Recovering a trapped cork

I’m so proud of myself ! I successfully recovered the cork intact out of a wine bottle after it was inadvertantly depressed right through the neck.

My wife makes wine (I don’t drink) and she saves all the wine bottles, but what do you do with a bottle that has a cork bouncing around inside it ? Urged by my desire to impress her, I devised a method to recover both the cork and the bottle intact.

Now I’m wondering if my solution should be published for the benefit of mankind or if I’m suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Can anyone else provide a verified solution to this problem?

No, but I’m interested in hearing your solution.

Well the most widely publicized would be the ol’napkin in the bottle trick.

Cloth napkin placed in the bottle (half in half out), jiggle the bottle till the cork is verticle to the neck of the bottle. Slowly pull the napkin out and wedge the cork between the glass and the napkin. Then tug like hell. The cork will eventually be pulled out with the napkin acting as the wedge…

BTW…This is not easy and can take a few tries, but it does work.

What Phlosphr said. I’ve seen it done a few times. I have a huge friend who can do it in one tug.

My solution is forthcoming upon the apparent death of this thread or when someone else comes up with the same solution.

Drats that my solution isn’t unique to the problem. However I think my solution is more elegant and anyone can do it.

OK, how about you fill the bottle with cold water so the cork is floating at the top of the bottle, engaged with the pouring spout. Then you heat the water up.

[Steve Martin]

First, you gotta get really, really small.

[/Steve Martin]

Then…

Smash the bottle into a thousand pieces; retrieve the cork.

Sweep up all the broken glass, melt it in a furnace, make a new bottle.

Using four spatial dimensions instead of the usual three, walk around the bottle until you can reach the inside and pick out the cork.

More thought on the matter - heat the water up on the stove using a bain marie to avoid breakage, until it boils. The steam will push the cork up far enough to snag it with a corkscrew.

Am I close?

Hmmm…JJiimm, thats a good idea… However, I’d coat the bottle with some sort of lubricant like dish soap. Then heat up the bottle. *

*There should be a warning with the heating trick…I’d wear safety goggles as a minimum precaution…

The simplest way to retrieve a cork is to use a cork retriever.

That won’t happen. That decorker doesn’t have pincers that can grab or squeeze anything. Its legs break the seal between the cork and the bottle neck, and then walk the cork up out of the neck. It relies on the friction between its legs and the cork being somewhat greater than that between the cork and the glass. It only works with a cork already in the neck.

My way would be to fill the bottle with warm water. Making the cork float at the neck with little tension to create a seal. Push said cork under the water level, throw some dry ice in there and let the pressure pop the cork back out. Hey, it might work…

Hi, jpd hanson. Back in the early '70s, my parents had a pneumatic corkscrew with a big syringe needle that went all the way through the cork. One then pumped air into the bottle and the cork was pushed out with air pressure. I’m wondering if these things are banned - either for the reason you’ve given, or for the danger of stabbing oneself with the needle and injecting air into one’s bloodstream?

Nope, you can still buy them here in the states.

Take a pair of scissors that has blades narrow enough to fit in the neck of the bottle. Hold bottle upside down and keep nipping at the cork until all the bits come out.

Or use a fileting knife, which has a long and very narrow blade.

We used to burn candles in wine bottles - when the candle burned out we’d just shove it down in the bottle. One time I wanted to get all those stubs out and make a candle. I ended up using a wire coat hanger bent into a hook and yanking them out the neck. It wasn’t terribly quick, and tore the candle stubs up, but it worked.

I tried to post my solution yesterday, but the hampsters ate it.

jjimm, pretty well nailed it.

I filled the bottle with cold water to the top so the bouyancy of the cork would give me a start on the seal.

Then I tapped the bottom of the bottle on the table to use the “waterhammer” effect to further seat the cork.

Then I placed the bottle upright in a fairly deep pot of water and started heating it up to a boil. (I determined that as long as the heat in the bottle wasn’t undergoing a steep gradient temperature variation, that there would be minimal stresses due to temperature induced expansion.)

I had expected that initially I would get some bypass around the cork as the warm water expanded, which was observable as water formed above the cork. But the cork expanded due to the steam and I begun to observe gases forming at the base of the cork and no bubbles breaking through into the little reservoir on top of the cork.

The cork slowly began to creep up the neck to within 2 cm of the rim whereupon I was able to thread the cork screw in and withdraw the cork.

I’m really surprised that there are marketed solutions to this problem. After all, it is easy enough to decant the wine and throw the bottle away.