Valentina Silovic

How to Open Aged Bottles of Wine With Ah-So Wine Opener

featured image of the Durand wine opener
Photo: Durand

We all love presenting and opening a good bottle of wine, but what about those aged and vintage ones with tricky corks? When it comes to the prolific world of wine openers, enthusiasts often find themselves in a spirited debate centered around a fundamental choice: the timeless double-hinged corkscrew, affectionately known as the wine key or waiter’s corkscrew, versus its many alternatives. Most wine lovers swear by the elegance and efficiency of the traditional waiter’s corkscrew, dismissing options like the lever wine opener, winged corkscrew, or trendy electric wine openers. However, for those who appreciate wines with some serious aging potential, there exists another indispensable tool in the arsenal: the ah-so wine opener. Whenever we decide to uncork a bottle of our cherished archive wine collection, ah-so wine opener is our ultimate go-to choice. It’s the ideal opener for wines aged 15 years or more! Using this opener, we carefully slide the two metal prongs between the cork and bottle neck. Then, with a gentle twist and lift, the cork comes out smoothly without any bits falling into our favorite wine. It requires some finesse and attention, but once you get the hang of it, removing old corks is almost effortless. Let’s discover everything you need to know about the ah-so wine opener and how to use it when opening a bottle of aged wine!

How to open aged bottles of wine with ah-so wine opener

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use an ah-so wine opener effectively:

  • Inspect the Bottle: If opening a bottle of aged or vintage wines, before attempting to open it, examine it carefully for any signs of leakage or damage. Ensure that the wine has been stored properly, lying on its side to keep the cork moist.
  • Prepare the Ah-So Wine Opener: The ah-so wine opener has two thin, flat prongs. Make sure they are clean and free from any debris or rust that could contaminate the wine.
  • Position the Opener: Hold the bottle firmly in one hand and grasp the ah-so wine opener by its handle. Position the prongs on either side of the cork, sliding them gently between the cork and the neck of the bottle.
  • Twist and Wiggle: With gentle pressure, twist the ah-so wine opener while simultaneously wiggling it back and forth. This motion helps the prongs to work their way down between the cork and the bottleneck.
  • Work Slowly: Take your time and be patient. Aged corks can be delicate, and rushing the process may cause them to break or crumble.
  • Leverage and Extraction: Once the prongs are fully inserted, use the handle of the ah-so wine opener to leverage the cork out of the bottle. Apply steady pressure while continuing to wiggle the opener if necessary.
  • Remove the Cork: Once the cork has been lifted partially out of the bottle, carefully pull it the rest of the way using your fingers. Be gentle to avoid any damage to the cork.
  • Inspect the Cork: After removing the cork, examine it for any signs of damage or crumbling. If the cork has deteriorated significantly, you may need to strain the wine to remove any cork particles before serving.
  • Decant if Necessary: Depending on the age and condition of the wine, you may choose to decant it before serving to separate any sediment that has settled over time. Wine decanters come in all shapes and sizes, from your classic carafes to some serious art pieces. Take a look at our previous articles where we tested and rated best decanters for 2024. You might just find the best one there.
  • Enjoy the Wine: Once the bottle has been opened successfully, pour yourself a glass and savor the intricate flavors of the aged, archive wines, or old, vintage wines.

If you’re more of a visual learner, simply hit play on the video below. Ps. Remember, practice makes perfect when using an ah-so wine opener, especially with older bottles of wine.

What is an ah-so wine opener?

The ah-so wine opener is a unique tool designed specifically for opening aged and vintage wine bottles. It features two thin prongs that slide down the sides of the cork to gently ease it out without causing any damage. An ah-so wine opener is a special tool we use to open aged bottles of wine. This type of opener is also known as a pronged cork puller because it has two metal prongs. This method of extraction is ideal for delicate corks. Especially those prone to crumbling or tipping into the bottle when using traditional corkscrews. As mentioned in the introduction, we especially love it for bottles that are 15+ years or older – the kind where the cork has seen better days.

Benefits of using an ah-so wine opener

The main advantage of using an ah-so wine opener is that it can remove corks with ease without any risk of crumbling or pushing them inside the bottle. Its two-prong precision design ensures a smooth and controlled removal process. This helps to preserve the integrity of the cork and the wine.

The carefully crafted prongs are tailored for handling delicate corks with finesse and accuracy – a critical feature when dealing with vintage or aged wines.

Leveraging their flat and thin profile, these prongs ensure a smooth extraction without causing any damage to the fragile cork or bottleneck.

The two-pronged approach not only provides stability but also guarantees that each cork removal is executed flawlessly. This level of precision sets the ah-so wine opener apart from other wine openers, making it an ideal choice for anyone seeking a reliable tool to handle valuable and delicate bottles.

Best ah-so wine openers

When it comes to the best ah-so wine openers, two popular brands stand out: Monopol and Durand. While Monopol offers a classic design with reliable functionality, the Durand combines the traditional ah-so cork puller with a sturdy helix to tackle even the most stubborn corks. Each brand has its loyal following. Find out which one suits your personal preferences bellow.

Our pick: Durand

Best Old Bottle Opener
The Durand

Durand flawlessly removes compromised corks from aged or vintage wines, preventing breakage or pushing, and ensuring the cork is removed whole and intact.

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03/08/2024 07:56 am GMT

From our perspective, the Durand presents several compelling advantages when choosing a wine opener for aged wines, along with a few considerations to keep in mind.

Product Dimensions 6.38 x 4.57 x 2.17 inches
Color Metal
Material Metal
Item Weight1 8.8. ounces or 0.25 kilograms
Special Features For serious collectors, comes in a flat magnetized cork box

How to use Durand

Durand wine opener user guide and intructions
Photo credit: Durand wine opener user guide and intructions
  • Step 1: Screw the corkscrew into the center of the cork until the stabilizer bar rests against the top of the cork or bottle.
  • Step 2: With the prongs positioned on either side of the stabilizer bar, first, insert the “long” prong followed by the “short” prong between the cork and bottle.
  • Step 3: Press down alternately over each prong using the handle to work them down between the cork and bottle. Continue this “rocking” motion until the bottom of the handle rests against the top of the stabilizer bar.
  • Step 4: Hold the bottle securely and with the other hand, grasp the stabilizer bar and handle together. Twist and pull upward slowly while continuing to twist to remove the cork.
  • An additional tip for fragile corks: For very old and fragile corks, provide additional support by using your fingers near the neck of the bottle to ‘nurse’ the cork during the later stages of removal.
  • Precautions: The Durand is designed for removing older, fragile corks from bottles with an inside neck opening of approximately 3/4 inch. Do not use corks in bottles with an inside neck diameter of less than 3/4 inch.


  • Effective Cork Removal: The Durand is highly effective in removing compromised and fragile corks intact, which is crucial for preserving the integrity of older and valued wines.
  • Reliability: This device has been extensively tested on challenging corks and has consistently delivered flawless results, ensuring minimal risk of cork breakage or contamination.
  • Preservation of Wine Quality: By removing corks whole and contained, The Durand helps maintain the quality and purity of the wine, preventing unwanted outcomes such as broken corks, cork remnants in the bottle, or wine contamination.
  • Simple and User-Friendly: Despite its advanced functionality, The Durand is designed to be simple and easy to use, provided the user follows the instructions correctly.
  • Honoring Tradition: Named after Yves Durand, a respected sommelier and mentor, The Durand pays homage to the expertise and craftsmanship of wine culture.


  • Learning Curve: While The Durand is straightforward to use, there may be a slight learning curve for those unfamiliar with its operation. Users are advised to consult the provided instructions or instructional materials to ensure proper use.
  • Initial Investment: Acquiring The Durand represents an initial investment, which may be a consideration for some consumers. However, its ability to preserve valuable wines may outweigh the cost for serious collectors or enthusiasts.

Why we choose this product

Durand is our pick when it comes to opening aged wines. The Durand stands out as a reliable and effective solution for safely removing compromised corks from older and valuable wines, offering peace of mind to wine enthusiasts and collectors alike. Its ease of use and track record of success make it a preferred choice among wine experts seeking to maintain the integrity of their prized bottles.

Best runner-up: Monopol Ah-So Cork Puller

Best Runner-Up
Westmark Monopol Steel Two-Prong Cork Puller

Exceptional quality, sturdy build, and ease of use. It's a perfect gift for wine lovers, especially those who enjoy aged wines. 

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02/23/2024 04:47 pm GMT

Introducing the Westmark Monopol Ah-So Cork Puller: your go-to tool for effortlessly opening wine bottles without damaging delicate corks.

Product Dimensions 11″L x 6.5″W
Color Chrome
Material Alloy steel
Item Weight1 2.46 ounces or 0.07 kilograms
Special Features Great gift, One-year limited warranty

How to use Monopol ah-so cork puller

A man uses Monopol ah-so wine cork puller to open the wine bottle
Photo credit: Monopol Ah So Cork Puller
  • Step 1: Place the larger prong of the ah-so cork puller between the cork and the bottleneck. Slowly push it in until the shorter prong can be inserted.
  • Step 2: Rock the tool back and forth gently until both prongs are fully inserted. Twist the tool slightly to ensure a secure grip on the cork.
  • Step 3: Once properly engaged, pull the cork out of the bottle using a steady motion.
  • Step 4: To re-cork the bottle, follow the removal steps in reverse order, carefully placing the cork back into the bottle neck.
  • Practice: It may take some practice to perfect the technique for effective cork removal and re-corking.


  • Effective Cork Removal: The Westmark Monopol Ah-So Cork Puller features two hardened steel prongs that efficiently remove corks from wine bottles. This makes it particularly suitable for older, more delicate corks that might otherwise break apart using traditional corkscrews.
  • Minimal Cork Fragmentation: With its gentle rocking motion, this cork puller minimizes the risk of cork breakage, ensuring that no cork pieces end up in your wine. This is especially advantageous when dealing with aged wines with fragile corks.
  • Versatility: In addition to its primary function as a cork puller, this tool also doubles as a bottle opener, adding versatility to its utility.
  • Ergonomic Design: The die-cast metal handle of the cork puller is ergonomically designed for comfortable and easy handling, reducing strain on the user’s hand during operation.
  • Decorative Case: The product comes packaged in a beautiful gift box, making it an attractive option for gifting on various occasions.


  • Learning Curve: While the operation of the ah-so cork puller is relatively straightforward, it may require some practice to master the technique effectively. Users may need to invest time initially to perfect the method of insertion and removal.

Why we choose this product 

We chose the Monopol Edition Ah-So Cork Puller because it’s gentle on corks, keeping those older corks intact. Its versatility, ergonomic design, and attractive packaging further enhance its appeal, making it a recommended tool for both personal use and gifting purposes. However, users should be aware of the slight learning curve associated with mastering its operation. Overall, its effectiveness in cork removal and preservation makes it a valuable addition to any wine enthusiast’s toolkit.

Monopol vs Durand

As wine enthusiasts, we understand the importance of preserving the integrity of a vintage bottle, especially when it involves the delicate process of uncorking. The right tool for this job is none other than the ah-so wine opener, a must-have for any serious collector. Among the top contenders in the market are Monopol and Durand, each with their own merits. Here is the summary.

Table 1. Monopol vs. Durand

Feature Monopol Durand
Design Origin Original German design French-American collaboration
Model Recommendation Westmark Germany Steel Two-Prong Cork Puller The Durand – a two-part tool
Construction Stainless steel with thinner blades Metal alloy with a combination of corkscrew and prongs
Intended Use Ideal for older, brittle corks Designed for aged and valuable wines
Effectiveness Reduces risk of pushing cork into wine Combines a corkscrew and prongs for extra safety
User Experience Smooth operation, less force required Requires a bit more technique
Customer Satisfaction Highly rated for durability and efficiency Praised for reliability and design innovation

From our perspective, the Monopol ah-so opener stands out for its precision and user-friendly design when handling older bottles. For aged wine enthusiasts like us, it’s an investment that’s truly worthwhile, given its reputation for reliability, which has surpassed that of other brands.

Additionally, we’ve been exploring options for a more versatile solution when it comes to opening archive wines. In this quest, the Durand emerges as an excellent choice. Its finesse in handling both old and fragile corks makes it a top contender for our needs.

When selecting an ah-so wine opener, keep in mind that personal taste plays a large role in determining which brand will be your ideal match. The unique features of each one cater to different needs and preferences, so it’s essential to consider what matters most to you when uncorking your favorite aged wines.

Understanding these subtle differences can guide you toward making the perfect selection for your collection.

Choosing between Monopol and Durand comes down to personal preference and specific needs. In summary, both brands stand out for their commitment to quality and the safeguarding of your wine-opening experience. 

FAQs about ah-so wine opener

Q1. What is an ah-so wine opener?

An Ah-So wine opener, also called an ah-so cork puller, is a two-pronged device designed to remove corks from aged and vintage wine bottles without damaging them.

Q2. Why should I use an ah-so wine opener instead of a regular corkscrew?

Choose an ah-so wine opener for those delicate older wines where a typical winged corkscrew might pierce through brittle corks—this tool gently lifts the cork out, keeping it whole.

Q3. How do I use an ah-so wine opener correctly?

To work with an ah-so wine opener: first, slide its two metal prongs between the cork and bottle; then twist and pull up steadily to free the stopper with control and ease.


The Ah-So Wine Opener has secured its spot as one of the top-rated items for opening aged and vintage wines. Its two-pronged design effortlessly extracts old corks, making it a favorite among wine enthusiasts.

As wine lovers ourselves, we find joy in preserving every bit of history in each bottle opened with an Ah-So wine opener. With precision and care, older vintages get the respect they deserve while allowing us to savor their maturity uninterrupted by fallen cork pieces.

And let’s face it—watching friends marvel at this gadget’s finesse adds a little flair to our wine-drinking experience!

Experts and customer reviews consistently highlight the Ah-So Wine Opener’s ability to delicately remove corks from older bottles, solidifying its reputation as a must-have tool for aged wine connoisseurs.

In comparison tests of various corkscrew models, the Ah-So Wine Opener stood out for its effectiveness in managing delicate and fragile corks found in vintage wines. This recognition reinforces the practical benefits of incorporating this tool into your wine collection.

Explore the top-rated items and most-loved picks to see what customers say about their experience with the Ah-So wine opener. Read more to discover why wine enthusiasts are raving about this must-have tool for aged and vintage wines.

Our Expertise

Valentina Silovic is a sommelier and content creator with over a decade of experience in the wine industry.

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