Opening wine with a shoe–is a Croc

Various notes have come to the Dr. Vino World Headquarters recently: “Is it possible?;” “I am expecting some dr. vino independent trials;” and “Hilarious, can it be done?”

Of course, they are all referring to the most discussed wine topic of today–not Bordeaux 2009 futures, not even natural wine–but how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe.

It all started with a video last fall of a drunken Frenchman and a group of his thirsty friends, which had tens of thousands of views on Youtube before being removed for some reason. Then came this sober French video:

Inspired, challenged, bored and thirsty on a summer afternoon, I grabbed a bottle of six-year-old Italian Pinot Grigio and three-year old California Sauvignon Blanc, both closed with real corks, and headed to the nearest sturdy tree. I banged the bottles against the tree with Crocs, Keens, dress shoes, cycling shoes, dish towels and, finally, straight-up, bottle against tree. Neither of the corks budged. Not a millimeter. Now I was sweaty, annoyed, chagrined and thirstier than before. And the wines had angry bubbles swirling around the bottles.

I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying I couldn’t do it that day. So my advice to you: at picnics, hiking, when you need to open a bottle without a corkscrew, bring a screwcap. Or champagne.

After the jump, check out the collection of “how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew” videos for your your summer time-wasting needs!

This guy does it against a tree with his shoe. Deux Chevaux in background. Nice touch.

This guy does it by tapping the bottle on the tree. Good for him. Grr….

These French hikers do it! The French are so resourceful in this department…

More Frenchies, but with an American sneaker!

Finally! And American does it! And with a sneaker!

These guys get the job done using a Yellow Pages (do they still make those?).

These folks bust out some hardware–cheating!

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20 Responses to “Opening wine with a shoe–is a Croc”

  1. That original video you refer to as “a drunken Frenchman” is not just any drunken Frenchman, but a drunken Breton. We have our pride, y’know.

  2. So I actually got a shoe, a bottle and went on to my roof and tried this. It may be wishful thinking, but I think the cork moved about 1/8th of an inch after about 4 minutes of pounding. My neighbors probably think I’m a nut, but hey, I got an upper arm workout.

  3. Hi Gually, Thanks, I didn’t get the memo about Brittany getting the axe from the Hexagon…One of the few French regions with almost no acres under vine–yet he still knew how to open a bottle without a corkscrew!

    Christy – glad to hear you also met with futility! Question: did you go back downstairs, uncork the wine using normal methods, and then actually drink it? If so, was it bubbly?

  4. I didn’t. I already had something open. Which was maybe part of why I was so quick to attempt the experiment. But looking at the bottle this morning, I am sure the cork moved a little bit. At least on one side.

  5. The physics–I THINK what’s happening is that the wine goes into the ullage on the downswing, hits bottom, at impact and ricochets against the cork. Anyone?

    Why do all these people swing the jug horizontally?

    The dental assist is strongly disrecommended for people with crowns and small bank accounts.

  6. Have you tried contacting the Mythbusters? Perhaps they can do a show about opening wine without a corkscrew. As long as there is a possibility of an explosion at some point, they should be all over it.

  7. I wouldn’t know… I am never without a corkscrew.

  8. I am here to declare that I have successfully opened many bottles of wine using tree trunks. The key is to use a soft-barked tree that will give just slightly to prevent too much pressure on the bottle bum. Great party trick.

    I will point out, however, that the trick ONLY works with real cork and not synthetic. It works by building up pressure within the bottle so it pushes the cork out from within.

    When my iPhone 4 arrives, I’ll video it and at least you’ll “know” someone who will do it authentically.

  9. Happy someone can attest to this!
    Thanks, Taylor!
    Pat Kiernan from NY One News also succeeded, although after a few tries. See video here:

    The physics of this opening is explained in the video that appeared this week, albeit in French: the blast wave (my dictionary’s translation for “onde de choc”) travels from the bottom of the bottle that hit the wall to the cork side pushing it each time slightly.

    And on a related topic, I engage everyone to observe how to saber a bottle of champagne with a tea spoon (even if opening a bottle of champagne in the woods or up a cliff hardly poses a problem, but doing it in style is another story). Another physics wonder.

  10. I did it last night and it totally works! I was shocked. I think the trick is using a shoe without much padding. I tried it with a hiking boot first and it didn’t work. Then I tried it with a dress shoe (like in the video) and it worked. I also used the concrete wall in my house. You really need a hard surface for it to work.

    Oh, I should mention. I had to hit it with all my might. I’m not a small or particularly weak person, but it was still difficult for me to hit it hard enough to make the cork come out.

    It was so worth the try…my friends were amazed…thanks for the idea!!

  11. ha ha, those video’s are hysterical! Have not tried it, definitely have to after seeing that!
    Hope all is well on your side. Any South African wine features coming up 🙂

    Keep well.


  12. I have done it several times!

  13. The trick is actually pretty useful for those unfortunate instances when the cork snaps in half while being opened with a screw. It’s better than pushing the cork in, because you won’t get cork particles floating around in your wine. Also, it’s much easier to do when half of the cork has already snapped off, as there’s now only half of the friction holding the cork in place.

  14. Hey everyone,

    This trick actually works quite well, and yes, a dress shoe works best. You have to hit it against the wall/tree harder than you’d expect. The heel of your shoe has to hit flat against the wall. If you’d like to see how I did it, here’s the article and video.

    Having an audience really helps–especially if they’re the type of people who will rip on you for ages if you fail.

  15. Great work.. but yeah, you could save a lot of time and hassle by .. you know, just twisting off a screwcap. 🙂

  16. […] find from @1372adventures! Check out more fun ways to TRY and open wine sans corkscrew from Dr. Vino! Like him, I can’t get it to work. But maybe practice makes perfect. Do I sense a new […]

  17. I live in China. Was at a small dinner party last night- someone brought a bottle of (Chinese) wine, but no one had a corkscrew. Thought to myself, “Now’s the time to try this!” Decided to go into the bathroom so as not to mar the paint with my shoe. Few whacks, and the bottle shattered in my hand. 3cm gash across my thumb, 6 stitches, and about 3 hrs. in a Chinese hospital. Will not be trying this again. Interesting to note an above comment that this method requires considerable force to work…

  18. Thanks for your comment, because I’m also waiting this “opportunity” to open with a shoe…..

  19. […] opening a bottle with a shoe A reader tries to open a wine bottle with a shoe at a party and gets a trip to the hospital and six stitches for the effort. […]

  20. The French are great blagueurs. I hope I spelled that right.


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