Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
How do I know if I should use an ah-so pronged cork puller instead of a regular corkscrew?
—Becky, Milford, Mich.
For those not familiar with what you’re talking about, that two-pronged wine opener designed for extracting crumbly, fragile corks from old wine bottles is called an “ah-so.” The ah-so offers a gentler way of removing the cork, grabbing it from the outside rather than forcing a spiral (known as the “worm”) through the center of the cork (the latter process can cause delicate, old or dried-out corks to crack or crumble).
There’s no timetable for when a cork might become too old and fragile for a traditional corkscrew (and even if you do break or crumble the cork, no harm will come to the wine). The condition of a 10- or 20- or 50-year-old cork can vary greatly depending on the quality of the cork and the bottle’s storage conditions over that time.