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Remove a cork from inside a wine bottle with cable ties

If you find yourself at a dinner party with wine but without a corkscrew, you can use this quick hack to get the cork out of the bottle with nothing more than cable ties.


While there are dozens of ways of breaking into a bottle of beer when you lose your bottle opener, things are a bit more tricky when it comes to removing a cork from a wine bottle without a corkscrew.

You can place the bottle in a shoe and bang in against a wall for a while, drill into the cork to remove it, or worst case scenario, you can simply push the cork down into the bottle. With the latter method, since the cork is buoyant, it floats and won't obstruct the flow of wine out of the bottle. But if you need to reseal the bottle later, how do you get the cork out?

That's where YouTube channel Hacks World's nifty trick comes into play. It requires some strapping (the thin, strong plastic webbing used in shipping crates and boxes). Most people, however, don't have strapping just lying around, so I tested it with cable ties and it works just as well.

Here's how it's done.

What you'll need

Taylor Martin/CNET

For starters, you need a wine bottle with a cork inside -- not in the neck, where it's supposed to be, but floating atop the wine. This might happen when a cork breaks or if your need for a glass of wine is too great and you're too impatient to find a corkscrew.

To remove the cork from inside the bottle, you will need something long, thin and strong. I used two long cable ties that were connected to create a loop. If you don't have any cable ties that are long enough, you could add a third or fourth to reach the cork.

You may also need some patience. Don't drink the wine inside the bottle just yet, because the more wine you have, the easier it will be to remove the cork. You need to keep the cork close to the bottle's neck, which will help orient the cork properly.

Removing a cork from inside a wine bottle

Start by taking the two cable ties and connecting them to one another. This will make an oval-like loop, which you will use to fish out the cork.

Pinch one of the ends of the loop together and thread it into the neck of the bottle. Use the loop to move the cork into an upright position. I found it much easier to do this by tilting the bottle, but be careful not to spill the wine.

Taylor Martin/CNET

The idea is to loop the cable tie under the end of the cork. Once both sides of the cork are wedged between the cable ties and the neck of the bottle, friction will help you remove the cork. The friction between the cable ties and glass is much lower than that of the friction between the cork and cable ties, making it fairly easy to pull the cork back out of the bottle.

Getting everything lined up will take some finagling and some trial and error. And pulling the cork out all the way requires some brute force, which is why it's helpful to connect both ends of the cable ties. Pulling on a closed loop is much easier than pulling on the loose ends of the ties. Just make sure to secure the bottle so it doesn't smash, as the cork will release with some force once it's reached the opening.

If you'd like to see it in action, here is the original video, in which Hacks World uses strapping instead of cable ties.

Now, if you don't have a corkscrew on hand, you're no longer out of luck. Just push the cork into the bottle and fish it out with cable ties or strapping with relative ease.