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,
What’s the best way to remove the cork from an imperial (a 6-liter bottle of wine)?
—Jeffrey, Penn Yan, N.Y.
That’s a big bottle! I’d recommend starting with it on the floor between your feet versus a table, so you have plenty of stability and have a bird’s-eye view of the cork. A standard waiter’s corkscrew should work, but look for one with a very long worm (the spiral part), since the corks in large-format bottles can be bigger, and the deeper you can get the worm in, the better chance you have of the cork not breaking in half. Take it slow and you should be fine. And you may find it helpful to twist the worm in deeper to finish the job after the cork has been partially pulled out.
More complicated than opening the bottle can be pouring it: 6 liters of wine alone weigh more than 13 pounds, and when you add in the weight of the glass, it’ll likely tip the scales at more than 20 pounds. Have some decanters handy; some people find it helpful to siphon wine out of the bottle and into a decanter using food-grade tubing, available from brewing or winemaking equipment suppliers. I’d advise against trying to pour directly from an imperial into a wineglass. Good luck, and be sure to invite a lot of friends!