method for opening old bottleslundi, 12 mai 2014

The pictures have been taken in chateau de Saran where the 100th dinner of wine-dinners was held.

There was a photographer who took these pictures. It is an opportunity to explain my method to open old bottles.

The pictures below show the tools that I use, consisting mainly in normal corkscrews used by sommeliers, and in long spirals which are the inside tool of manual screwpull.

When you pull out the upper part of the capsule, remember that some capsules (here Pétrus 1953) are pieces of art. Think of keeping them as a memory

I use the sommelier corkscrew to lift the cork by only 2 to 5 millimetres. You can see on the right the two spirals on the table.

It is important that the spiral stays in the centre of the cork. Turn it slowly. It will go inside the cork and the end of the spiral will go further, but will not touch the wine.

Jean Berchon, the director for communication and estates of the Moët & Chandon Group looks at me with a great attention

Once again, quietness is required

These pictures below are very important, as they show how I use my hands to lift, having only my left hand to help the right hand to pull. The right thumb pushes hard on my left hand, and my other fingers make a lateral move to pull.

While pulling on the cork of Pétrus 1953, I show that the cork will break into pieces and I will try to lift every piece. Which I did !

This tool called “ahso” (in French : “bilame”), is something that I do not use, because I am confident in this method of lifting in two times : 2 to 5 millimetres with the sommelier’s corkscrew, and then lifting the cork with a spiral.

The second spiral is ready to be used if, by lifting some pieces stick to the glass. They will come when they are pulled extremely slowly.


One could think : is it so important to work so carefully, with these two steps. Let us have a look.

I was not able to take the upper part of the capsule of Pétrus 1953 complete.

This is Margaux 1959

This is Romanée Conti 1972

Not the slightest piece of cork fell in the wine for each of the wines opened with this method.