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Traditional foil removal holds that you use a sharp blade to cleanly cut the foil just below the top of the bottle, removing it in one pretty piece. There are a number of things wrong with this approach, and a number of products have been developed to address this problem.  These products suck because no matter how hard the metal you use to cut the foil, when you apply force to them perpendicular to the bottle itself, they will dull. Straight blades, serrated blades, tiny wheeled cutters, all of them.


In the first place, there is absolutely no benefit in saving this little disc of foil anyway. What are you going to do, keep it to remind you what a great bottle of wine it was? Only some foils have the winery’s name on it and I have yet to see any that reveal the variety and vintage of the wine. If your memory is good enough to remember all that, you don’t need the disc. Want a memento?  Use that cell phone camera to grab a digital image. Need something more material? Bring the bottle home and steam the label off. You can mount it in your pink wine bible.

The problem I have with the traditional method is that you will be dulling a perfectly good blade for no reason. If, like me, you have a really expensive, incredibly sharp pocket knife on you at all times (given to me by my attorney no less) you would never dream of defiling such a fantastic tool for such a mundane and pointless purpose.

My friends, there is a better way. And like all great solutions, it is elegant and simple. And it will work with any foil- even those tenacious plastics. And it will satisfy those wonks who want their foil disc keepsake.

Get a good grip on the bottle with your off hand (left in my case). With your other hand, flip your knife open. With your thumb on the back of the blade, position the knife just below the bottom edge of the foil at a shallow angle to the bottle.


Cutting away from you, slide the knife upwards and ever so slightly along the blade towards the tip, cutting only as far as the bottom of the rib on the bottle. If done correctly, you’ll see a very nice curlicue of foil.


OK, put the knife away. You are about to drink alcohol- you don’t need sharp things lying around. Swap the bottle to your other hand. Pinch the cut edge of the foil and peel it away from the bottle.


If you are careful you can peel the foil all the way around the bottle, leaving a nice foil cap which you can redeem for valuable prizes. Better than that, you’ve now got access to the cork, gotten to use your knife, and haven’t dulled it one little bit.


If you need advice about how to get the cork out you are in the wrong place.

Drink up.