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Research shows pull and twist corkscrew is best

It is easier to remove a cork from a wine bottle by twisting and pulling rather than pulling alone, according to a team of Italian and French researchers.

The team from Lecce University and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique used the theory of nonlinear elasticity to answer a classic wine party dilemma: which kind of corkscrew system requires the least effort to uncork a bottle? Researchers Riccardo De Pascalis, Michel Destrade and Giuseppe Saccomandi provided a mathematical argument – running to some 16 pages – which backed ‘those wine amateurs who favour a system relying on a combination of pulling and twisting over a system relying on pulling only’ because the ‘calculations indicated that it requires more force to pull only than to pull and twist’.

The team, whose paper appears in this month’s Proceedings of the Royal Society: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, points out that corkscrews based on the pull-only option are more common but the ease of opening with the second option is reflected in some of the commercial names, such as ‘magic corkscrew’ and ‘easy corkscrew’. However, the twist-and-pull kind aren’t as rare as hen’s teeth – you’ll find one at Ikea.