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In Search of Vintage Corkscrews, a Collector’s Favourite

For oenophiles, wine collectors and sommelier enthusiasts, an antique corkscrew is a source of great emotion. L’Atelier du Vin showcases vintage corkscrews from all over Europe, much to the delight of helixophiles. In each collector’s corkscrew set, discover unique opening tools from different time periods, sought out by our passionate experts, alongside our contemporary creations.

Vintage Corkscrews, a Priceless Treasure for Helixophiles

Nothing compares to the old charm of a vintage corkscrew. As you are about to taste a fine vintage from your personal collection, imagine opening the bottle with an antique wine tool in perfect condition. The oenological journey through time begins…

Each Antique Corkscrew is Unique

Like any good vintage wine, corkscrews evolve and mature over the years. Time works its magic, erasing and renewing forms, so much so that some of yesterday’s wine tools gradually sink into oblivion. Old bottle openers in a cellar or attic thus become rarer and more valuable. One, two or three generations later, and a common table utensil becomes a collectible corkscrew, fascinatingly different from today’s accessories. Why is an old wine tool so different from a contemporary one? Vintage corkscrews are imbued with history. Their personality has been shaped by time, experience, and life. They have that incomparable je-ne-sais-quoi that new pieces only acquire after many years, no matter how beautiful and ingenious they may be.

Une infinité de mécanismes et de formes

Helixophiles see a vintage corkscrew as a work of art. They analyse and appreciate its shape, mechanism, colours, and ergonomics down to the smallest detail. Each model enfolds the memory of an era, of an ancient art-de-vivre, resurrected with each opening of a bottle. From vintage corkscrews to contemporary bottle openers, there are so many different opening mechanisms in the world, that you can read about in our guide How to choose a corkscrew. Each extraction system bears its own qualities and is adapted to certain situation rather than others. The brute force of the T-style corkscrew may appeal to some for its simplicity, but can lack the delicacy required for older, more fragile corks. Others may prefer the finesse and effortlessness of the endless screw. The lever corkscrew is impressive for its efficiency and reliability, whereas its double-lever counterpart, otherwise known as the “de Gaulle”, is hugely popular and brings families together round the dinner table. The sommelier corkscrew is discreet and professional, operated behind the thick curtains of a Michelin-starred restaurant, while the waiter’s friend opens bottles in cafés. Finally, the cordless electric corkscrew revolutionised bottle opening, by fully automating extraction and minimising the need for human intervention. These are the main mechanisms available today that, for the most part, have withstood the test of time. There are others, of course, that are desperately sought after by collectors. A former extraction system, an inventor’s prototype, a rare and atypical wine tool… These are just some of the things that helixophiles look for in a vintage corkscrew. Amongst such forgotten wine tools, is the concertina corkscrew, which unfolds like an accordion when extracted, or the pantograph corkscrew, whose worm is hidden beneath an articulated diamond frame. You may also come across the propeller or spring corkscrew, and maybe even a corkscrew with a worm cover, a folding T-shape, or in a bell. And if you’re lucky, you may even encounter an English corkscrew with a brush, dating back to the early 19th century!

The Vintage Bilame Corkscrew, an Original Creation by L’Atelier du Vin

Since 1926, we have been designing unique wine tools, such as our Bilame twin-blade corkscrew, patented by L’Atelier du Vin (formerly Sanbri) in 1949, and produced in the millions. Its mechanism is unlike any other. Renowned amongst expert sommeliers and experienced oenologists, it is one of the only corkscrews that can extract and reinsert a cork without piercing it. This magic trick was particularly appreciated by the waiters of yesteryear, who would secretly use it to taste wine without leaving a trace! A must-have in any collection of wine tools and accessories, this vintage corkscrew has stood the test of time through its unique design. The twin-blade is particularly recommended for extracting old and fragile corks that a worm could cause to crumble. Indeed, its two fine blades slip between the cork and the glass, gripping the cork and sliding it upwards in a circular motion.

L’Atelier du Vin Presents Antique Corkscrews from all over Europe

In addition to the wine tools we design and perfect each year, our passionate team is always on the look-out in Europe for antique, and sometimes very rare, collectibles and vintage corkscrews to share with the collectors community. Since 1926, we have built a strong relationship with our oenophile friends, winemakers, sommeliers, oenologists, wine merchants, restaurateurs, collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals. This vast network of connoisseurs gives us access to antique corkscrews that are impossible or very difficult to find in shops. An original opening mechanism, an atypical shape, exceptional materials, an inventor’s signature, handcrafted items, rare patents… These are just some of the details that set a vintage corkscrew apart from the rest. Each of our antique collectible corkscrews are therefore unique pieces that we carefully restore before adding them to our collector’s corkscrew sets.

Our Collector’s Corkscrew Sets: When the Old Meets the New

Each of our collectible corkscrew sets are designed for collectors, wine lovers and fine tool enthusiasts, paying tribute to your passion and attention to detail. With this in mind, we decided to bring our contemporary creations and antique corkscrews together in each of our bottle opening sets. Le Collectionneur 1 is a collector’s corkscrew set. Inside the walnut-framed display case lie 3 unique antique corkscrews, alongside 3 of our modern wine tools (the chromed twin-bladed Bilame, the Garçon ! waiter’s friend, and the Oeno Motion Wood & Chrome lever corkscrew), accompanied by a foil cutter and a champagne cork opener. This little cabinet of curiosities also includes information about each authentic model and a corkscrew notebook, in which to document your comments, experiences, technical notes, maintenance logs or oenological inspirations. Le Collectionneur 2 is more compact and displays a single pair of corkscrews: 1 new and 1 old. It also includes the foil cutter and champagne cork opener, as well as a description of each wine tool and your helixophile notebook. Each of our collector’s sets are therefore one-of-a-kind and customisable, because each collector, each individual whose initials are engraved, is unique. For custom selections, please contact us directly so that we can discuss your request together!