About the Author

Kim Drake

Wine Curator

“When a winemaker gets the wine right, it is pure joy, like sipping a wonderfully painted artwork from the Louvre.” These are the words of Kim Drake, Londolozi’s Procurement Manager turned part-time Sommelier. Kim’s love of wine first started developing in 2010, shortly ...

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17 Comments

on A Sommelier’s Favourite Tool

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Lovely blog Kim. Interesting information. Love the Londolozi branded wine opener.

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Thanks Marinda, our first order of openers for the shop should arrive any day now.

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

Kim, when we first came back from Germany our waiter did not know how to open a bottle of wine. We had to show him how, he had the tool referred to in the above article. It was so funny!

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Joan, that is rather funny, hopefully some of our wine training sessions are paying off. I find it amazing though how some people don’t appear to have opposable thumbs either and really struggle to get a grip with the opener around the neck of the bottle as well. Practice makes perfect!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

I’ve always preferred the Ah-so opener. But I have to admit that it fails (or maybe I do!) about 10% of the time! Looks like I’ll need to pick up your fav at my next visit!

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Mary Beth, although sometimes tricky to use, the ah-so bottle opener is great for opening older bottles of wine where the cork may be fragile and brittle, it helps to separate the cork from the bottle and pull it out without the cork breaking half way, getting stuck, frustration building up, eventually pushing the cork back in with whatever tool lying around you will fit in the neck, and leading to bits of cork in the wine. But when opening a younger bottle of wine with a cork in good condition, the waiter’s friend is definitely the route to go 😉

Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

How great to get some good advice from an expert! We have at least 4 different cork screws in the drawer and I din’t Really like any of them. Will try tjr advised one! Victoria

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Victoria, do let me know what you think once you have tried the trusty waiter’s friend, would love your feedback.

Judith Guffey
Senior Digital Ranger

I do hope the “Londolozi” inscribed wine opener is still in the boutique in November 2020! I need a couple of them. Aloha.

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Judy, great to hear from you, hopefully the sell well and then they will continue to be a firm favourite stocked in the boutique 😉

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Our only regret is that standard wine bottles should have been designed for two people to enjoy!

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Bob & Lucie, I couldn’t agree with you more… But I like to think this gives each person the opportunity to enjoy a bottle of their preferred wine without any squabbling over which bottle to pick.

There is an interesting story though behind why a standard bottle has a capacity of 750ml and it stems from when bottles were made by hand by glass blowers in the 16th and 17th centuries. A typical glass blower’s lung capacity was about 750ml and thus with one breath they could make a bottle.

Disclaimer: As per the World Health Organization – Men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week….

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Great options here and especially agree with the correlation between wine & corkscrew quality.

Traditional for small dinner parties and Metrokane for larger gatherings.

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Vin, great to hear from you. The Metrokane Rabbits are great for quickly opening your bottles, not quite as romantic as the waiter’s friend, but useful tools when numerous bottles are needing to be opened.

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Forgot to say “THANKS “ for a great visit & personal experience! Really enjoyed 2 parties for #70! 🎈

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Kim, so nice to see another blog from you that includes some great tips. In one of my careers I worked for a winery in the Napa Valley and had the opportunity to collect a few wine thieves from various tastings I attended. I was trained to use the Ah So while working at the winery, but I preferred the wine thief or a screwball. On my last trip to Paris I found that I needed something to remove the cork from the bottle of wine I purchased as the apt. I had rented did not have anything decent to use, so I went to the local Nicolas and bought the best wine thief I have ever used – the Coutale. Now I travel with it, just in case. Looking forward to tasting more delicious SA wines in March, and perhaps a bit of bubbly as well……

Kim Drake
Digital Ranger

Hi Denise, lovely to hear from you. Glad to hear I’m not the only one with a problem collecting openers as I go, I haven’t seen a Coutale locally in South Africa, will keep a lookout for one. Looking forward to some more wine in March, it will definitely be hot so perfect for some bubbly…

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