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Paul Winalski

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Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Paul Winalski » Thu Sep 29, 2022 11:24 am

I've avoided the ah-so two prong style of corkscrew because I've had bad luck with them in the past. More often than not I end up just pushing the cork into the bottle. But I encounter the occasional bottle of old wine with a crumbly cork that wants to stick to the bottleneck. Old vintage Port is especially prone to this. For these bottles my trusty screwpull and waiter's corkscrew merely drill a hole through the middle of the cork.

So I'm looking to get an ah-so corkscrew and to learn how to use it properly. There are a lot of options out there, with wildly varying prices.

Any recommendations on a good, reliable ah-so that won't require taking out a second mortgage?

-Paul W.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by David M. Bueker » Thu Sep 29, 2022 12:20 pm

I don't think it's the cost of the ah-so that's really the issue. You can duplicate the functionality of The Durand by using the screw portion of a pocket Screwpull and whatever ah-so you have on hand. I did that for years with great success until I managed to get a Durand as a Christmas present.
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Dale Williams

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Dale Williams » Thu Sep 29, 2022 3:48 pm

I could never bring myself to splurge for the Durand,but was very happy when Betsy got me for Christmas or birthday one year. But agree with David that you can do similar combining Ah-so and a corkscrew with good worm.
For Ah So I think the Monopol ones are worth a few dollars more than the cheap ones.
As to technique, practice, practice! I periodically still use a plain Ah-so to remove a cork just to keep the muscle memory.
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Tom NJ

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Tom NJ » Fri Sep 30, 2022 5:41 am

Am I the only one who still does the "wet feather + heated port tongs" trick? :lol:
"He ordered as one to the Menu born...."
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Paul Winalski » Fri Sep 30, 2022 12:18 pm

When I'm ambitious, and when the whole bottle is to be consumed, I use port tongs on vintage Porto. I have a swan's feather* reserved for that purpose. Other wine bottles aren't really shaped for convenient use of Port tongs, though.

-Paul W.

* My parents used to live at Groton Long Point on the Connecticut shore. There was a pair of swans (and cygnets during the nesting season) who made the rounds every day begging for bread. One day the female was preening herself and pulled out and discarded a flight feather. I recovered it for use with port tongs. At one point I thought I'd lost the feather and I briefly contemplated how to involuntarily harvest a replacement. My idea was to rent one of those long poles with a loop on the end used to capture large, poisonous snakes and a full ice hockey goalie's outfit, to snare a swan and safely (for me) pull out the feather. I never tried that, of course, and later on I found the missing swan's feather.
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Steve Slatcher

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Steve Slatcher » Sat Oct 01, 2022 8:34 am

Paul Winalski wrote:I've avoided the ah-so two prong style of corkscrew because I've had bad luck with them in the past. More often than not I end up just pushing the cork into the bottle. But I encounter the occasional bottle of old wine with a crumbly cork that wants to stick to the bottleneck.

That's been my experience too. Ah-so is good for corks of good quality, and crumbly corks, but corks that don't grip the bottle neck just get pushed in. I think it is a fundamental design issue, unrelated to the ah-so brand. If the cork has a tendency to slide, it's better to use a corkscrew, gently and at an angle.

If the cork is crumbly AND slidey, I've assumed that is where the Durand earns its keep, or the DIY durand (normal corkscrew and ah-so together). The screw stops the cork pushing in, and the ah-so holds the cork together, as a sort of compromise solution
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Jenise

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Jenise » Wed Oct 05, 2022 1:17 pm

Speaking of Durands, apparently the patent ran out in March this year. Am surprised that cheap(er) substitutes haven't shown up in the marketplace already.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Ted Richards

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Ted Richards » Thu Oct 06, 2022 12:12 am

Jenise wrote:Speaking of Durands, apparently the patent ran out in March this year. Am surprised that cheap(er) substitutes haven't shown up in the marketplace already.

Not a lawyer (thank heavens!), but a little googling indicates that the patent was filled in 2007, and so should expire in 2027.

On the other hand, it appears that knock-offs were produced in China in violation of the patent. The company that made the initial run of parts for the Durand got into a dispute with the patent owners and sold the moulds and specs to a Chinese company.
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Jenise

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Re: Ah-So corkscrew recommendations

by Jenise » Thu Oct 06, 2022 6:30 pm

Good sleuthing, Ted. I took the word of someone on CellarTracker who said so when I was looking for a good deal on a replacement Durand earlier this year (it didn't break, it just disappeared).
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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