead stepmom I thought he'd divorced years ago who had gaps of teeth missing, and several other family members I never thought I'd ever see again poking into everyone's business. Also I had just quit smoking. I didn't think potentially breaking a bottle and giving myself stabby objects was the best course of action.

I'd never heard of that trick before, and I thought she was crazy. Hm. It might be science experiment time at my house tomorrow.
posted by jnaps at 12:18 AM on July 13, 2010


Of course, it wasn't too long ago we had a thread on Mefi about the Sabre To Open a Champagne Bottle. Desperately thirsty but brilliant alcoholics!
posted by Xoebe at 1:07 AM on July 13, 2010


Next video: how to clean a shoe print off a painted wall with a corkscrew.
posted by jamaro at 8:49 PM on July 12 [17 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


For the muhfuggin' WIN, muhfuggah!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:14 AM on July 13, 2010


Corks are not just a snob thing: for red wine that improves with age in the bottle they're essential as they allow some oxygen in. But it's true that for most wine this property is irrelevant.
posted by Phanx at 2:44 AM on July 13, 2010


I disagree with the assumption that there is a way to open a wine bottle.
posted by DU at 3:02 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spodee odee.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:08 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok, I tried this with a bottle of Rymill Cab Sav Coowawarra 2004.

Wall was most likely structural (I hope it isn't though because it's really in the way).

1st attempt, Dress Shoe - no movement
2nd attempt, Tennis Shoe - no movement
3rd attempt, Work Boot - no movement
4th attempt, Slipper - no movement

Clever attempt to show that towels are the way to go (Guide Dogs for the Blind Towel), - no movement.

A bit more thumping with the Guide Dogs towel - ineffective.

Used a monopol "Ah So" to open the bottle.

Conclusion, screw caps FTW.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:23 AM on July 13, 2010


Pffft just suck it out.
posted by gomichild at 4:58 AM on July 13, 2010


You are one tough lady, gomi.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:12 AM on July 13, 2010


I really hate people who say: "Told you so!". But on this particular day of self-hate, I'll say: "Told you so!"
posted by ouke at 5:26 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


> So, I tried this shoe trick once. Stuck it in my sneaker and started whaling it against a metal beam. Didn't work! The cork started to pucker outward slightly after maybe 30 or so smacks, but at that point I was getting tired and my friends were getting thirsty.

phunniemee: from a first-hand sneaker experience: the bottom of a sneaker is too soft / elastic. The shock dissipates in the shoe, instead of going to the bottle as it should. You should use a shoe with a harder sole instead.
posted by knz at 5:52 AM on July 13, 2010


I had forgotten this until today, but somewhere back in my restaurant past, a bartender showed the waitstaff how to do this. It was after the shift and we had been drinking, so it faded from my mind. I'm glad to be reminded of the technique.

I imagine the shoe technique requires a solid pounding surface like masonry.

I'm sure materials matter. But the phone book guy linked above looks like he's up against regular drywall. I have a feeling that finesse matters on this - just the right force/momentum in your swing.
posted by Miko at 6:40 AM on July 13, 2010


is that not this phenomena in action?
posted by gigbutt at 7:05 AM on July 13, 2010


my favorite and obvious once you've heard it method is to use a screwdriver and screw a screw 3/4's of the way into the cork.

I prefer to just hammer in a six-inch spike with my penis. But not right now.
posted by The Bellman at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2010


Nanukthedog: the push method permanently traps the cork inside the bottle

Au Contraire!
posted by nfg at 9:52 AM on July 13, 2010


it is sometimes posible to push the cork into the bottle with a finger.

Important safety tip - champagne presents its own peculiar problems. Had the mushroom top snap off on a bottle once and unthinkingly tried a corkscrew. Bottle didn't like it.

Pity we didn't have a ship to launch.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:57 AM on July 13, 2010


The perfect soundtrack as you bang the bottle against the wall

Pere Ubu - Drinkin Wine Spodyody
posted by elmono at 10:05 AM on July 13, 2010


I love how French mens shoes all come with convenient foil cutters for the omnipresent wine corks that need exposing.

But they go that far and can't Maxwell Smart a corckscrew into that loafer? That's just lazy.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:17 AM on July 13, 2010


a translation of the video, for those of us who don't speak french:

Hello. This is a video explaining how to open a bottle of wine using only a shoe. You will notice that the cork is inside the bottle, which is important as extra-bottular corks will not open with this method. Now, you may have tried to do this by attacking the bottom with the shoe, like so. [taps bottle 3x] This is stupid. Note the dorsal side of the bottle, how it is unaffected by the taps. The face of the cork exhibits no pained or consternated expressions. This is because such taps, even with as fashionable a shoe as mine, inspire neither the bottle nor the cork with the proper amount of fear. regard how, with the bottle inside the shoe and against the wall, we have finally given the cork cause for alarm. It doesn't know what the fuck is going on. It's in a shoe! Against a wall! What's that about? We have well and truly surprised the bottle, which is why the hairs on its dorsal side have finally risen. Thus does the bottle's biology betray its inner emotional state. Pay attention to its neck, location of its fear center. Now we are going to really scare the fuck out of this thing. Here we go. [taps bottle against wall 1x] There. Notice the cork has already popped out a little. It is contemplating escape. [taps bottle against wall 4x] Now it is like a zit, ready to burst. Now watch this shit. This is gonna be awesome. [taps bottle against wall 1x] And there you go. We got the fucker. Eh... huh... finally. the bastard. you will notice the look of terror on the cork's face, and its red ass.
posted by shmegegge at 10:31 AM on July 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


"T�l�charger flash Player pour voir votre vid�o."

Sorry, Frenchie, Flash is dead.
posted by Sukiari at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2010


extra-bottular

yay, new English word!
posted by Miko at 1:30 PM on July 13, 2010


How it works, by the awesome wbeaty.
posted by Evilspork at 2:28 PM on July 13, 2010


a translation of the video:
holy smoke. off to learn French.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:15 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tequila screws open. Viva Mexico, hombres.
posted by rahnefan at 5:12 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once opened a bottle of wine in a moving car by opening the door and smashing the top on the pavement. Just took the top off with minimal spillage. Pay no attention the sharp edges.

Please don't ask why or judge, but it did happen.
posted by damionbroadaway at 11:44 AM on July 16, 2010


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