How to Open Wine Bottle with a Lighter

How to Open Wine Bottle with a Lighter: The Complete Guide

We have all been rushed to get somewhere with a bottle of wine and completely forgotten a wine opener. Unless you have picked up a bottle with a screw cap you will quickly find yourself in a bind. There is nothing worse than being stuck with a bottle of wine and nothing to fill your glass. Lucky for you we have a few handy solutions – including how to open a wine bottle with a lighter.

You can use a lighter to heat the air in the neck of the wine bottle which will force the air to expand and push out the cork. Once you’ve pushed the cork out enough that you can grab it, simply pull it out the rest of the way with your hands. And be careful not to heat up the rest of the bottle! 

Whether you are in a conundrum to open a wine bottle or simply want a new party trick, we have a step-by-step guide to help you out. Always use caution as alternative methods could be a bit dangerous if you are not cautious.

Now read on so you get can get off your device and get on with savoring your beloved wine!

How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Lighter

Yes, a lighter can be used to open a wine bottle without any pushing or pulling. It is a nice way to open your wine without a wine key or bursting a sweat.

Author Note: If you want to really put on a show a blow torch could use that instead of a lighter. However, unless you do ironwork or make a lot of Crème Brule, we are not sure how practical a blow torch is.

Be careful with this method. Remember you are using fire and don’t want to ruin the experience with burn to yourself or your carpet.

  1. Remove the wine’s foil capsule. Take away any wax or additional packaging around the neck and mouth of the wine bottle. You want to see through the glass to where the cork is nestled into the neck of the bottle.
  2. Locate where the bottom of the cork sits within the neck of the bottle. Light the lighter and tilt it to touch the glass underneath where you see the bottom of the cork. This will start to heat the air in the bottle’s neck. The air will expand to nudge the cork up.
  3. Circle the flame from the lighter around the neck of the bottle below the cork for a few minutes. Soon you will notice the cork moving upwards.
  4. Make sure to point the top of the bottle away from you as it may pop out. Continue this until the cork is all the way out. If it does not come all the way-out on its own, you can also stop when you have enough cork inched out to gain a firm grip and pull out without breaking the cork.

Alternative Methods

Open Bottle of Wine

If you find yourself without a bottle opener or a lighter fear not. We will outline some additional ways to open your coveted bottle of wine.

How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Shoe

We know this one sounds a little out there. Don’t worry we are not asking you to kick the bottle around. Note that this will not work with a synthetic plastic cork.

  1. Grab a shoe. Hard leather-soled shoes, like men’s dress shoes, work best. Unfortunately, tennis shoes will have too much cushion to do the trick.
  2. Find a hard wall of brick, cement, or stone. No one wants a gaping hole in their living room drywall!
  3. Remove the foil capsule from the top of the bottle.
  4. Place the bottom of the bottle into the opening of the shoe. If you set it down, you want it to be standing upright.
  5. Hold the toe of the shoe with one hand and brace the bottle in the shoe with the other.
  6. Take a deep breath. Holding the setup firmly, hit the sole of the shoe against a strong wall. Make sure the bottle is perpendicular to the wall each time you hit it. You don’t want to shatter the glass wine bottle so watch out not to hit the glass on the wall.
  7. Continue this until you see the cork emerging out of the bottle. Depending on the bottle, the shoe, and the amount of muscle grease you give this could take five to ten minutes. The force is transmitted through the liquid to push the cork out.
  8. When the cork has edged out enough for you to get a good grip go ahead and pull it out with your fingers.

How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Coat Hanger

Author Note: Maybe you have just moved into a new place and with boxes everywhere, you can not seem to find your wine key. Your pizza is getting cold and you are tired of searching. Grab a wire coat hanger and try this trick.

  1. Bend the hook part of a wire coat hanger about 40 degrees to make it a little longer. Do not bend it all the way straight. You will still want a little hook at the end.
  2. Firmly push the end of the coat hanger into the wine bottle as close as you can get it between the glass and the cork.
  3. Now twist the coat hanger so that the wire hooks into the bottom of the cork.
  4. Put a towel over the hanger for a better grip, or better yet grab pliers if they are around.
  5. While bracing the bottle pull up with force to move the cork out of the bottle.

How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Key

Opening a wine bottle with a corkscrew

You likely have a house or car key in your pocket or purse. This method can be a bit tricky and is an easier maneuver with plastic style cork.

  1. Gather your wine, a hand towel, and a key. Longer keys will work best.
  2. Place the wine bottle firmly on the counter. Point the tip of the key to the edge of the cork tilting it 45 degrees. Angle it so that it crosses across the middle of the cork and press in the tip. You want the key to go in at an angle moving across the center.
  3. Place the hand towel over the key so you can screw it in more firmly without hurting your hand.
  4. With force press the key down so that almost all the ridges are in the cork.
  5. Gently twist the key in an upward circular motion. Be careful not to pull too hard straight up to where the key comes out of the cork.
  6. Continue this until the cork is lifted out of the bottle.

How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Knife

This method is much like using a key. You will be using the teeth of the knife to grip the cork and pull it out.

  1. Locate a sharp knife. You want something like a steak knife. Butter knives do not have enough teeth to grab the cork.
  2. Remove the foil casing from the top of the wine bottle revealing the cork.
  3. Push the tip of the knife into the edge of the cork while angling the back of it towards the center.
  4. Continue to push the knife into the cork about an inch.
  5. Move the knife in a circular motion while pulling up. This should grip the cork and inch it out of the bottle

Author Note: If all else fails you can push the cork into the bottle. If the cork has crumbled into the wine you can pour the wine through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter to separate the wine from the cork.

How to Open a Wine Bottle with a Screw

Wine bottle with broken cork on gray background.

If you or someone you live with likes to be a “handyman or woman” this might be a great method for you.

  1. Gather a screw, screwdriver, and a metal fork. You will want a larger and long sized screw to be able to get enough traction in the cork.
  2. Remove the foil cover from the top of the wine.
  3. Using the screwdriver, twist the screw down into the cork. Leave a few millimeters of space between the cork and the top of the screw head.
  4. Take the fork and slide the teeth around the screw between the cork and the head of the screw. You can also use the back of a hammer instead of a fork to pull the screw and cork up.
  5. While you brace the bottle, Use the fork to pull the screw and cork up. You can use a hand towel for better grip. Having someone else hold the bottle while you pull up might make it a little easier.


For whatever reason you may need to open wine without a wine opener there is a simple solution. You can open a wine bottle with a lighter.

By heating the air in the neck of the bottle and causing it to expand and force the cork up and out.

Should you find yourself without a lighter try using a shoe, house key, knife, or coat hanger. Always remember to be careful with whatever method you use.

Now light that candle and drink up!

To living a full-bodied life,


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