Experts - Pulling the Cork on a 3L with Wax Capsule

What works best to cleanly pull a cork on a 3L with a wax capsule? I’ve heard you don’t need to cut off the top of the wax and can simply insert the corkscrew & pull as normal (the wax will simply pop off) - but I am leery of this on a 3L as I think the angle on the big bottle & leverage may break the cork. Please let me know what will work cleanly & best!

FWIW, its a 2002 Burgundy 1er & I usually use a normal laguiole-type opener.

Also - if the top of the wax is removed first, warm the wax, cut the wax?

Thanks much.


Go with your original plan and if the cork breaks, Ah So out the rest.

Dig in with the worm all the way to the cork, and then pull like an old school “tire bouchon” corkscrew. Works every time.

Assuming the wax capsule is relatively soft, cutting an “X” across the top of the capsule will help the capsule separate and allow the cork to come out more easily. If the wax is hard, chip or knock the wax off the top of the bottle before trying to pull the cork.

The wax will break naturally in almost a circle if you pull straight up. No need to chip or heat.

saber it.

It depends on the wax. I destroyed a Rabbit auger trying to go through one. When I showed the winery, they changed their wax program! Wax is generally pretty messy although they look nice.

Thanks all, please keep the answers coming.

Ian - have you pulled several 3L & above where your method has worked? And when you say ‘tire-bouchon’, do you mean, put the worm all the way in, and then just pull the whole corkscrew straight up (i.e., with no part of the corkscrew leveraged against the lip of the bottle) to remove the cork? Thanks in advance.

Alan - if you fedex me a back-up bottle in advance, I will saber it, and even video it if you want. I would LOVE to saber the bottle. I’m just concerned about (i) it not working, (ii) losing wine and (iii) going down in permanent family thanksgiving lore if there is a good mishap! I can handle (iii) if you cover (i) and (ii).

agree it depends on the type of wax

I usually just go straight through, but I usually just open 750mls

as for the old hard wax on Dunn, I have heard softening it up with a cigar torch works well, but me personally I have always scraped them away

with any type of wax, I always stop when the cork is partway extracted to check for wax chunks/bits around the mouth of the bottle, to wipe them away, before fully extracting the cork

I’m no expert some some people here play one online. [snort.gif] I did a 3L with a cheap auger a few weeks ago. As I started into the wax the top of it popped right off. Pulling a fat cork on a 3L with an auger is no small feat though. The corkscrew pulled right out the first try. I reinserted it crooked and finally got the cork out.

I’ve pulled several wax capped 3L, mostly by going through with the corkscrew, and never had any problem. If the wax is brittle, it’ll crack and fall away making a small mess, but generally a lot less of a mess or cleanup hassle compared to trying to remove it before pulling the cork.

Anyway, there’s nothing about the presence of wax which should make breaking the cork any more likely.

I can’t speak for 3L’s, but over the last several months (maybe a year), I’ve been using the Rabbit Ears on wax bottles (just drive the screw right thru the wax top, and then pull out). So much easier, and less of a mess. As a few have said earlier, the wax tends to break in nice pattern. I’ve stopped my other method which was cutting the wax top first (and chips flying everywhere) before using the corkscrew.

However, I should point out that these are relatively young wines (2010 or younger), so I could simply be lucky because the cork is able to handle the force of being pulled thru the wax without being torn in half. Oh, and sometimes the first glass may have a small piece of wax in it. [basic-smile.gif]