July 2012 Vincabulary – Waiter’s Key

Waiter’s Key

 In 1795, the first corkscrew patent was granted to the Reverend Samuell Henshall, in England.

A standard corkscrew consists of a pointed metal helix (also called the “worm” attached to a handle.  The user twists the helix into the cork and once embedded (usually with one twist still exposed) a vertical pull extracts the cork.

A sommelier knife, waiter’s friend or wine key is a corkscrew in a folding body like a pocket knife. It was originally conceived by the German Karl Wienke in 1882 and patented in Germany, England, and America.

An arm extends to brace against the lip of the bottle for leverage when removing the cork. Some keys have two steps on the lever; can be double hinged, and often also a bottle opener. A small hinged knife blade is housed in the handle end for removing the foil wrapping the neck of many wine bottles.

One word of warning, the TSA does not allow wine keys on airplanes and now owns at least a dozen of my often forgotten, well worn waiter’s keys-NW.

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About virginiawineclub

Chairman Virginia Wine Club Tasting Panel Editor, Virginia Wine Journal
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