At long last, our dream has come true, freeing us from the drudgery that has oppressed so many people over the past 500 years or so — namely, having to use our hands to open a bottle of wine.

Yes, the electric corkscrew is here, and just in the nick of time for that fabulous New Year’s Eve party you’re throwing.

Not just one high-tech cork-puller is offered, but an entire bazaar of wine-opening gizmos is available from such enterprising purveyors of completely unnecessary convenience as Epicureanist, Metrokane, Oster, Ozeri, Waring, and Wine Enthusiast. New York Times writer William Grimes describes the devices as “sublime pointlessness.”

He has a point there, since popping a cork isn’t one of life’s great burdens. Especially when beaucoup super-cheap, super-simple extractors have long existed. These manual tools are not merely low-tech, they’re no-tech. Even drunk people can use them.

But where’s the pizzazz in those? As Grimes describes the zippy, battery-powered cork gadgets, one places the cylindrical device atop a wine bottle’s cork, presses a button and, “with a hum or a whir, the corkscrew spiral, known as a worm, insinuates itself into the cork, easing it upward and out of the bottle.”

This is showbiz, baby — and one-upsmanship, too, since you’re quietly saying to bedazzled guests: “Hey, I’ve got one of these and you don’t!”



However, if you want to counter such smugness, here’s a free tip: Many good wines now come with twist-off screw caps, so bring one of those, and you’ll be sipping your fruit-of-the-vine while electronic-man is still trying to position his worm.

Does anyone really need this stuff? Of course not — zillions of them will end up in landfills in a year’s time. To wean yourself and others from such excess, check out Annie Leonard’s website:

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

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