The Mobile “Wall-Mount” Wine Opener

Every year the WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition receives thousands of entries. My role in the process is on the backend, away from the judging and scoring . . . the illustrious job of popping corks. We pop a lot of corks each year. Some bottles are fairly easy to open while others may require several minutes and surgical-type performance in order remove a stubborn or dried-out cork.

Traditionally we’ve employed the use of Rabbit wine openers as the tool of choice to pull corks on all these bottles. But despite their lifetime guarantee, we’ve found that your standard $50 Rabbit will open somewhere in the range of 600–800 bottles and eventually wear out the pivot point on the arm, the gasket that acts as the hold, or the lever. After years of burning through dozens of Rabbit openers, we thought it time to upgrade to a wine opener designed to handle restaurant volume, a wall-mount opener. The problem was we don’t have a static wall to mount it. So I designed this mobile wall-mount wine opener.

The crux of the design is the galvanized steel pipe that is attached to a base via flange. I attached the wine opener to the steel pipe utilizing basic U-bolts that I dipped into a plasti-dip to minimize the metal-on-metal wear. I utilized a BOJ wall-mounted wine opener, which has two different width spacings for the wall-mount brackets, requiring two different sized U-bolts. For the BOJ, one U-bolt was 1 3⁄4-in. ID and the other was 2-in. ID. Both bolts were 1⁄4-in. diameter and 3-in. long but both need to be trimmed with a hacksaw in order to shorten them up. I placed plastic caps on the ends of the bolts in order to prevent cuts to hands from the sharp ends.

For the base I simply used some scrap wood collecting dust in my garage. The bottom board was actually a shelf for a cabinet that was removed. I wood glued several more pieces of varying plywood on top of the base board to create a bit of a pyramid-like design. I drilled a bunch of 2-in. wood screws in from the bottom to stabilize the structure (pre-drill holes accordingly when using wood screws). Next up was a coat of dark mahogany stain on the plywood to try as best I could to match the plywood with the base board . . . too light, but close enough for me. Next up was two coats of poly to give it a little protection from potential spilled wine, a few more wood screws to secure the flange. The finishing touch was (4) felt pads glued on each of the corners of each of the baseboards to give the base a bit more stability. And voila, mobile wine stands that can be unscrewed from the base and stored away flat in a tight space.

Now it’s time to see how they operate in the field . . .

The pieces to convert the wall-mount openers to stand-alone.
The U-bolts air drying after a dunk in plasti-dip.
The BOJ wine opener mounted to the galvanized steel pipe
Building the base with scrape plywood cut into the shape of pyramid
A quick stain and couple coats of polyurethane to protect the wood from wine
One nice feature of the BOJ opener is that once the bottle is in the neck clasp, the bottle is highly secure. This is key when trying to remove the cork from the corkscrew, as one hand needs to be on the lever while the other hand can be on the steel pipe to counter balance. This makes the task of remove the cork much easier.
Two competition ready wine openers ready to be on the move.

Footnote: After 3 years in use at the WineMaker International Amateur Winemaking Competition, I can say that without a doubt this design was a success. Each opened over 3,000 wines each and besides a few temperamental corks, they have operated flawlessly and corkscrews are still like new. I retighten the flange to the pipe connection on occasion, but that was the only maintenance required. The U-bolts have remained nice and snug the entire time.