How to Open a Bottle of Port with a Feather

Food & Beverage
How to Open a Bottle of Port with a Feather
YouTube player

We’ve featured projects that demonstrate how to cut a wine bottle once all the wine has been poured out of it, but what about when you need to cut the neck of the wine bottle in order to bypass a deteriorating cork and access the rich, intoxicating liquid it contains?

Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn exhibits the swankiest of bottle opening techniques, in which a feather is used to break off the neck of a bottle of aged port after it’s been heated using “port tongs,” in this video from Hospitality Media.

Why would we want to do something like that? Well, with the old vintage bottles of port, maybe something that’s fifty, sixty or a hundred-years-old, what happens is that the cork over time starts to degrade, and it starts to crumble, and if we attempt to use our corkscrew on that, it’s going to fall apart. It’s going to get into the Port, and it’s going to make a bit of a mess.

Even if you don’t happen to have a pair of port tongs and a feather, like he does, he basically demonstrates the exact same process of stressing the glass using temperature changes in order for it to break evenly as is used with Ephrem’s Deluxe Bottle Cutter.

Of course, you should always take precautions if you intend to drink the liquid inside the bottle that you’ve cut, as Sayburn does in this video by pouring the port through a funnel lined with muslin to remove any glass or sediment. And if you’ve already emptied the bottle that you intend to cut, you can always take a page out of the master sommelier’s handbook and impress your audience by cutting the bottle with a feather!

[via Laughing Squid]

0 thoughts on “How to Open a Bottle of Port with a Feather

  1. Jeremy Sandlin says:

    I’m not sure that I understand the purpose of the candle. Is he using it as a light source to see through the bottle or is it purely aesthetic? Is anyone familiar with this decanting procedure?

    1. zuiquan says:

      I had this same question. Apparently it’s so you can see the sediment through the bottle and then stop pouring before it breaches the neck.

      1. Jeremy Sandlin says:

        Thanks! That was the only function that I could think of as well.

  2. RobertDurgin says:

    If you have to filter the port anyway, wouldn’t it just be faster to use a corkscrew, and not care about parts of the cork getting into the bottle?

    1. Bobwojo48 says:

      And cork will be a lot easier to filter out anyway.

    2. Mike Wascher says:

      Rotting cork can affect flavor, even after it has been filtered out. Bits o glass will not.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Artist, writer, and teacher who makes work about popular culture, technology, and traditional craft processes.

View more articles by Andrew Salomone