Monday, August 9, 2010

Torkscrew Can't Pop This Lady's Top… #CorkscrewFail

Wine gadgets… they're everywhere. If they’re good, they gain momentum and take off like the Rabbit. If they’re not so good, they flounder like, well, a flounder. With that in mind, I present the Torkscrew—designed to make all of your bottle opening woes come to an end. One device for every bottle (beer, champagne, cork and screw cap wine)… or so I thought. I guess sometimes things just can’t live up to the expectation. I was recently gifted a nifty Torkscrew, and though I wish I was writing about a revolutionary new bottle opener, I’m blogging about a sad lack of performance instead.

With the growing trend in wines finished with the Stelvin screw cap closure, and particularly with how resistant consumers and restaurants remain to this non-traditional closure, the Torkscrew supposedly bridges this gap. Yes, we all know how awkward it can be presenting or receiving a bottle of screw capped wine at an expensive restaurant. The Torkscrew was originally invented with this very problem in mind. Though the thought of a sommelier, wine concierge or waiter pulling out a device to open a bottle that could be opened with their hands probably doesn’t really help matters much. A screw cap is still just a screw cap and will always be just a screw cap. Either we get past it or we don’t (topic for another discussion), but still, hoping a silly little gadget could make a difference, I gave it the old college try.

My first challenge for the Torkscrew was using the corkscrew end to open a traditional cork closure. It actually required a great amount of effort to remove the cork. I prefer my simple double-lever corkscrew and wouldn’t likely use this device again as a regular corkscrew (R&D advice: It would probably help if the top was shaped more like a fulcrum, the round shape actually made it difficult to grip and turn).

My next test was to open a Stelvin screw cap bottle. The original argument behind the Torkscrew’s use is to preserve the presentation process in the restaurant when delivering a bottle of screw cap wine. I’m not sure how the presentation process can be preserved when I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to open the damn screw cap bottle. Frustration ensued, and got the better of me (I used my hands), but I enjoyed my wine… no thanks to the Torkscrew.

I tweeted @Torkscrew expressing my frustration and my desire to blog about the fact I couldn’t open a screw cap wine bottle with their device, and they just directed me to their demonstration video, where the inventor makes it look so easy. I watched her video and then gave the tempting Torkscrew another chance with another Stelvin closure on a different kind of bottle… reaching the same frustrating result. I couldn’t open the bottle using the handy dandy little tool and had to use my own handy dandy hands to do so instead… what a surprise.

Using a device to open a bottle you can open with your hand makes perfect sense though, if you also agree that a tool should be invented for opening doorknobs. Though I hoped it would be more like a fork, a utensil that makes the process cleaner, smoother and easier… instead it just made the whole process comical (not in itself a bad thing, if you’re purchasing the Torkscrew as a gag or source of humor).

Feeling on a bit of a mission though, as if I don’t have enough missions going on, I decided to open a bottle of bubbles I had in sitting the fridge. According to the Torkscrew demonstration, the inventor makes that look easy breezy too. It could have been the saving grace for the device, because even after countless years of fearing black eyes, I still pass the job of popping a champagne cork off (just like pumping gas) to the nearest man around. Alas, the Torkscrew let me down again and now I’ll have to call a man to open that bottle of bubbles that’s teasing me with its svelte-shaped bottle, dripping wet with condensation and her impenetrable closure.

Torkscrew… I so wanted to believe in you, with your clever idea and all your cute colors. And while I hate to give a negative review and I’d like to say you’ll be sipping with me again in the future, I’m afraid you’ll more likely be seeing the aisles of my local Goodwill store instead and will hopefully fulfill someone else’s desires. So, until we sip again…



Joe said...

"Line expansion" has often been regarded one of the greatest follies in marketing. Sometimes, specialization trumps the "one-stop shop".

Dallas Wine Chick said...

While I am old school on how I open my champagne (and didn't try that), I didn't have the same issues that you did with the TorkScrew. My favorite use was for the screwtops.