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15 October 2020

Is it worth buying an electric wine bottle opener?

Wine experts Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter tried out the Cuisinart Rechargeable Electric Wine Bottle Opener to see how it compares with manual openers
Man using electric bottle opener
RM
Rebecca Marcus

The Cuisinart Rechargeable Electric Wine Bottle Opener CW050U is a large, battery-operated corkscrew that works at the press of a switch. It comes with a charging base. A six to eight-hour full charge opens around 80 bottles. The manufacturer claims it quickly and easily opens wines.  It has a foil cutter and a vacuum sealer (also tested).  

Cuisinart Rechargeable Electric Wine Bottle Opener CW050U, £45

Available from: Cuisinart, John Lewis, Harts of Stur, Jarrold, Wayfair, Amazon

How easy to set up? Instructions hidden in packaging were not entirely clear. Needs an initial charge. Each time returned to charging base, you need to check that contacts engage. 7/10

How easy to use? It takes firm grip and concentration to keep the opener directly vertical and central in the cork, and to counter the force on the bottle as the screw engages. This was no problem for younger users. Kathryn, with arthritis in thumbs and fingers, found the grip difficult, as was sustained pressure on the switch. This corkscrew may therefore not be a solution for some older users. (If you can comfortably fill a car with petrol, you will use this gadget with ease.) 7/10

How easy to clean and store? The screw is easy to rinse, if necessary. You can leave it constantly on charge. At 33cm tall, it takes up space on a household surface, and an electrical socket. 8/10

Pros and cons v manual corkscrews: We can’t think of pros. It’s not quicker. Physically it is not easier. We can vouch that for older people lacking firm hard grip it is difficult/possibly painful to hold a wide bottle in one hand and fat opener in the other against the turning force of the screw. It takes away the ceremony – instead of a pop you get a sound like a slow, quiet hairdryer. It permanently takes up a socket and space on a household surface. Our experts (and most other professionals) favour a double-articulated ‘waiter’s friend’ corkscrew.

Our experts were:  

Charles Metcalfe, wine taster and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 

Kathryn McWhirter, wine taster, author and translator

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