Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Idiot's Guide to Opening A Wine Bottle And Having A Good Time

Let me begin by saying that this post is meant for women only. Men do not need to be taught how to smoke, open various alcohol bottles and be an ace athlete. ( Like Tiger Woods). They are born with certain superior knowledge. Well, on second thoughts, this post is for all of you who think Bubbly is a girl's name.

1.Though not necessary, you need an occasion for opening a bottle of good wine. Mine was a Christmas party. Invite your best friend, her mother, your cousins and who ever you think wants to have a good time. Whatever it is, the husband has to be conveniently away,on some official trip.

2. Raid your husband's cellar/ bar if one exists. If not, you can always hop across to the nearest wine store. Please note, if you live in Delhi or North India, send your driver or any other male to buy a bottle. People there think women who buy alcohol are all immoral. ( 703 walli madam to badi looje chracter nikli, akele hi wine-shine khridti hai ji)

3. Buy the most expensive wine you can get your hands on. Even if your tongue can't tell the difference, your brain can. You and other people will experience more pleasure out of your wine if you think you are drinking a  premium and pricey one.

3. I strongly suggest you buy some complex sounding, unpronounceable French wine, simply because they are supposed to be the best. I have been told that a Californian Merlot or the Italian Chianti can be just as good. If you are using your husband's credit card to buy your wine, do not discriminate and buy both.

4. Check if you have at home something that looks like a bottle opener with two arms spread wide and a bottom that looks all screwed up.  That is your wine bottle opener. Chances are your husband's bar has one. If not, send your driver again to buy it. Even if you live in Mumbai. This work is boring and should be left to a male.

5. Get your glasses ready. Remember, wine drinking is an art and you must create an ambience. Never drink out of stainless steel glasses. It spoils the whole feel.

6. You are not supposed to chill a red wine as much as a white one, but if you like it that way, go ahead and do it. Remember your ultimate aim is to have a good time.

7.Always remember the accompanying food should be out of this world. If you can serve low calorie stuff, your efforts would be appreciated more by your girl friends.

8. At the right time, with a lot of flourish, present your wine bottle. By this time, you all should have had some mouth-watering snacks and some pre-wine gossip session on men, clothes, men, make-up, men, getting old, men, and careers. ( Not necessarily in that order.) And no, I did not forget to mention the kids, the omission was deliberate.

9. Now comes the difficult part, so pay attention. Look at the cork on the wine bottle with complete concentration. If you stare at it long enough and hard enough and if you say your prayers right, it might, just might, open all by itself. If not, then get that damned corkscrew and start working.

10. Keep the bottle on a table and hold the hands of the corkscrew. Make sure you are holding them hard. Then gently, but firmly, lower the screwed up bottom on the cork of the bottle.

11. Now hold the head of the corkscrew and twist the head as viciously as possible. If  at that time you think of your arch enemy, the job gets easier. Make sure the wine bottle is securely held. You do not want to break it before you can even open it.

12. After some savage swivelling, the cork screw generally gives up and raises its arms in complete surrender. You  have  to be graceful in your victory. Gently but firmly lower its arms and pull. You will see the cork has come out of the bottle. Hurray.

13.Now ceremoniously pour the wine into the glasses and silently thank god for big and small mercies. Remember to clink your glasses and say cheers before you take the first sip.

Note: Resist the temptation to break the bottle on someone's head if you fail to open it. You just have to be good at the neck twisting and arm wrenching part. The rest is rather easy. If you can practice that move on your husband/boyfriend first, your chances of failure will drastically diminish.

If everything fails, you can just give up and have tea instead. And while you are having that beverage, just offer your heartfelt thanks that you were born in India and not in Europe and you do not have to do this every night before dinner. What a relief.


The Panorama said...

Ha ha ha ! Good one, Aparna. I must say, it took me a while to master the art of opening a wine bottle and sometimes I still manage to botch it. So I avoid the wine opening part. Here we get wine in carton boxes with a plastic tap attached so it is great for amateurs like me.
I never remember the names, anyway, so I don't know which ones I like the best. But I like Italian wines quite a bit. And of course Californian wine is great.

N said...

lol...awesome post. though despite your painstakingly written guide, i'm quite sure that with my level of clumsy, i still can never open a wine bottle without any mishap. :|

been reading here for a while now. LOVE the blog :)

Nupur said...

Finally a story untold unfolds here :) Nice account of what must have happened then : )Liked reading it A!! loved reading it actually...I'm still smiling :) hahaha...

Unknown said...

ROFL!!! :) I remember.. when we were just married & it was our 1st new year, we tried opening a bottle of really expensive wine that my dad had gifted.. Now Hubby is a beer drinker.. So how to open the cork was a mystery in itself. We did not know there was a thing called the cork opener!! n tried all methods to get it out!! .. we used a knife, a fork even a screwdriver!! n that stupid cork broke n went inside the bottle!!! We then drained it using a tea strainer (Just married - not many utensils at home) and drank it.. Even till today we laugh when we think abt it!! :)

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha...Thank you for this precious Tipni...If I ever decide to buy and open up a wine bottle, I shall return to this guide...He He..

Hubby kinda does have wine bottles at home...But I never saw him struggle so much with them...I thought it was easy....or do the bottles now have different types of caps too... ;)cause we don't own an opener...

sujata sengupta said...

that is going to be so handy, when the hubby takes off onone of his tours. i just help myself to whatever is open in the chiller or whatever is canned..but now I got a guide to help me raid his bar!!yayy..lets party!!

Sandhya said...

Don't know much about wines, but have tasted (without knowing how it should taste!) a few times!

When I went to London last year, my niece was offering me most of the evenings, I was tasting it but still, don't know how it should be!

So, now one of your wish from your wish list is accomplished! Now, I am familiar with 'opening a wine bottle'! One day it might be handy for me, thank you!!!!

Aparna said...

Saroj, a wine bottle with a plastic cap? Sheer genius! What will they think of next?

Nikita, remember the old saying practice makes one perfect? So keep opening till you stop being clumsy! Hic, hic hurray.
Thanks for your appreciation.

Nu, yeah, now you know! Thanks :D

MindfulMeanderers, tea strainer and wine! wow a deadly combination. Actually I had a great time reading your comment. I could imagine the whole scene and that really made me laugh out loud.

Jyothi, your husband will not struggle, he was born with a superior knowledge remember? we lesser mortals have to struggle. As Saroj said, these days drinker friendly wine bottles have appeared in the market, so no wonder you do not have a corkscrew at home.

Sujata, Goa, here we come! And please do not show this post to your mom or your husband. They will think I am a corrupting influence.

Sandhya, you do not have to know about wine to enjoy an occasional drink. Good luck with the wine bottle!

Nona said...

Very good guide! Everyone learns from mistakes. You have not only learnt but also come out with a guide. Good job! :)

Bhargavi said...

lol !! i always goof up popping the bottle .. the last time i attempted the feat alone,i ended up with a red modern art pattern on my white wall ;-) .. sigh !

BK Chowla, said...

Despite your warning,I read the post but ensured my wife did too.
I am impressed.I am a regular Wine drinker,red wine.
In spite of my experience in opening bottles(unlike woods),I do mess up the cork opening process.
Aparna,you chose a fantastic subject for the post.

Sumandebray said...

Hey Aparna,
As I read through there a few thoughts ran past my mind.
Since when did Delhi start to look for brands and makes? When I was there all we had to say was pachash ka adda or tees ka paowa to get a bottle. No other question was ever entertained or rather understood except for a store near Green Park where you could actually enter the store and no police constable manning the queue with that bamboo stick.
You have not warned your readers that the “spring like gadget” available with a “Swiss Knife” or a “Nail clipper” cannot be used to open a wine bottle cork.
You have not warned what happens when you are not able to actually bring the cork out and it starts to crumble showing no intension of coming out. Then one has to try and push the cork inside the bottle and use a sieve (cha er chakni) to separate the wine from the cork or vice versa..
I guess I need to stop here

SJ said...

I think I will take a lime soda instead :P

Blunt Edges said...

ROFL...that was easily the most hilarious guide ever! :D

n i still can't stop laughing...m gonna read it again after posting this comment :D:D:D

u rock woman!

nsiyer said...

Nice one, Aparna. Except for breaking the bottle on the man's head.
Finally, I understood you were whining for tea.

Ranjani said...

This post is so funny- ttly rofling at "( 703 walli madam to badi looje chracter nikli, akele hi wine-shine khridti hai ji)" You couldn't have said it ANY better-that is so true:))

P said...

that was some wonderful insight! :P

Gymnast said...

Lol...a good guide !
What if no driver/watchman etc is available in handy?

do drop over to my blog , i would like to hear ur take on the latest post!

Manish Raj said...

Ha ha ha...sorry I could not stop myself reading...lovely post..

Rajesh said...

Very nice post with useful tips.

Kawaljeet Singh said...

Fanatstic read. Aparna, well written just like a nice balanced wine.. right amount of swettnes, acidity and tannins (Lol ; Ref to the husband bashing and credit card plundering)
Been in the trade for marketing of wines and a kind of wine lover myself, have come across a lot of wine drinking and opening experiences and .. (not kidding) more than often encounter of questions like should we have wine on the rocks or with soda!!

It is a refreshing take on the subject of wines which oherwise is so much over hyped and shrouded in rituals and mysteries and snobbishness that people forget the basic purpose of the wine.. Enjoyement and interpretation in one'sown unique and personal way..
So here is a chin chin to all ladies waiting with a smirk to plunder hubby;s cellar : (Let me know if need some help in deciding to pluck the most expensive and rarest of his collections)
HAppy wining always!!

Ire said... Hahahaha! Now i must try to uncork a bottle of Wine!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

The wine-opening part apart, the rest of the vinology lesson and practical class is sure 'good time'. But I often botch up the initial bit, and have, twice in my life, sucked on bits of broken cork while swilling the wine around my mouth...

Kavita Saharia said...

ROFL...even if both me and my husband are non drinkers ,this post is kinda inspiring me to buy one wine bottle just to try to open it.Loved every bit of the post Aparna.Happy new year!!

DewdropDream said...

"Never drink out of stainless steel glasses." Bwahahahhaha ... only in India :D

I'm yet to attempt opening a bottle of wine. And I'm wondering how long I can keep putting off learning to open one.

The Holy Lama said...

You have been selected to the emiment persons list who built one happy nation:D

Balvinder Balli said...

Sorry Aparna, intruding into women’s corner, wanted to walk past silently but could not resist disclosing my presence, so decided to leave a comment as well.

This post reminds me of our trip to Mussurie on this Diwali eve where we both had gone with another friend couple. While we men had carried our poison, we were also considerate enough to carry a bottle of red wine for the ladies. But to our disappointment we found out at the guest house that they did not have a cork opener. The guest house attendant told us that the opener would not be available in the market at that late hour.

After that the instruments that we employed to open the cork of the wine bottle included a kitchen knife, a pair of scissors, our car keys, a small piece of metal wire, the hook side end of the cloth hanger etc etc. Ladies at one point of time raised their hands and told us that they would rather have soft drinks than make us struggle so much with the bottle.
But the sense of chivalry won’t let us give up so easily and ultimately we were successful in our mission.
Poor cork was not opened or pulled out but was literally carved out of the neck of the bottle in small bits and pieces, nevertheless making the ladies clink thier glasses of wine.

Aparna said...

Nona, what mistakes? Ultimately I got to drink my wine and that's what matters!

Bedazzled, I am sure the art pattern looks great on the wall :)

Chawlaji, I hope your wife enjoyed my post..

Suman, if you read the comments, you will find that a lot of people managed to open the cork using various 'spring like objects'. And I am sorry I missed out on the cha er chhakni part, that would have been rather good!

SJ, you do not know what you are missing, go ahead and open a Merlot.

Blunt edges, thank you :D

Ns iyer, tea is my all time favourite!

Ranjini, Delhi is in my heart and blood, I know my city rather well!

P thanks:)

Gymnast, there is always a man around to help a woman in distress!

Aparna said...

Manish Raj,thanks

Rajesh, thank you.

Kawaljeet Singh,welcome to my blog.It was very good to read from an expert. Wine on the rocks was a rather hilarious concept! I do enjoy wine every now and then but I opened a bottle for the first time on Christmas eve. It was a rather difficult task and that inspired me to write on the subject! Actually I wanted to say that as long as you enjoy the wine with friends, who cares how you open the bottle and which glasses you drink from. Thank you for your appreciation. I will let you know if I decide to raid my husband's cellar.

Nikita, go ahead!

Sucharita, was the cork as delicious?

Kavita, :) welcome back! Open a bottle, it will be a memorable experience this year, and let me know how it goes!

Dewdropdream, do it is life's one of the memorable moments.

The holy lama, thank you:D

Balwinder singh, this was never meant to be a woman's only post and I am glad you showed up. As you can see from the comments above, a lot of people had funny experiences drinking wine. I am still laughing reading about your story. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

i don't believe I read this post yesterday and went away w/o commenting!!!

have never opened wine bottle, and hopefully won't have to do it.. (i'll ask someone else to make a fool of themselves, u see)

btw, u shud start writing training manuals. u r soo good at this!

Unseen India Tours said...

This is simply fantastic !! For the very first time i am visiting your blog and trust me i found its amazing !! Will be back.

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Who says men are born with the skill? I know of a few who broke the bottle the first time they tried it. I do think your lovely manual is gender neutral. Thanks.

Roshni said...

Nice one!! I recommend Cabernet Sauvignon (hopefully spelt that correctly) instead of the Merlot! Just sayin'!!

Unknown said...

Hi Aparna,

Nice...nice...that was really good stuff..u got me, to your writing, not the wine!

Urmi said...

Very nice and interesting post. You have portrayed very nicely. Each and every human being makes mistakes and we all learn from those mistakes. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Lol! Well, we now get wine bottles here that are without the cork...just like normal glass bottles! So no hassles there. :D And only on occassions?? I have at least a glass every week...

JD said...

hahaha.. some tips for the parched souls!! lovely post. I've made the whole family read this post and there's laughter all around..

Sid said...

Oh boy, really lovely post. And I can relate to it so much. We recently had a similar episode. We had bought the cheaper Indian wines that seem to come with a rubber cork (we were expecting it to be wooden!)
And then we didn't have a corkscrew, slaving at it with screwdrivers, knives, keys and an hours worth of effort from 4 reasonably strong men, we were able to test the wine. Some of the best we have had, we had really earned it :-)

I wanted to comment on the characterization in Delhi regarding women who drink. I actually saw this recently when I was there. And this from a bunch of women who themselves hold several drinks when they are in Mumbai. But it all changed when they were in Delhi!

SG said...

Nice one. Good lesson. Do you think French wine is the best? Have you seen the movie "Bottle Shock"? Of course I am prejudiced. Since I live near Napa Valley, I love California wines.

Aparna said...

Purnima, I am not surprised you did not comment the first time, you have more engrossing stuff happening in your life right now!

Unseen Rajasthan, thank you.

Santanuda, Just though I would have a little fun here at my blog :D Thank you for appreciating this one.

Roshni, your recommendation duly noted! Thanks.

Cutting, thank you.

Babli, you are right, we do learn from our mistakes.Thank you for your comment.

Psych Babbler, lucky you, we still have to deal with those damned corks out here!

JD, I am glad your family had a nice laugh, thats all I wanted, to spread a little cheer!

Sid, glad you could empathize. And what can I say about Delhi men and women? I grew up there and understand them perfectly.

SG, the world seems to think the French wine is the best.I must admit that I know nothing about wines. I would not know a vintage French wine from a cheap Indian one. I drink very, very rarely and that too some red wine. Ultimately it is all about enjoying oneself.
Heard a lot about Napa Valley and one day we plan to take a vacation there. You are lucky to stay so close to that place.

Kawaljeet Singh said...

check this out how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew and with a shoe!! Followed by another genius opening it with a phonebook!!

I seriously abhore this violant mutation of a wine opening ritual..but what the hell.. if this is the last option available.. well try it!!!

That actually gives me an idea (With due permission from Aparna of course!!) to blog a bit and post something on wines myself and a video of how to open bottle of wines, with different corkscrews

Happy Wining

Destiny's child... said...

Lol..thoroughly enjoyed the amateur' guide to wining :D
I am glad we now have this guide, saves us the whining over a bottle of wine :)

Lazy Pineapple said...

hahaha...good one :) so were u able to bottle finally? it would be a shame to drink tea...

I love wine too...thankfully never had to open a bottle by myself ;)

Anonymous said...

LOL Aparna !!!!

Made me remember a lot of times, when my husband desperately wanted to open a wine bottle for me and there was no cork screw openers around. Now, he is an expert in opening wine bottles w/o cork screw opener.

But I wish such wonderful ladies times with wine in hand, to happen everywhere.

Samvedna said...

LOl:) at the second and third true..thats the mindset here... thoroughly enjoyed the post as usual!

~G said...

LOLL @ "two arms spread wide and a bottom that looks all screwed up.."

Nice guidelines. Will follow next time when I have to face such situations! :D

Shankar.Nash said...

Even though ur first line of the post mentions that its only for women, i cant resist the temptation to go thru ur post. coz, i was sure that it wl surely hav a hilarious content. probably, u can add this to ur next post saying 'y men dont listen'...

anyway,coming to ur post... it was hilarious as usual... and i remember an incident one month back, when we went for a team trip to Ooty all packed with some high spirits and this french complicated named wine. to our dismay only after going there, we found that we didnt bring the opener and we were staying in a forest too... no, we cudnt even try to break it in somebody else's head.... after some struggle, had to bring it back all intact...

Anil P said...

Ha ha. I'll bring in the tea instead :-)

Well written.

Kannan said...

Hi Aparna, Your guided tour on opening a wine bottle and savouring the contents with your friends is good and humorous. You have missed two points though:

One - on point 12 you haven't mentioned the loud 'Pop' sound that accompanies a successful opening!!
Two - after opening the wine bottle, the host should pour some wine in a wine glass, swirl it, smell it for freshnes & quality, nod his/her head in approval and then only serve it to the guests.


Kannan said...

Hi Aparna, Your guided tour on opening a wine bottle and savouring the contents with your friends is good and humorous. You have missed two points though:

One - on point 12 you haven't mentioned the loud 'Pop' sound that accompanies a successful opening!!
Two - after opening the wine bottle, the host should pour some wine in a wine glass, swirl it, smell it for freshnes & quality, nod his/her head in approval and then only serve it to the guests.


Tomz said... u write humour also? well..i will use this post as my manual when I become an independent wine drinker..I lokk forward for the guides to taste rum, bear and brandy in the coming posts..

Sakshi said...

I don't drink wine or any kind of alcohol as I have seen I get pretty high on a bar or two of chocolates *grin* But I am going to follow all your steps to the T and practice it in case i ever have to spend an evening with Johnny Depp *blush*

one doubt...I remember you had written in your earlier post that the wine opening was a tragic incident whch you would rather not post asal main kya hua tha??

Can you give tips about how to open a damn can of tomato puree without blending your blood into the can???

Aparna said...

Kawaljeet Singh, saw the violent videos, thanks for giving us the links. If only I had seen them earlier. And you go ahead and post on the correct way, I am sure people will be grateful.

Destiny's child, thank you. And happy whining, er... wining.

Lazy Pineapple, yes I did, and it was very good.

umsreflections, True, it would be great if we met our friends regularly with or without wine.

Antarman, thanks. What can I say about the mindset? The less I say the better.

G, thank you...will try to write such guidelines more often.

Shankar, you had to bring it back? What a pity.

Anil P, I love tea too.

Kannan, sorry, what an oversight. I forgot the pop sound completely. It was all the excitement I think. But the swirling and the sniffing and the tasting part I did not did not write.

Tomz, I specialise in humour :D

Sakshi, damn woman, you remembered...I would rather forget that a 14 year old actually had to help me open the bottle. I skipped that part. Log kya kahenge, khud to bigdi hui hain, ladki ko bhi bigaad rahi hain.
About the puree part, may be we should ask SJ to write that one, what do you say?

Anonymous said...


Onkar said...

What a terrific post.Thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Ayesha said...

Absolutely hilarious! Was actually laughing out loud in front of the computer screen and the guy across thought I had lost it. :P

But really good fun!

scarlet pimpernel said...


this page helped me a lot. Hope it helps you too. ;-)

Aparna said...

Onkar, thank you.

Ayesha, great to see you here. I am so happy the post made you laugh.

Scarlet pimpernel, thanks for the link, will definitely look at it.

Sorcerer said...

oh! so thats how the wine bottle is opened.

Ajit Ray said...

Thank you for the detailed set of instructions to open a wine bottle... You said that practising on husbands/boyfriends helps, does it work on girlfriends too??

Anonymous said...

LOL! That was one interesting take on opening a wine bottle :) I guess, it just makes me grateful that, this is one job I have refused to let husband outsource to me. Wine opening is one of the few things he does by himself without asking me thousands of doubts :)

I have btw, managed to puch the cork in , while trying to work the corkscrew - since then husband does not like me anywhere near the wine bottle :)

Nishant said...

I like Italian wines quite a bit. And of course Californian wine is great.

Work From Home

Unknown said...

When one shines, it's possible for us all to shine so let's shine together. Keep on sharing your thoughts :)