Last night I had a horrible dream – or to be more precise, a nightmare. I was in a rented house in the middle of nowhere, and had just returned from a long trek with ravenous hunger pains and keen anticipation of the meal I was going to prepare with the food with which I had filled the cupboards and fridge.

When I tried to open the fridge, however, the door wouldn’t budge. And it was just as impossible to open any of the cupboards. Since leaving the house, all of them had mysteriously grown keyholes. I looked around for a key but couldn’t find one anywhere, so I phoned the owner of the house who was completely unsympathetic. “Didn’t you bring a kitchenkey with you? I thought everyone carries one of those.”

I awoke feeling hungry and frustrated and suddenly remembered where the seeds of the dream must have been sown. Yesterday evening, after a day when the temperature hit 37 degrees, we all felt like a glass of cold rose, but this being south-west France, every one of the bottles in the fridge was sealed with some kind of real or artificial cork. And, of course, gremlins had hidden all three corkscrews that should have been in the drawer. After a long, increasingly thirsty and frustrating search, we found one…

So, here’s my question: why would anyone lock a fridge? Or make people use a tool to get at a glass of refreshing, well-chilled wine?


After a note from Fabio (below) I have added the following pair of video clips which may be of use to anyone in the position I was in.


  1. I thought everyone knew how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe, whether in emergencies like the one you describe, to make a fool of yourself in front of your friends, or in a desperate attempt to pick up women! I mean, come on, shoes, wine bottles and women have been around for at least 80,000 years, so don't give us that lame old “couldn't find a corkscrew” excuse!!!

  2. Thanks Fabio. Actually I do know the shoe – or wall – trick, as well as the one that involves the use of a biro pen, but I'm not sure that most normal consumers are a) familiar with these or b) looking to learn them. But, I'm posting links to appropriate videos here. Do wach both.

  3. There is also the toothbrush method (similar to the biro) and the classic “wood screw + screwdriver + pliers” technique. And, of course, if you had remembered to bring your Port tongs . . .

  4. All part of the glorious “we hate you, the consumer” philosophy (I love the thought of wine producers wetting themselves with laughter over the difficulty corkscrew-deprived people have to access their product…)

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