Birambeau of Paris, France has produced a nice lightweight waiter's friend using synthetic resin. The corkscrew folds up into a neat little package with the point of the worm well protected by the handle. A steel hook is cast into the top of the handle for bottle cap removal. The fully cut nail slot in the knife / foil cutter makes lifting it for use an easy task. The fine wire worm is easily driven into the cork. When the neckstand is place on the bottle neck, the ergonomically designed handle is comfortably raised for full extraction of the cork. The "Sommelier" retails for FF45.
Both of Birambeau's double levers offer wide handle levers which the company calls "User-friendly levers." The model on the left has a built-in foil cutter near the top of the frame and the 42mm central column enables pulling of long corks without breakage. It also has coated worm for easy penetration. The less expensive model on the right does not have a foil cutter or coated worm but has the same wide handle levers. Both have a cap lifter in the top. At FF59, the first model is a better choice. The other model is available with a clear frame in case you want to view all the action!
The "Tire Bouchon Ariane" is bargain priced at FF69. There is a built-in foil cutter at the base of the high-impact resin frame. Once the foil is removed, the collar is placed over the neck of the bottle and a two finger twist will easily drive the fine coated worm into the cork. Continous turning will extract the cork into the frame. The cork is removed by unscrewing the handle and then tapping the cork out of the frame with the worm tip. Unfortunately, this last action could over time cause some distortion in the worm but overall the corkscrew would be a faithful friend for many wine openings.
Birambeau corkscrews are blistered packed for convenient, visible display in retail stores.Donald A. Bull, Corkmaster
The Virtual Corkscrew Museum
October 30, 2000
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©2000 Donald A. Bull