How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

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Jeremy C
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How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#1 Post by Jeremy C » January 5th, 2020, 12:10 pm

Alright, folks. I wrongly chose not to use the Durand to remove a cork from a 2006 Musar to decant prior to a tasting today (as an aside, CellarTracker notes seem to suggest that it’s ready to drink without decant, but I didn’t get that impression upon initial taste and elected to decant for a while) and sure enough, the cork broke midway out and I couldn’t get the remnant out so I pushed it in. Now, I’d prefer to replace the wine into the original bottle vs. putting it into another label but I’m not sure there is a good way to get the cork out. I might just bring a strainer, but was wondering if any of you bright minds know of a way to get a cork remnant out of a bottle.

Thanks in advance and cheers,

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#2 Post by Chris Freemott » January 5th, 2020, 12:15 pm

Jeremy,
I was successful once. I emptied the contents into a decanter (strained while doing so).

With the bottle empty, found a 16" metal kebab skewer in my kitchen, got lucky, pinned the cork upright between the wall of the glass and the punt and was able to skewer it...the skewer was wide enough that it split the cork in half (was about 1" of cork) and i got it to tumble out the neck.

Honestly though...i think i was exceptionally lucky.

Happy fishing.

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#3 Post by Mattstolz » January 5th, 2020, 12:27 pm

I use one of the metal wires from an old digital thermometer and loop it around the cork and pull it through. it takes some messing around and some patience but it has worked every time.

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#4 Post by Jeremy C » January 5th, 2020, 12:32 pm

Thanks, guys. I was going to fish it out with some string attached to large bead but first tried the kebab skewer and while I wasn’t successful in sliding it out in “whole,” I was able to essetnailly macerate it into smaller pieces which simply fell out. Success!
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#5 Post by mattcitrang » January 5th, 2020, 12:34 pm

A high strength thin cloth cut into 2” or so strip. Put the strip of cloth in the bottle, turn the bottle upside down and pull the cloth out with the cork. It may take a few tries but the cork will come out with the strip of cloth.

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#6 Post by mattcitrang » January 5th, 2020, 12:36 pm

OK too late. Try it in the future. Works for me every time. Even on whole corks.

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#7 Post by Jeremy C » January 5th, 2020, 12:43 pm

Excellent suggestion, Matt. I’ll try that next time!
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#8 Post by Victor Hong » January 5th, 2020, 12:50 pm

Smash the bottle open. Always works.
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#9 Post by TomHill » January 5th, 2020, 1:14 pm

There are a couple of devices (the Swiss Cork-Lift is one) that allows you to reach down into the btl, capture the cork, and pull it directly out. The two I have are pretty effective.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#10 Post by GregP » January 5th, 2020, 1:17 pm

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-3-Pron ... B00DJXQTBO

I usually bring it with me to tastings.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#11 Post by mattcitrang » January 5th, 2020, 1:22 pm

Here’s a demo.


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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#12 Post by cjsavino » January 5th, 2020, 1:23 pm

There is the old napkin trick. Empty the contents into another bottle or decanter. Using a cloth napkin, fold a corner to make a spoon shape, slide the napkin corner into the bottle, and try to “catch” the cork in the napkin fold. Then slowly pull it towards the neck and out of the bottle.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#13 Post by Jeremy C » January 5th, 2020, 1:42 pm

GregP wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:17 pm
https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-3-Pron ... B00DJXQTBO

I usually bring it with me to tastings.
Interesting, Greg. Thanks for sharing.

On a related note, be sure not to be wearing nice clothes when you push a cork into the bottle; splatter may occur.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#14 Post by Wes Barton » January 5th, 2020, 1:48 pm

GregP wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:17 pm
https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-3-Pron ... B00DJXQTBO

I usually bring it with me to tastings.
I have one of those, and one of these, which I like better: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Corkfish+Win ... nb_sb_noss

(I've also used them to get bungs out of carboys and jugs.)
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#15 Post by GregP » January 5th, 2020, 2:02 pm

Jeremy C wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:42 pm
GregP wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:17 pm
https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-3-Pron ... B00DJXQTBO

I usually bring it with me to tastings.
Interesting, Greg. Thanks for sharing.

On a related note, be sure not to be wearing nice clothes when you push a cork into the bottle; splatter may occur.
Oh, I've been there before, main reason I eventually decided to find a better way to deal with old corks. And I usually have wine stain remover in my wine bag as well :-)

As for Durand, as much as I really like the device, I also wasn't thrilled with carrying one to tastings, that would be an expensive toy to lose. So, same as cork fisher above I found an interesting rather very small and folding gizmo that imitates Durand (along with even a cheap A-So, of course), works like a charm most of the time and fails only on some very very old, soaked through corks (as will Durand). So, have both it and the cork fisher with me at all times.

There is actually one more way to extract corks, but I would not it use on old(er) bottles with plenty of sediment. Or use a filter afterwards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pELPxMOKtew
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#16 Post by Mattstolz » January 5th, 2020, 2:18 pm

mattcitrang wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 12:34 pm
A high strength thin cloth cut into 2” or so strip. Put the strip of cloth in the bottle, turn the bottle upside down and pull the cloth out with the cork. It may take a few tries but the cork will come out with the strip of cloth.
this is a much better and probably less frustrating version of what I said I do above lol

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#17 Post by Kirk.Grant » January 5th, 2020, 2:36 pm

I've gone back with a Durand after a cork has broken and it's work well for me every time. I'd just shift and use the Durand once the cork broke.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#18 Post by John Morris » January 5th, 2020, 2:38 pm

GregP wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 1:17 pm
https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-3-Pron ... B00DJXQTBO

I usually bring it with me to tastings.
I've used a couple versions of this over 20+ years when corks, whole or part of one, have dropped into the bottle. They're easy, quick, reliable and cheap. If you open older wines regularly, you really should have one.

These rely on the fact that the cork will float, though, so you don't want to pour the wine out before using the device.
Last edited by John Morris on January 5th, 2020, 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#19 Post by John Morris » January 5th, 2020, 2:40 pm

Kirk.Grant wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:36 pm
I've gone back with a Durand after a cork has broken and it's work well for me every time. I'd just shift and use the Durand once the cork broke.
I read the OP to be asking what to do when part of the cork has dropped into the wine.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#20 Post by Jeremy C » January 5th, 2020, 3:07 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:40 pm
Kirk.Grant wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:36 pm
I've gone back with a Durand after a cork has broken and it's work well for me every time. I'd just shift and use the Durand once the cork broke.
I read the OP to be asking what to do when part of the cork has dropped into the wine.
Right. I tried to get the fragment with the Durand but I wasn't successful
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#21 Post by James Wright » January 5th, 2020, 3:43 pm

the any way one can?
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#22 Post by James Wright » January 5th, 2020, 3:43 pm

.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#23 Post by Ian S » January 5th, 2020, 4:35 pm

Victor Hong wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 12:50 pm
Smash the bottle open. Always works.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#24 Post by Kirk.Grant » January 5th, 2020, 5:00 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:40 pm
Kirk.Grant wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 2:36 pm
I've gone back with a Durand after a cork has broken and it's work well for me every time. I'd just shift and use the Durand once the cork broke.
I read the OP to be asking what to do when part of the cork has dropped into the wine.
Oh, I missed that part. Thank you for catching that. Then, I'd say I have this little extractor device I bought at a Lowes, it's a long cable with a push-button on the end. A claw comes out and snatches things...I've had success using that a few times also, but depending on the wine & the age I'd assume a coffee filter was the best way to go. Musar is damn-near bullet-proof I've tried things with those wines I wouldn't dare with other wines...and they still come out shining.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#25 Post by Stephen Williams » January 5th, 2020, 5:40 pm

1. Tightly roll up a thin plastic shopping bag from left to right into a tube shape
2. Insert the closed end of the tube into the bottle as far as it will go while keeping an inch or two of the bag (not just the handles) outside the bottle
3. Invert the bottle in order to get the cork as close to the neck as possible
4. Blow up the plastic bag through the protruding neck while looking to ‘catch’ the cork against the side of the bottle
5. Stand the bottle upright between your ankles, twist the bag a few times which will normally see it wrap itself around the cork and pull out the bag and the cork.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#26 Post by Victor Hong » January 5th, 2020, 7:14 pm

Wear a red shirt.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#27 Post by John Morris » January 5th, 2020, 9:02 pm

Stephen Williams wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 5:40 pm
1. Tightly roll up a thin plastic shopping bag from left to right into a tube shape
2. Insert the closed end of the tube into the bottle as far as it will go while keeping an inch or two of the bag (not just the handles) outside the bottle
3. Invert the bottle in order to get the cork as close to the neck as possible
4. Blow up the plastic bag through the protruding neck while looking to ‘catch’ the cork against the side of the bottle
5. Stand the bottle upright between your ankles, twist the bag a few times which will normally see it wrap itself around the cork and pull out the bag and the cork.
You're talking about getting it out of an empty bottle, I take it. I think the task at hand is to get it out of a bottle with wine in it.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#28 Post by Victor Hong » January 5th, 2020, 9:11 pm

Hire a teetotaling anteater. (Not a political comment.)
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#29 Post by Jeremy C » January 5th, 2020, 9:29 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 9:02 pm
Stephen Williams wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 5:40 pm
1. Tightly roll up a thin plastic shopping bag from left to right into a tube shape
2. Insert the closed end of the tube into the bottle as far as it will go while keeping an inch or two of the bag (not just the handles) outside the bottle
3. Invert the bottle in order to get the cork as close to the neck as possible
4. Blow up the plastic bag through the protruding neck while looking to ‘catch’ the cork against the side of the bottle
5. Stand the bottle upright between your ankles, twist the bag a few times which will normally see it wrap itself around the cork and pull out the bag and the cork.
You're talking about getting it out of an empty bottle, I take it. I think the task at hand is to get it out of a bottle with wine in it.
Actually, I had decanted the wine via a strainer so the bottle was empty save for the cork remnant. Had I had one of those fancy tools listed earlier in this thread I would have tried that before decanting. But, I think once the bottle is empty the other methods (especially the towel/napkin one) are superior.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#30 Post by Scott Brunson » January 6th, 2020, 3:26 am

Victor Hong wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 12:50 pm
Smash the bottle open. Always works.
Then use the Durand
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#31 Post by Brian Tuite » January 6th, 2020, 5:16 am

Jeremy C wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 12:10 pm
Alright, folks. I wrongly chose not to use the Durand to remove a cork from a 2006 Musar to decant prior to a tasting today (as an aside, CellarTracker notes seem to suggest that it’s ready to drink without decant, but I didn’t get that impression upon initial taste and elected to decant for a while) and sure enough, the cork broke midway out and I couldn’t get the remnant out so I pushed it in. Now, I’d prefer to replace the wine into the original bottle vs. putting it into another label but I’m not sure there is a good way to get the cork out. I might just bring a strainer, but was wondering if any of you bright minds know of a way to get a cork remnant out of a bottle.

Thanks in advance and cheers,

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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#32 Post by John Morris » January 6th, 2020, 6:40 am

Jeremy C wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 9:29 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 9:02 pm
Stephen Williams wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 5:40 pm
1. Tightly roll up a thin plastic shopping bag from left to right into a tube shape
2. Insert the closed end of the tube into the bottle as far as it will go while keeping an inch or two of the bag (not just the handles) outside the bottle
3. Invert the bottle in order to get the cork as close to the neck as possible
4. Blow up the plastic bag through the protruding neck while looking to ‘catch’ the cork against the side of the bottle
5. Stand the bottle upright between your ankles, twist the bag a few times which will normally see it wrap itself around the cork and pull out the bag and the cork.
You're talking about getting it out of an empty bottle, I take it. I think the task at hand is to get it out of a bottle with wine in it.
Actually, I had decanted the wine via a strainer so the bottle was empty save for the cork remnant. Had I had one of those fancy tools listed earlier in this thread I would have tried that before decanting. But, I think once the bottle is empty the other methods (especially the towel/napkin one) are superior.
Everything is much easier once the bottle is empty!
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#33 Post by Jeremy C » January 6th, 2020, 7:29 am

John Morris wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 6:40 am
Jeremy C wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 9:29 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 9:02 pm


You're talking about getting it out of an empty bottle, I take it. I think the task at hand is to get it out of a bottle with wine in it.
Actually, I had decanted the wine via a strainer so the bottle was empty save for the cork remnant. Had I had one of those fancy tools listed earlier in this thread I would have tried that before decanting. But, I think once the bottle is empty the other methods (especially the towel/napkin one) are superior.
Everything is much easier once the bottle is empty!
Yup, agreed. And now I have one of those tools on order for when it happens and I’m not planning on decanting. Although, truly I have such great success with the Durand that I rarely have this happen (which is why I was initially at a loss and requested advice). I was just foolish this time and used a waiter’s friend.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#34 Post by Sebastian C. » January 6th, 2020, 7:52 am



I have done it with a napkin over a dozen times.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#35 Post by dsimmons » January 6th, 2020, 11:34 am

Sometimes I feel like I come from a different reality than most here but when this happens to me I simply leave the cork in the bottle and pour the wine carefully. Am I alone??
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#36 Post by John Morris » January 6th, 2020, 12:05 pm

dsimmons wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 11:34 am
Sometimes I feel like I come from a different reality than most here but when this happens to me I simply leave the cork in the bottle and pour the wine carefully. Am I alone??
You exhibit a lack of obsessive compulsiveness. You must not be a true wine geek.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#37 Post by Wes Barton » January 6th, 2020, 12:11 pm

dsimmons wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 11:34 am
Sometimes I feel like I come from a different reality than most here but when this happens to me I simply leave the cork in the bottle and pour the wine carefully. Am I alone??
That's what I'd normally do. If it's a cork or single big piece, it's not that big of a deal. The first pour you have to negotiate around the cork trying to dam up the neck. After that it's not in the way.

If it's little bits, none of the above works, other than running the wine through a mesh screen. But, all that stuff is floating in the neck of the wine. You can do a sort of flick pour where it all rides out on a wave with about a quarter ounce of wine. Even when the bottom of a cork disintegrates into a thousand bits, this works very well.

If the last bit of cork breaks off, with some good technique and a long sharp worm (or good substitute) you can pierce it and sort of pin it to the side of the neck as you pull it up.

The Durand isn't going to prevent some of these things happening occasionally (but does greatly reduce how often they happen). You can have all these nifty tools at home, but are you really going to have them everywhere you go, always? Sometimes you have to improvise.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#38 Post by GregT » January 6th, 2020, 2:01 pm

I thought I had posted but I can't see it. Oh well.

But my question was the same as Don's - why bother getting the cork out? Once it's in, it won't hurt you and if it broke, as Wes said, you can use a tea strainer.

One trick that seems to work is when you have an older wine, before trying to open it, push the cork in about a millimeter, just to break the friction force between the cork and the bottleneck. Then extract normally. That's worked for me, although I have no way of knowing whether the cork would have come out cleanly or not.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#39 Post by Jeremy C » January 6th, 2020, 2:05 pm

dsimmons wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 11:34 am
Sometimes I feel like I come from a different reality than most here but when this happens to me I simply leave the cork in the bottle and pour the wine carefully. Am I alone??
I would have considered that had the cork been whole; in this case, it was a fragment which was “calving” small pieces.
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Re: How does one extract a broken cork from inside a bottle?

#40 Post by dsimmons » January 7th, 2020, 2:52 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 12:05 pm
dsimmons wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 11:34 am
Sometimes I feel like I come from a different reality than most here but when this happens to me I simply leave the cork in the bottle and pour the wine carefully. Am I alone??
You exhibit a lack of obsessive compulsiveness. You must not be a true wine geek.
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