No Corkscrew? Opening a Wine Bottle With a Shoe.

Have a bottle of wine but no corkscrew? No problem. It’s probably a twist off cap.  But if it isn’t … here’s how to open a wine bottle with a shoe and a tree trunk. Kind of.


There you are. Sitting in the middle of the woods all alone, with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and no corkscrew. What’s a gal to do? How do you open a wine bottle without a corkscrew?

According to the Internet you just grab yourself a shoe, head to the nearest tree and start whacking. In no time that cork will pop out and you’ll be relaxing on a bed of pine needles with your forest friends as you drink your way to being the life of the party, great dancer, deep thinker that you and you alone think you are when you’re obliterated.

The Internet is a big, fat liar. This has kind of been the mantra behind everything I do on The Art of Doing Stuff from day 1. I try to present practical information that I have first hand experience with. If things don’t work I tell you.  Like magnetic eyelashes. Which technically work, but instead of making you appear sexy and flirtatious give the impression that you have in fact gone mad. You can see me experimenting with magnetic lashes and looking like a lunatic here.

So in 2010, in the early years of this blog I was alerted to a Youtube video that showcased a rather distinguished French gentleman dressed in his fancy dress up clothes, with his fancy accent, standing  beside his fancy car.  Mr. Fancy Pants then proceeded to show how we can easily and in quite a poised manner, open a bottle of wine by sticking it in a shoe and smashing it against a tree.

This I assumed was for people who had recently stolen a bottle of wine and didn’t have time to steal a corkscrew as well.   I suppose perhaps, it could also be for the people who are on their 3rd or 4th bottle of wine and just can’t identify a corkscrew anymore.

Either way, I was fascinated with this video.  The ease!  The quickness!  The grace with which one can open a bottle of wine with a stinky old shoe and a dirty, bug filled tree astonished me.

I am usually only astonished by lies.  (Hey Karen … you look GREAT in those culottes!   Hey Karen …  I honestly think spider veins are kindda sexy)  That sort of thing.

So this got me to thinking.  I wonder if this video is a lie?  Could it really be this easy?  Could I really look this distinguished while trying to open a bottle of wine on a tree trunk?  I certainly hoped so.  Because this would be the best party trick in the world, second only to dangling a teaspoon off the end of your nose.

I gave it a shot, and here’s how it went.

How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew


No Corkscrew? Opening a Wine Bottle With a Shoe.

No Corkscrew? Opening a Wine Bottle With a Shoe.

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: I mean, it's ridiculous.
Estimated Cost: $0

You have a wine bottle with a cork but no corkscrew. If you have a shoe and a tree, you might, MIGHT be able to open it.


  • Shoe
  • Wine bottle
  • Tree
  • Luck


  1. Place your bottle of wine with the base inside a hard soled, or sturdy shoe.
  2. Start whacking the heel of the shoe against a hard object like a tree trunk.
  3. Just keep doing that and checking the cork. At some point (maybe in 1 minute, maybe in 12 hours) the cork will slowly start to push out from the jarring pressure.
  4. Pull cork out once enough has popped out and enjoy your wine plus an extra glass because you've just burned 1,200 calories. You deserve it.

Conclusion:  You literally need to manhandle the bottle of wine for this to work.  It does not knock out with a few quick smacks on the tree as it did in the original Youtube video (which has long since been removed from Youtube).  I’m not sure I ever could have dislodged the cork on my own.

For one thing, there’s the underlying terror that the bottle is going to explode into razor like projectiles of glass.  Which, although entertaining for a YouTube video or a Wile E Coyote cartoon … is not nearly as amusing in real life.

If you’re alone and trying to open this bottle of wine I suggest you run the streets looking for someone to help you. Someone with enormous strength or anger issues. 

Your best options would be Godzilla or a woman who was recently criticized for her spider veins.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←


No Corkscrew? Opening a Wine Bottle With a Shoe.


  1. schooler schooler classic hi says:

    This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Thank
    you! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    Here is my web-site; schooler schooler classic hi

  2. sarah says:

    I realize how old this is, but I saw the same trick on a rerun of Modern Family recently and it got me thinking about it. Just wondering, did you chill the bottle of wine beforehand? I noticed Mr. Fancy Pants used red wine, and they also used red in Modern Family. If your bottle of white was chilled, it could have affected how well this works!

  3. Kelli says:

    I would’ve given up long before that!

  4. Kris @bevmo says:

    You are hilarious. We’re so glad it finally opened. We were about to put a wine opener in the mail.


  5. Marti says:

    These links that you post on updated blogs are so useful. Thanks. Sucked up 8 minutes of government-paid work time this morning.

    And so useful… for a non-drinker. Ha!

  6. Kerry says:

    Well, that was hilarious! Just ran across your blog today (while looking for skillet seasoning directions), and will be spending some time perusing your past posts. Thanks for the entertainment!

    BTW, speaking of wine, did you know that you can float wine glasses in a pool when filled about 1/2 full of wine? Pretty cool, and can be romantic to swim around with a special someone with wine glasses floating around ready to enjoy whenever you want. The stemmed versions are a bit more stable, but the unstemmed versions work, as well. Just makin’ my contribution…

    • Karen says:

      Kerry. Well thank you! And no, I did NOT know that about wine glasses. Very interesting! Welcome to my site! ~ karen

  7. Bonnie says:

    I love learning survival skills like this one. Now I am reassured that if I am ever caught in a desperate life or death situation with a nice pinot noir and no corkscrew, I could make it out alive, or not care if I made it out alive. With the strict travel regulations that don’t allow gals with corkscrews in their purses to board airplanes, information like this is very important. One question, if caught in that life or death situation, it is unlikely I would have a wine glass. Do I use the shoe? That might destroy the delicate flavors of the wine… I’ll look for a post on this, and how to find truffles under the tree to go with the wine…

  8. Kasey says:

    Just stumbled across your blog today and I am LOVING it! I started with your video of how to light charcoal and could not stop giggling. After that I just began watching all your videos. I have loved every single one. You girl are hilarious! I have loved the videos and every blog entry I have read thus far. Thanks!

  9. Lisa says:

    Lmao! I found my way here via a Pinterest post about your glowing orb lights & I’m so happy I did. This video just made my day. :) You guys crack me up & this is so something my mom & I would try.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Lisa! We did it again at a pool party she had last summer. All her old friends drunk on wine trying to smash a wine bottle on a tree. When I said it wasn’t going to work, one of them said “Oh that’s O.K.” and pulled a corkscrew out of her purse! ~ k

  10. janey says:

    lmao!! you guys are nuts (in a really fun way). wow.

  11. Liz says:

    Hysterical! Personally I prefer your video – much more entertaining!

  12. pat says:

    Nice work Karen. Is he wine chilled? The botttle looks frosty. Or is it all that shakin’ goin’ on?

  13. Rachel says:

    I’m thinking they cut a lot of the smacks against the tree out of the Mr. Fancy Pants video. Oh the ease of opening your wine with “only the bottle and your shoe.”

    • Karen says:

      Rachel – Yes, the video has definitely been edited to make it appear a little more “boom, boom, boom, wine!”. ~ karen

  14. Jenn says:

    Okay, that was my first viewing.

    One – you’re not already imbibing before you start this? Oh, my, you have more fun than me!

    Two – you don’t even like wine.

  15. Susan says:

    Ah Ha! Notice at 40 and 41 seconds into His video, there was a cut in it to a close up. THERE’S where there were 151 whacks in between.
    I just adore you and it was fun to see you “in person”. Thank you for keeping this blog and me knowing I’m not the only one who has some of the same conversations in my head. <3 S.

  16. Lou Cinda says:

    Oh Em Gee!! I had not seen this before…SO I had to watch it THREE times!! So funny!!! Your mother!! Hysterical!! I am going to try this! For real! I don’t feel good about it…..keep you posted!

    Lou Cinda ;)

    OH! And enjoy your Canadian holiday….while I am at work….on a non-holiday here…. :(

  17. Jess says:

    I found your blog through the Nester, I love it here. :) I can’t watch videos on my work computer so I actually searched for this video on youtube on my iPhone while I was sitting at my desk… so glad I did.. it was hilarious! I watched a couple others just to see how “easy” it was supposed to look, and I agree, the French guy totally edited. I’d like to try it, but the only big tree I have is in the front yard… wonder what the neighbors will think? hahaha

  18. Rhonda Nesin says:

    OK, after watching the YouTubes recommended above, I did a search on the champagne thing, and now realize that sabering champagne must be pretty widely known – sorry for that.

    But, if you haven’t seen it before, this is a pretty good video:

    Watch some where they whack the neck of the bottle instead of running the knife along the seam, and they ruin it every time.

  19. Rhonda Nesin says:

    Even seeing the little pic next to the link for this on your Steven and Chris post made me laugh in remembrance.

    Last time I read this post, I wanted to ask if you knew how to Bonsai a champagne bottle – which is way more spectacular than the shoe/wine thing, and much more predictable. No worries, small trees are not harmed. (Can’t remember why I didn’t post that time. I think I just wimped out.)

    Take the back edge of a butcher knife, i.e. the not-sharp edge, and run it along the ‘seam’ of the champagne bottle in one long, fluid, committed motion. No extreme force necessary, but you have to mean it. When the knife blade meets the rim of the bottle, the entire top of the bottle flies off in a clean break! You will lose a little bubbly, but who cares?

    Practice with Andre first, or your choice of cheap champagne.

  20. Lisa says:

    This is the funniest thing I have seen in a LONG time. I’m sitting at the kitchen table laughing. I made my boyfriend watch it just so I can see it again. You just gotta whack it like you want it!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Lisa! Maybe that was the problem. I really *didn’t* want it. Had it been a Diet Coke, that thing would have been opened in a heartbeat. ~ karen

  21. Laura says:

    Just came across your blog from a friend’s rec – HILARIOUS! There aren’t too many trees in NYC to try this on, but maybe I will make “being able to open a bottle of wine in six smacks” my new workout goal. Motivation!

  22. Alyssa says:

    Scenario: 11:00pm, first night of weekend long family reunion, commonly refered to as the “Stand’n’Drink.” 12 bottles of wine and no corkscrew. (The point isn’t so much the quantity of wine present as the fact that someone managed to pack that much and not bring anything to open it with…) After a long day of travelling, sitting in construction zones, losing cell phones, getting lost, and “cloud bursting” (The Men who stare at Goats, anyone?) so we wouldn’t have to tent in the rain… it was time for a sangria “nightcap.” And no 24hr place closer than 30 minutes away, requiring an hour wait.
    Experiment: Is it possible to remove a cork from a wine bottle with a tree and a shoe?
    Conclusion: Yes. Most emphatically yes. In fact, we liked it so much, we did it again the next night. (Read, we all mananaged to forget to stop and buy a stupid corkscrew between the multiple trips to nearby stores.) It took my Uncle 20 whacks… and my sister’s boyfriend did it too. But not in 6. Reading your blog made the whole weekend that much more enjoyable. Thanks.

  23. Astex says:

    Seems to be an Illinois commercial ?
    Would need to let the wine cool down after you open the bottle.

  24. Andy says:

    You were doing it in the wrong order. You needed to drink some first and then try. Here’s another demonstration from someone who is clearly a seasoned vet!

  25. Schmidty - Man Vs. Style says:

    I think Ill just stick to using a cork screw.

    Although a lot of wine nowa days have twist tops to avoid the wine becoming corked years down the track (i.e. no waste in years to come)

  26. Mary Hagenston says:

    Just to rub it in a bit, here is a short similar video a friend sent me that makes it seem soooo easy! Take a peek and see if you are inspired to try it again, as we all need another good laugh!

  27. Tori says:

    Karen you are hilarious and since yesterday I’m now addicted to your blog!!! Thanks to Design Sponge, you’re my new regular dose of entertainment! Thank you! :-)

  28. Meg says:

    I’m not even sure how I came upon this website, but that video was simply hilarious. You’re amazing!

  29. Shannon S. says:

    That is absolutely hilarious!

  30. Steve G says:

    Very entertaining. I notice that you tried to open the bottle with the foil on but “Mr Fancy Pants” removed the foil completely before “smacking the tree”. It’s hard to tell from the video if you trimmed the end or not. I wonder if that is what made the difference.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Steve. No … I didn’t try to open the bottle with the foil on. It was off. So that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that people put things in commercials, or on television or on the Internet making things look easier/better than they are. The magic of editing as they say. THAT’s the true difference between his video and mine. :)

  31. Beth says:

    SO funny!! I’ll be smiling all day thinking about this.

  32. Ann Marie says:

    That was entertaining. Thanks!

  33. Shauna Wobeser says:

    OMG…ahhhh, deep breath!! My 7 yr old has come out twice during this video to tell me that I am laughing too loud for him to sleep!! Well great! Now what, I was going to try this at work this weekend in hopes of a big tip…so much for that!! I guess I will just do what all the other girls do and resort to a low cut shirt!! jk Thanks for the fun Karen!!

  34. Yvonne says:

    An absolute laugh riot, Karen! I love your blog. Have to admit though that I’m a bit of a skeptic re – the original video – the camera cuts away, then suddenly he comes back with the cork at the end of the bottle for him to remove by hand. At that point, look closely, I would say that he has an empty bottle in his hand as he lifts it to drink. I think it took him more than 6 whacks – if I ever have a bottle and a handy tree I’m going to try it.
    By the way, you have gone International, I forwarded your post to my sister in Scotland,as a ‘must read” – daily giggle. cheers

  35. Erica J. says:

    I like you! You’re fun! I should stop reading/watching your videos where there are other people who aren’t watching/reading with me. I look and sound a bit crazy laughing and saying “no way…” Yogurt tampon followed with a glass of wine sitting watching birds in my homemade bird bath wondering how long it will take for my tree to recover from it’s recent beating.

  36. Megan says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I had to comment- you are amazing.
    Thank you for testing out the validity of this- I want to figure out how to make this a party trick – if I can figure out how to do it quickly.

    • Karen says:

      Megan! Thanks for supporting my blog. (by reading it … not monetarily. You haven’t sent me money have you? Did you send me money? A cheque maybe?) If you want to figure out how to turn this into a party trick I would suggest you start by increasing the size of your biceps by blowing into your thumb.

  37. j. says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like a Mrs. Fancy Pants or anything. ;)

  38. Tessa says:

    Karen- you’re blog makes me laugh everyday, this one had me crying. Commentary from all, including Mom Betty = priceless.

    • Karen says:

      Tessa! Thanks for letting me know I’ve made ya laugh. Sitting here at home, I have no idea what people’s reaction is unless they comment. I’m glad to know people aren’t just staring blankly at the screen thinking “what the hell” … this chic’s dull.

  39. Phyllis says:

    That was stinkin’ funny. Thanks for the laugh – what a great way to start the day.

    I want to try it now, but it’s early morning and I don’t have any wine.

  40. amy says:

    a well deserved “salut” – and your mom is too much!

  41. Meghan says:

    Your mom is a hoot! All that work to get the cork out and she say, “Oh, I don’t want wine. It’s not happy hour yet.” Any hour is happy hour when you bust a cork out of a bottle with nothing but a tree. LOL!

  42. Jenna says:

    #&*(@Q. I am laughing so hard inside! lololol. At work, trying to keep it inside. Clearly, Mr. Fancy pants edited the crap out of his video. You should do an edited version too. Just the first and last tap – and the cork is popped.

    Good work!

    • Karen says:

      Jenna, OMG you’re right!! I should have done a super-edited version. Boom, boom, WINE! Maybe I’ll still do it. Just for fun! – karen

  43. Robert says:

    I can’t stop laughing, you made my day! :)

  44. Langela says:

    Your mother cracks me up! I don’t drink so there’s no need for me to try this, but I did wonder how many times your fella would have had to hit it to get it to open. I love these experiments that don’t go quite as planned. Very funny!

    • Karen says:

      Langela! I’m not what you’d call a drinker but I HAD to try this. Maybe I’ll become a drinker. Drinker’s always look like they’re having so much fun. Until they throw up or pee themselves.

      • Langela says:

        No need to start drinking. I think you have plenty of fun sober. Since you aren’t afraid of doing things that might seem wacky, as a drunk you’d probably just sit there and mumble incoherently about someone’s shoes.

        • Karen says:

          Pftt. You’re probably right. Better than yelling at someone’s shoes I suppose. – karen

  45. Susan says:

    Okay, in the spirit of comparing apples to apples, I think a red wine (room temp) with a true cork cork might have come out sooner. Also I believe the man’s shoe with a hard heel was key. That said, a girl should always have a little corkscrew in her purse which can be useful in many situations. Thank you for the funny video complete with family cameos.

  46. j. says:

    I think the major difference between your cork success and the original is the cork itself. I’ve probably opened hundreds of bottles of wine (I managed a fine restaurant years ago) and when they began bottling wine with those plastic-type corks, presentation became a pain in the ass. The original CORK corks were softer, oh! And I believe the original tight ass guy was opening a Bordeaux, which is a red, which makes the cork even softer!

    In hindsight, I think you should try your experiment again with a bottle of red wine that has an actual cork stopper.

    But thank you for the entertainment and I LOVE your blog!!!

    • Karen says:

      J. Yes. .. Um … i won’t be doing this again. Mr. Fancy Pants inferred this could be done with any wine, PLUS for the most part, most women drink white wine. Nope. No more bashing my tree for the sake of wine! :)

    • Hannah says:

      I tried this last night. Well my roommate and I did. He’s got a physics degree and currently teaches science, and thought it would be cool to test out. We used the concrete retaining wall outside the apartment as no large enough trees were around. All I can say is, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MEN’S DRESS SHOE FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH MALBEC, BECAUSE I HAVE!??! Funniest thing ever. The bottle totally smashed after a few hits. We did manage to move the cork a little bit, and nobody was severely injured in the process. The bottle didn’t just crack on the bottom, it shattered really weirdly up the side. Anyway, the snow outside is a lovely wine color, and I owe Brian a new pair of shoes. Luckily it was only a cheap bottle, and we had more on hand for drinking. I have a hunch that the wine being so cheap contributed to it’s breaking.
      Regardless of our fruitless endeavor, laughs were had, and I suppose that’s what counts.
      Great blog, keeps a smile on my face.

  47. Lori says:

    Hahahahaha!!!! I love it. I posted that video on my blog last week and have been going around telling everyone about this fabulous way to open a wine bottle.

    BTW, your video, by far, is more entertaining than the stuffy french man. :)

  48. Liz says:

    How bizarre! I was just looking at a video of this on youtube the other day.

    I wasn’t nearly as sceptical as you. I was all filled with the bright light of optimism and hope that one day, when caught at a party with a bottle of wine and no corkscrew in the household, that i would be able to pull this off as a party trick.

    I’m glad you’ve spared me the embarrassment.

    • Karen says:

      That is bizarre. It’s like we’re psychically linked. Do you think we’re psychically linked?

      • Liz says:

        Definitely. I hear your thoughts all the time.

        You should definitely start wearing a tin foil hat because there are some things i just don’t need to hear…

  49. Sandra Neights says:

    oh darn i’m gonna have to try that now!

    • Karen says:

      You might want to do a little training first. Push ups, pulls ups, shotput … that sort of thing. :) – karen

  50. Lynn says:

    How that poor tree suffered for your wine! LOL

    • Jacqui says:

      ohh!! as a science teacher i think this needs some investigation.. what about hammering on the wall.. or the ground? a fence post? Does cold wine v warm red make a difference?

      of course i’d have to drink the wine after it was opened or it would be a waste…

      *trots off to the shop*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *