How to Open a Wine Bottle with an Ah-So Wine Opener

Look as cool as a wine connoisseur next time you open an older wine

The biggest challenge with opening a bottle of wine is making sure the cork doesn’t break. The older a bottle of wine is, the harder it is to keep that cork from breaking. Why? When corks get old, they crumble. Wine corks are simply the natural, fibrous tissue of a cork tree just below its bark, and they can’t hold their near-impermeability for eternity. A wine cork’s lifespan is typically shorter than a bottle of fine red wine, as a cork’s structural integrity will start to degrade after about ten years. That’s why there is a special wine cork extractor specifically for old wines called the ah-so. This video by Jordan Winery demonstrates how to open a wine bottle with an ah-so wine opener–a two-prong wine opener that uses one longer and one shorter prong to extract the cork rather than a spiral corkscrew. Follow these steps to use an ah-so.

How to Open a Wine Bottle with an Ah-So Wine Opener

  1.  Use a foil cutter or waiter’s corkscrew knife to remove the foil. There is no wine foil cutter on an ah-so cork puller, so you’ll need one of these tools first.
  2. Insert the long prong first into the tiny crease between the lip of the bottle and the cork. Watch above video for demonstration.
  3. Insert the shorter prong and start wiggling the ah-so wine opener back and forth down the sides of the cork.
  4. Be careful not to add downward pressure as the ah-so handle gets closer to the top of the cork. This could push the cork into the wine bottle.
  5. When the prongs are inserted down the side of the cork about an inch, and there’s about a half-inch of space between the ah-so handle and the top of the cork, start to slowly twist the ah-so and the wine cork out of the bottle.
  6. Move two fingers down to grip the ah-so prongs and cork as you twist to help guide out the cork.

Corkscrews work great for younger wine corks, but the ah-so wine opener is strongly recommended for any bottle of red wine aged more than 10 years.

Why do most winemakers of high-quality wines prefer natural cork stoppers? Besides the tradition of cork being used to help preserve wine for centuries, corks are elastic and easy to insert into a bottle. They also have very small holes, called lenticels, which help the wine breathe and evolve in the bottle due to the tiny amount of oxygen that permeates the cork naturally. It is recommended to store most red wines lying down on their side, which allows the cork to touch the wine and work its magic.

Learn more about wine corks on the Jordan Winery blog.


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Born and raised in rural Kansas, Lisa Mattson fell in love with wine during college in South Florida and worked for a wine magazine before moving to Northern California. Her days are spent being a writer, photographer and videographer for Jordan Winery and nights cooking Thai food or microgreen salads. When she’s not eating and sipping her way through Sonoma County, she travels the world with her husband in search of the best restaurants, snorkeling spots and tiki bars.

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