pics113009 007My Thanksgiving dinner got pared down to three people…another friend plus her husband who recently came home from the hospital.

I prepared some food which I brought to her house and while it was heating, two of us were going to have a glass of wine.


We could not open the damn wine bottle with the plastic cork.

The first attempt broke her plastic rabbit ear corkscrew. I myself have broken several metal rabbit ear corkscrews trying to open plastic corkscrews.  For all I know this is a corkscrew conspiracy so people, chumps like me, will buy more corkscrews more often. Every bottle that has a plastic cork should have a warning label on it.

Warning: You must have the upper body strength of Jack LaLanne in order to open me.

Then she took out her restaurant version corkscrew and that didn’t work either. I was holding the bottle while she tried to do her magic and the second corkscrew wouldn’t budge.

Her husband heard us cursing and came into the kitchen to try to help.

Finally, he took out this monster corkscrew and directed us how to use it. This subversive instrument  (see photo) looks like something you might see in an operating room or under the hood of your car. From the photograph you can see that we were neither successful enough to pull the plastic cork out or to disengage it from the corkscrew.

I’m not a wine snob. I don’t care if a bottle of wine has a plastic cork or a screw top. My goal is simply to open the bottle and consume the wine. Since we were having roast chicken, I felt a pinot grigio would be the perfect pairing.

Fortunately, my friend had another bottle of wine…a bottle with a regular cork. I don’t recall the label but it was a malbec from the Mendoza region in Argentina.

I browsed around on the Web to see if only us estrogen-deprived weaklings couldn’t open the wine with a plastic cork or if others have similar challenges.  We are not alone. One commenter says, “I can’t tell you how many corkscrews I’ve trashed (up to the $50 Rabbit) because these tough old bastards refuse to be uncorked………..creating waste in a landfill near me…and endless frustration to me.”   Amen!

While there seems to be advantages to plastic corks, the inability to open the bottle and drink the wine is not one of them.

How many Trader Joe’s employees does it take to unscrew a corkscrew from a bottle with a plastic cork?

I took the bottle with the corkscrew stuck in it and these Joes behind the counter were humorless. The younger of the two tried to open it on the counter but then put it on the floor so I couldn’t see what he was doing but when he disengaged it, his normally tan face was quite flushed.

He said, “Here you go.”  Yeah, right. Like I’m going to walk around the store drinking a bottle of wine. I clarified that I bought the bottle for Thanksgiving and wanted my money back. There is never a problem returning products to Trader Joe’s.

Then I asked if there was any way to tell what kind of cork was used because I never wanted to buy wine with a plastic cork again. They said no and smarty pants said that he never had a problem opening a bottle with a plastic cork. If that’s the case, how come your face turned pink? Did I mention he had muscles and buns of steel?

I inquired as to how often this happens and they said never. I find that hard to believe.

I must remember to inquire not only about what wine to pair with what food but what material the cork is made from.

If you’re a winemaker reading this, please choose the screw top over the plastic cork because there’s a whole nation of baby boomer women who have no upper body strength but have food blogs and big mouths.

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