The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
We just never know what is going to excite the readers of The Weekly Screw. Last week we had a brief article on grapevine handle corkscrews. We were very surprised at the flood of emails this article brought. It turns out that a number of readers collect these corkscrews for their "found in nature" art and others collect them for the advertising plates. And some were vying for the world record size handle (the one above is 15" wide). Several wanted to see more so here they are!
Several readers pointed out that they have found grapevine handle corkscrews with left-hand worms. In the above photo, the two at bottom have left-hand worms (see close-up below).
A collection of advertising plate grapevine handle corkscrews
Art in nature? Someone suggested this is fire breathing dragon
Grapevine handle prong puller
Reader Ron MacLean submitted the above photo and sums up our story with "They do come in a staggering number of shapes and sizes and are found virtually everywhere. The large one with the normal flat shaft and wire helix is 19 inches across, the one on the lower left has a flat shaft as well but has a left hand wire helix with the one on the right a round shank and wire helix."
Grapevine handle corkscrews turn up frequently on Internet auctions with a wide variety of descriptions. Some are quite amusing and outlandish! To see what is available in the Internet retail market, we searched for "grapevine corkscrew" and came up with a long list. Here is a sampling.
Offered as a "French Vintners Grapevine Corkscrew" at $13.99 with this copy "This unique corkscrew is handcrafted using 50-year-old, gnarled authentic natural grapevine from Burgundy, France - the wine capital of the world. Each of these one-of-a-kind corkscrews are sure to intrigue your dinner guests and present itself as a great conversation piece. Its natural curves fit your hand comfortably and with the strong five (5) turn worm (screw) attached, opening your next bottle of wine will be a tactile and deeply satisfying experience. A great gift for wine lovers and hostesses. Men especially appreciate the rustic charm of this corkscrew."
For $6.95 you get "This unique opener features a strong 5 turn worm attached to an authentic old, gnarled Burgundian vine."
Searching French websites we find this one for 3,50: "Tire bouchon cep de vigne, long manche en bois naturel verni pour une prise facile, vis placée à gauche."
We also found a nice website for Ateliers Calaisiens located in Saint Calais, France. The firm manufactures a range of wine accessories including vine handle corkscrews which they wholesale in quantities from 250 to 100,000. Their offering is:
- A traditional product, the "vine stock" corkscrew requires a selection from the most appropriate vine stocks, those which are richest in colours, knots and varieties.
- Dried naturally for 3 years, the "vine" is machined, given an anti-parasite treatment and then varnished.
- The actual screw part meets cork manufacturers' specifications. It is thermally and chemically treated in order to guarantee resistance to torsion, traction and corrosion.
- The "vine stock" corkscrew is available in a small model (18 cm) for everyday use and in a large model (40 cm) for decoration (the large ones can be supplied in quantities of 25).
The handles of these two corkscrews are from something someone almost stepped in while walking through a farmer's cow grazing field!
©2008 Don Bull, Editor