Wine bottle opener opportunity

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Executive summary

Continuing where we left off from Report 1, in which we dissected in lever arm corkscrew, we looked into ways in which to improve the bottle opening process. In order to do this, we first needed to study all aspects of the market. This includes identifying the type of people who open wine bottles and the situations in which they open bottles, such as a waiter at a restaurant or an individual opening a bottle at home for personal use.

The market research was conducted in the following ways. We went to a few restaurants and interviewed some of the waiters and patrons. We asked them several questions about the products they use, why they use them, what problems they face, and what features they look or could be improved upon. It was interesting to find that most of them use a sommelier knife also known as a waiter’s friend (the name seems appropriate) even though they believe it is not the easiest device to use, or the most efficient way of opening a bottle. In order to collect information about low frequency users such as individual owners, we designed and distributed an online survey and posted it on social media. The results of this survey also indicated that people commonly use a sommelier knife and a winged corkscrew in their homes. Being low frequency users (only one person surveyed admitted to opening more than 15 bottles of wine in a month but he/she works at a restaurant), these individuals prefer compact wine openers that can be stored out of sight in a kitchen drawer and used occasionally. The problems they identified with existing openers were very similar to the problems highlighted by high frequency users (bars and restaurants). Most of the complaints were about the high chance of damaging or breaking the cork when using simple openers. When describing their experiences with more complex openers such as the lever arm corkscrew, their primary concern was that the device was not very easy to understand and use. We then spoke to wineries in California that are high frequency users and have the ability to purchase more expensive and intricate openers. They too reported that the sommelier knife was their most popularly used opener. Finally, we looked at user reviews of existing products on the internet to collect more information about the problems people face. We believe our research covered most areas of the current market for openers, and is a good representation of a sample population.

This research was used to structure our brainstorming sessions. We spent time thinking about the different users we identified, and generated ideas based on what they would like to see in an opener. The users we focused on are bars and restaurants, wineries, high volume users, low volume users and elderly people. We also developed some ideas that are not necessarily wine openers, such as designing a cork that doesn’t break as easily, corks that are not cylindrical, and bottles that can make the opening process easier. In generating ideas, we also kept in mind that most users will re-cork a bottle in order to preserve the wine, in the event that it is not finished in one sitting.

The 5 designs we picked from the 100 or so ideas generated are: a spring loaded “shelf” that picks up the cork from below, a grappling hook that deploys in the cork to pull it out, a foldable handheld lever arm corkscrew that waiters can place in their aprons, a clamp and twist corkscrew that improves upon the wing corkscrew, and a lever arm that has a rubber “glove” that wraps around a bottle’s neck. We chose to penetrate the market for openers used by bars and restaurants as they make up a high percentage of the wine market in terms of the number of bottles opened. The problems we chose to address are ease of use and size (compact solutions) since they are most important for a waiter or bartender. Each of these concepts were evaluated with the help of a Pugh chart and both the clamps and twist corkscrew, and the lever arm glove scored the highest number of points when compared to a sommelier knife (the most popular opener used by waiters and bartenders). Interestingly, we do not see the lever arm glove as it is still quite bulky, and we think the clamp and twist opener, and the handheld lever arm are our strongest concepts. The grappling hook design and spring loaded “shelf” would have to be very thin, which raises some doubts as to how easily they may be damaged while opening a bottle. We think the grappling hook is still a viable solution but will require some more thought in order to answer some of the preliminary concerns about durability.

The last thing we did was prepare a Gantt chart to map out our team’s plan for the remainder of the project. This includes designing and building prototypes and iterating through our design till we have a product that is a good alternative solution to existing wine openers.

Market Review

Anthropological Observations and Interview at wine bars

To see how wine bottles are opener in a professional environment we went to a wine bar on Walnut Street in Shadyside. We stayed there to watch the waiter work, observe how she opens bottles and then we asked her and the tenant some questions. They gave us some interesting information.

They told us that they used two types of openers. The first type is a wing corkscrew. They said that they don’t use it that much compared to the sommelier knife (wine key/waiter's friend). According to the tenant the wine key is really easy to use and light weight. It’s easy for the waiter to carry with her which is an important feature because most of the bottles are opened at the customer's table. However, use of the wine key requires some practice to be able to use it efficiently (the waitress told us that when she started to work she practiced the procedure at home). Sometimes the lever doesn't stand correctly on the bottle lip, especially if it is round, which is really inconvenient and could lead to the waiter spilling wine on the customer. The last problem that the waitress had with this type of opener is that the hinge that hold the lever get a bit loose from frequent use, which leads to a bad alignment of the screw and the cork.

The waitress' primary complaint was that she needs three hands in order to open a wine bottle quickly and correctly. One hand to hold the bottle, one to rest the lever on the bottleneck and one to give the motion to the corkscrew.

From our observations we saw that when the waitress cut the foil, she didn't cut it from the side of the bottle but from the top. She would place the blade on the top of the bottleneck and then cut the upper part with a circular motion. See next picture :

Way foil is cut in restaurants
Way foil is cut in restaurants
Typical corkscrews they have in bars
Typical corkscrews they have in bars

The waitress also told us that the knife from the wine key gets blunt pretty fast.

30 percent of the bottles at the wine bar used screw-on caps instead of corks. When they open a bottle for just a glass of wine, they re-seal it with a cork and usually a bottle does not stay open foe more than a day.

The last subject that approach was electrical corkscrew. The waitress told us that her mother has one because it does not require any force to open a bottle, which is what elderly people are looking for. However she said that this type of corkscrew seemed really complicated and that it takes way too long to pull the cork out.

We carried on our market study by going to a couple of other restaurants. We asked them the following questions:

  1. What type of corkscrew do you use?
  2. Why?
  3. Have you ever encountered any trouble with the type of corkscrew?
  4. Do you see any way of improving the corkscrew you use?
  5. Have you ever tried this type of corkscrew? (picture of our product)

Here are the answers we obtained:

  1. simple one (foldable screw + handle), “the 2 handles one is definitely the worst”
  2. 2 inches we can use to open the bottle so we don’t have to screw in a little bit, lift it up and then screw all the way down to finally being able to take the cork out. On top of that it’s very easy to carry around
  3. The back knife is not sharp enough and sometimes it’s tough to open bottles closed with “dry cork”
  4. Sharper knife
  5. “NO! It looks complicated”


  1. Simple one (foldable screw + handle)
  2. Cheapest one and easy to carry around
  3. No trouble on plastic cork but it can be more difficult with dry cork (break the cork)
  4. No real improvement
  5. “Yes, my parents have one of those. I hate it because I broke it (laugh). Probably because the lever arm was made out of plastic”

We can conclude that the wine key is the most used bottle opener in this market (Bars and Restaurants). The main reason for this is it is very reliable and easy to carry around. On top of that, its price is very low compared to other bottle opener. Therefore, if we want to focus on this market, we should definitely thing about those criteria while designing our product.


In order to gain more insight into the types of wine openers consumers currently use, we designed and distributed an online survey on The link for our survey (now closed) is:

We asked consumers to share how many bottles they open, which type of opener they currently use, how long they usually take to open a bottle, and some of the problems that irk them. In order to gauge what kind of product they desire, we asked them to identify some of the features they look for in an ideal opener, how much money they are willing to spend on a new product, and what they think is the type of opener that is easiest to operate. The survey mainly focused on 5 different types of openers: The basic twist and pull corkscrew, the winged corkscrew, the sommelier knife or waiter’s friend, the twin prong cork puller, and the lever arm corkscrew. We received a total of 61 responses, of which only 3 consumers identified themselves as servers/bartenders who are required to open wine bottles as part of their job description. Since the survey is aimed at individual users or low volume users, we can say that 95% of the responses are fair while 5% of the responses represent high volume users, who may have more experience opening wine bottles, and therefore encounter fewer problems.

A majority of the consumers surveyed open between 1 and 2 bottles of wine per week and 23 of the 61 consumers use a Wing Corkscrew. The Sommelier Knife (Waiter’s Friend) and Basic Corkscrew are next in terms of their popularity while only 1 consumer indicated that they own a Twin Prong Cork Puller. Only about 16% of the people surveyed indicated that they take longer than 30 seconds to open a bottle of wine. The most common problem people encounter is having the cork break when opening a bottle. Some users complained that they have to be extremely careful while opening bottles so as not to spill wine everywhere, or damage/break the cork. This in turn increases the amount of time they take to open wine bottles and generally makes for a more frustrating experience. Another area of difficulty consumers identified was opening the foil off the top of the cork, which they say takes very long to accomplish. Therefore it wasn’t surprising when the most desired feature in an opener was found to be its ease of use. 55 of the 61 people surveyed chose ease of use as one of the features they look for in a wine opener. The next popular response was that the opener must be durable and not break easily.

Figure 3 shows us that most consumers are willing to pay between $5 and $20 for a new opener. This seems appropriate to us since consumers would like an opener to be durable, and you probably can’t buy a good opener for less than $5. Finally, when consumers were asked how easy they thought some openers were to operate, 40% of them chose the Lever Arm Corkscrew as the easiest while 36% chose the Twin Prong Cork Puller to be the hardest to operate. The results shown in figure 5, which depicts a stacked bar graph that relates the type of opener owned to how long it takes to open a bottle, are particularly interesting to us. They tell us that using a sommelier knife can be a hit-or-miss situation. Most of the consumers who took less than 10 seconds to open a bottle own a sommelier knife.

The survey we conducted tells us that consumers do not want an opener that breaks easily and they are willing to pay a little extra in order to get the right product. While only a few consumers actually use lever arm corkscrews, most of them perceive it to be the easiest to operate from the given options.

Figure 1 – Responses to “What kind of bottle opener do you use?”
Figure 1 – Responses to “What kind of bottle opener do you use?”
Figure 2 – Responses to “Please estimate how long (in seconds) it takes you to open a bottle of wine, using the type of opener you have just listed.”
Figure 2 – Responses to “Please estimate how long (in seconds) it takes you to open a bottle of wine, using the type of opener you have just listed.”
Figure 3 – Responses to “How much money ($) are you willing to pay for a new wine opener?”
Figure 3 – Responses to “How much money ($) are you willing to pay for a new wine opener?”
Figure 4 – Responses to “What are some of the features you look for in a wine opener? (You may choose more than one option)."
Figure 4 – Responses to “What are some of the features you look for in a wine opener? (You may choose more than one option)."
Figure 5 – Correlation between how long people take to open a bottle of wine and what type of wine opener they use
Figure 5 – Correlation between how long people take to open a bottle of wine and what type of wine opener they use

Expert Interviews

Summary of Winery interviews: The portable lever arm corkscrew will not find a home in wineries. They are loyal to the wine key and intentionally avoid more “efficient” or “modern” models. However, a mounted lever arm that is still an elegant and aesthetic device, such as the Roger, could potentially gain ground in the winery market. It would be supplemental to the wine keys, rather than trying to replace them. Also, wineries have the highest spending ability when considering openers.

Silver Oak Cellars, Oakville, CA

How many bottles do you open per month? 150

What type of wine opener do you currently use? A wine key

Why do you use the wine key? Durability and simplicity. It is easy to carry and easy to use after training.

Would you be interested in a more efficient opener if one were available? Yes. We are not opposed to change. Actually, we are all allowed to use whichever opener we’d like, but we all feel most comfortable with the traditional wine key. However, everything else we’ve used breaks or wears out after time.

Have you ever considered a lever arm corkscrew? Yes, but they have a short lifespan, are bulky, and not very elegant. We would never want to carry that around here.

Is price something you consider when choosing a wine opener? No, we open so many bottles, I’m sure we’d be able to spend a few hundred dollars on an opener.

Beringer Wineries, St. Helena, CA

How many bottles do you open per month? Over 300

What type of wine opener do you currently use? A wine key

Why do you use the wine key? It is always reliable and very easy to use

Would you be interested in a more efficient opener if one were available? No, probably not. The wine key is compact and easy to use. It also has a classic look that we try to embody here at the winery. There’s no reason to change because we want to use a traditional method. It would turn off our visitors to do it any other way.

Have you ever considered a lever arm corkscrew? No, just because that device is so complex and modern, it really has no place here.

Is price something you consider when choosing a wine opener? No, but they’re not very expensive.

Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford, CA

How many bottles do you open per month? About 200

What type of wine opener do you currently use? A wine key

Why do you use the wine key? It works very well and it’s how we were trained

Would you be interested in a more efficient opener if one were available? Possibly. We would be interested in a different kind of wine key perhaps. But, if you mean something more complicated or a different device, probably not. We like the classic feel and look of the wine key. Also, we aren’t rushing to open bottles or ever too busy where a wine key wouldn’t be efficient enough.

Have you ever considered a lever arm corkscrew? I’ve seen them before, but we wouldn’t use that here. We like to create a sense of romance here and the lever arm ones are a bit weird and off putting.

Is price something you consider when choosing a wine opener? No, but they don’t usually run very high at all.

Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards, Markham, Virginia

How many bottles of wine do you open a month? Well, about half of ours our twist off, so I would say about 75

What type of wine opener do you currently use? We have a Roger Estate wine opener that we use. But, people in the tasting room carry around wine keys as well.

Why do you use those two methods? The Roger Estate is really simple and easy to use. It’s quick as well. Also, it looks really nice, so it doubles as a decorative piece as well. The wine keys are just more transportable for opening bottles elsewhere.

Would you be interested in a portable lever arm corkscrew as well? I’ve seen those before and they don’t seem to last very long. Also, we have the Roger for that purpose. If we’re opening bottles somewhere other than the bar, there’s no problem with the wine key. That’s the most portable thing.

Is price something you consider when choosing a wine opener? No, as long as we’re not talking about thousands.

Competitor Products

Here are some patents we found about interesting bottle openers. We can clearly qualify those designs as relevant competitors. We noticed that they also focused on the main problem we were encountered: reducing the number of "hands" needed to open bottles. The patent called "corkscrew with pulley reduction" is very interesting because, like us during our ideas generation, they tried to find another way to open a bottle than simply twisting the cork manually. On top of that, those design could also target the same market than us (Bars and Restaurants). That's why we have to make sure to identify the needs of this market to design our product without copying them.

User reviews on internet

The main problem users encounter with a lever arm corkscrew is that after some amount of time and use, the screw doesn’t work properly. More often that not, the corkscrew also rotates on the up stroke which prevents the cork from being pulled out of the bottle. What also appeared in user reviews is that this kind of opener is heavy and not always easy to operate.

'Heavy, awkward to handle and broke after twenty uses.'

Some people noted that the motion of the lever arm is not really smooth. This type of corkscrew is mainly designed for the high-end market and that is why large tolerances are not acceptable.

'In my opinion, this is a very poorly made opener. The manufacturing/assembly tolerances are very sloppy and the action of the opener is not smooth.'

On the other hand, some reviews were quite positive about the corkscrew saying that it is easy to use and requires less force than a usual corkscrew. This may be an important criteria for elderly people or people with disabilities. However it's complexity may prevent some customers from using it.

Some of the comments for the wine key were that it is light, easy to use and quick. However one of the main problem that users encountered is that after frequent use the hinge gets loose and the alignment of the screw is not perfect anymore. That makes it tougher to open the bottle and stresses the cork, which can even lead to the cork breaking. But overall the reviews were really positive.

For the twin prong cork puller, the reviews mostly highlighted how difficult they are to use but once you got used to it, it is easy. On top of that some review suggested that the device is really useful to open bottles with broken corks or old bottles. Many reviews pointed out that because of the prongs' thickness it is very likely to push the cork in the bottle.

'It may be a little difficult for new beginner to use. After a while, you will enjoy the fun. It is especially good for open the older bottles'
'...the prongs are so thick that it has pushed in many a cork. Aaargh. Don't buy this. Not worth the aggravation.'


Methods & Thought Process

In order to brainstorm various ideas, we needed to understand our wine opener's functionality. By doing so, we can identify problems in various consumer audiences and generate ideas that address those problems. Using various techniques such as market iteration and random word generation, we brainstormed over 100 diverse ideas that focused on solving problems identified previously.

  1. Identify wine opener functionality and underlying needs.
  2. Establish markets base on opportunities for product improvement and stakeholder needs.
  3. Generate ideas by iterating through markets and randomization processes.
  4. Evaluate ideas and select top 5 ideas that withing the class' scope.

Product Objectives

Ability to open a bottle of wine

Underlying Need: Pouring wine into a glass and drinking it

Underlying Need: Easier to open a bottle of wine with a corkscrew.

Underlying Need: "Delivering" wine to customer(s) at a restaurant or bar

Allows for bottle to be resealed with cork

Underlying Need: Consumer can replace cork and store wine

Establishing Potential Problems

After understanding the underlying need, we discussed the potential problems a consumer could encounter. We drew from personal experience and our market research to identify such problems

  1. The wine bottle could have been sealed with a dry or broken cork
    • While at the Elbow Room as a part of our anthropological observations, the owner said that they go through a high number of wine bottles each day and noticed that a good number of them had bad and/or dry wine corks that fracture the cork when the corkscrew is screwed in.
  2. The consumer's struggle of pulling the cork out of the bottle after screwing in the corkscrew
    • Because of the seal that is created between the wine bottle and outside atmosphere, pulling out a cork could cause spillage and loss of wine
  3. Not having enough "limbs" to operate wine bottle opener without using a surface to place the bottle
    • Our wine openers and some others out there on the market require two hands to operate and one hand to hold the bottle of wine. This would be a problem if the consumer were opening a bottle of wine while trying to hold it in the air.
  4. Ensuring the corkscrew's central axis is aligned to the cork's center
    • There is no sort of guidance to screw in the corkscrew at the center of the cork with the wine key, unlike other products out there. This could cause the cork to fracture and make it harder to pull out the cork from the wine bottle.
  5. Easy to store and/or carry around
    • Some products are not feasible to carry around, especially in a restaurant or bar where waiters are going from table to table. Storage takes into consideration a waiters apron for bars and restaurants and the ability to put the opener in a drawer for home consumers.
  6. Drip that comes down the outside of the wine bottle while pouring wine
    • Wine drip is a minor form of spillage and can stain customer's and consumer's clothing.
  7. Avoid spilling and pouring wine on customer at a bar or restaurant
    • This stems from problems 2 because it would ruin a customers experience at that restaurant or bar.

Market Identification & Stakeholder Needs


Waiters and waitresses in restaurants and bars are our target market. We know that they often aren't well trained and can have difficulty opening wine bottles with the traditional wine key. They are concerned with opening a bottle without an available surface to rest it on. This is the basis for our "three hand" market. Basically we want to make an opener that accomplishes this "three handed" task with two hands. It must also be small and light enough to comfortably carry an opener around while they serve. Our product will be able to enter this market because it will be faster, easier, and more reliable than a typical wine key. It will permit more complexity because we will be able to price it higher than the wine key in the bar/restaurant industry.


Vineyards and wineries almost exclusively use the wine key. It is regarded as the most classy and traditional method. Therefore, they are very hesitant to adopt a different type of opener. Some showed a little interest in different a top of the line, elegant opener. They did not express any concern in the price of an opener, so that opens up design ideas.

High Volume users

These customers consume every night. They are not as price sensitive as other home consumers because they will use an opener more. They also don't care much about the look or elegance of the opener. Their primary concern is the ease and efficiency of a bottle opener.

Low Volume users

These customers open 0-10 bottles a month. They are more price sensitive when looking at an opener. They care primarily about ease of use and secondarily about appearance and reliability.

Elderly people

These customers drink wine occasionally. Ease of use is the primary motive for choosing a wine opener. Wine bottles are heavy for the elderly and wine keys are extremely difficult to maneuver. Openers that also increase the ease of dispensing wine should also be considered.

Ideas that are not the wine opener

These concepts are meant to address other aspects of enjoying wine such as serving, storing, dispensing, aerating, transporting, and holding.

User Scenario

Jessica is a waitress at a fancy restaurant and she frequently has to open wine bottles at a customer’s table. Her normal procedure is to ask the customer to make sure the temperature of the bottle is satisfactory, after which she pulls out a sommelier knife from her apron and proceeds to open the bottle of wine. Even though she has practiced opening bottles on her own time, she is still prone to the occasional mistake and she is always afraid she may accidentally spill wine on her patrons. This can happen because she cannot rest the bottle of wine on a surface such as a table and must therefore hold the bottle in one hand while embedding a corkscrew in the bottle with her other hand, and pulling on it. If only there was a way to open bottles at a customer’s table without spilling wine?

Behold the clamp and twist corkscrew! Our product combines the ease of a lever arm with the portability of any other small corkscrew. The device has a snap fit base which you can mount onto a bottle. The device has a corkscrew-like handle that twists a corkscrew into a wine bottle, while following along a fixed vertical track. When the corkscrew is deep enough, simply pull on the handle to pull the corkscrew up the vertical track and the cork out of the bottle. The simple, cylindrical device fits comfortably inside a waiter's apron and makes opening bottles a much easier and more efficient process.

Idea Generation

We iterated through each of the previously mentioned markets generating ideas using drawings, competitors products, market research, possible problems encountered, and random word generation. After creating 100 ideas, we discussed what our top 5 ideas were, made preliminary sketches and designs.

Top 5 Designs

  • Grappling Mechanism
  • Grappling Hook (Arrow Design)
  • Handheld Lever Arm Corkscrew
  • Gripping Bottleneck Lever Arm
  • Clamp and Twist

Design Concepts

Grappling Mechanism

What came out of the anthropological observation and the interviews at the wine bars is that the wine key has several problems. The important points are :

  • The hinge gets loose and the corkscrew doesn't work properly anymore
  • The lever is not steady on the bottle lip and may slip
  • The quicker it is to open the bottle, the better

From these observations we came up with the idea to redesign the wine key. The part that takes time during the opening process is to screw the corkscrew in. That's why we came up with the idea to design a wine bottle opener that doesn't use a screw. We came up with a technique where the main idea is to insert a thin piece of metal between the cork and the bottleneck. The thin bar has a hinge with a spring-loaded foldable "shelf" at the end. Once the bar is deep enough this shelf folds out 90 degrees. When the user pulls the bar back up using it's handle, the spring-loaded part pulls the cork up with it.

With this technique the cork does not get damaged. This also means that it is really unlikely to break the cork while opening the bottle. This technique is also quick since it doesn't require a spinning motion, which could be very useful for the bar and restaurant market.

However, this technique has three main problems :

  • It may be difficult to insert the whole mechanism between the cork and the bottle neck.
  • As the mechanism has to be very thin, the hinge that links the spring-loaded part must be small but must also be able withstand a force without breaking.
  • The amount of force required will be high since there is no lever arm that increases mechanical efficiency.
Concept 1 - Grapple Mechanism
Concept 1 - Grapple Mechanism

Grappling hook (Arrow design)

This is another design that can open a bottle without using a screw. It involves an arrow, or 2 arrows that form an x-shaped hook, that can be folded and may also be spring loaded. The shape has been designed to penetrate the cork easily without punching a huge hole. Once it is sufficiently deep inside the cork, the springs will make 2 (or 4) metal hooks pop out so that the device won't be able to penetrate deeper. The user can now pull the cork out vertically. Finally, the user just has to unscrew the "arrow" head of the device and detach the cork from the opener by pulling it the other way.

This item is very useful for the bars and restaurants market because it matches the needs of the waiters. It is light, small and easy to carry around and by adding detachable parts (the arrow and the handle), it's easy to replace or change these components. We could design handles that match a man's hand or woman's hand. We could also think about adding a beer opener to the top. It is important that the head of the arrow is protected by a cap or cover in order to avoid the user getting injured while operating it.

Concept 2 - Spring Loaded Arrow (Hook)
Concept 2 - Spring Loaded Arrow (Hook)

Handheld Lever Arm Corkscrew

The idea behind this design is to make lever arm corkscrews more accessible to bars and restaurants. Waiters and bartenders currently prefer to use win keys to open bottles of wine at a customer's table. They first present the bottle to the customer to make sure the temperature is to his/her satisfaction. They then open the bottle at the table itself so they prefer compact devices such as wine keys, which they can stow in their aprons.

The lever arm is seen as the easiest method top open a bottle according to our market research so this design attempts to make the bulky lever arm device more compact. It has a shelf that folds out on which to rest the bottle. Similarly, it has another holder that folds out, this one for the bottle's neck. The stem of the device is retractable to make it even more compact. The upper arm which houses the actual lever arm corkscrew is the only part of the device that is fixed (doesn't fold or retract). The user can therefore wrap their thumb on the inside in order to hold the device, and it helps the user apply force to the lever arm without upsetting the balance of the bottle.

Concept 3 - Handheld Lever Arm Corkscrew
Concept 3 - Handheld Lever Arm Corkscrew

Gripping Bottleneck Lever Arm

This product is designed to solve the "three handed" waiter problem. It retains a similar lever arm structure as our original product. However, it's base is made out of a stiff rubber material that lightly snap-fits onto the top of the neck of a wine bottle. The inside of the fit is coated with a grippy material so that the fit to the bottle is tight. The outside of the rubber attachment is molded so that a hand can comfortably grip the neck of the bottle and hold it steadily while using the lever arm to uncork it. There is a pinky ring as well to assist with the hold on the bottle. Finally, the traditional lever arm track is replaced by one that curves slightly to follow the contour of the bottle neck. While this design would be very helpful to waiters and waitresses, the device is fairly bulky, large and heavy. This would make it inconvenient to carry around or fit inside an apron or pants pocket.

Concept 4 - Grapple Mechanism
Concept 4 - Grapple Mechanism

Clamp and Twist Corkscrew

The consumer holds the device with one hand, say left hand on the device. One would "clamp" the device by squeezing their left hand to grip the device on the bottleneck. The device would have a rubber lining that contacts the bottleneck to ensure maximum grip while squeezing the device around the bottle neck. Holding the bottle with your right hand while clamping with your left, you twist one way (in opposite directions), to effectively drive the corkscrew in a helical motion into the wine cork. To take the cork out of the wine bottle, one would twist the opposite direction and the corkscrew would pull the cork out vertically without rotating.

This is aimed towards the restaurant and bar market because of it's ease of use in its twisting motion and the ability to open a wine bottle in mid-air. Since it is clamping around the bottle neck and the corkscrew is set in a linear track, the consumer will always be screwing the corkscrew into the center of the cork preventing any fractured corks while opening the bottle of wine.

Concept 5 – Clamp and Twist Corkscrew
Concept 5 – Clamp and Twist Corkscrew

Pugh Chart

A Pugh chart is a chart that is used to compare different product options. In engineering conception, we use it to compare different designs and evaluate which is the best option. This option may not necessarily be the best solution, but it is the most feasible given the areas we have chosen to focus on. We first have to choose a "standard" product (used as a reference) depending on our design orientation. Then we set criteria that are important for our final product and assign weights to every criteria to judge their importance according to the market we are seeking to penetrate. Then we compare every aspect of our design to the reference with the following notation:

++: if our product is way better than the reference on this criteria

+: if our product is slightly better than the reference on this criteria

0: if our product is equivalent to the reference on this criteria

-: if our product is slightly worse than the reference on this criteria

--: if our product is way worse than the reference on this criteria

Then we count the score for each design we were envisaging and calculate the final score by doing the difference between "+" and "-".

For this Pugh chart we decided to compare our design ideas to the standard wine key used in bars and restaurants because it is the market we are interested in. For this market, we want our item to match the waiters' and restaurants' expectations. The most important aspect of our final product according to this market are:






Pugh Chart - Wine Bottle Opener
Description Standard Wine key Arrow Twist + bottle holder Extendable lever arm Glove lever arm Spring loaded hook
Criteria Weight Datum Design 1 Design 2 Design 3 Design 4 Design 5
Price 1 0 + - -- -- ++
Size 3 0 0 - -- - +
Durable 3 0 - + 0 + --
Complements opportunity 1 0 ++ 0 0 0 0
Transportable 3 0 0 - - - +
Weight 2 0 0 0 - - +
Reliable 3 0 - + ++ ++ --
Safe 1 0 -- ++ + ++ 0
Efficient 3 0 - ++ ++ ++ -
Easy to use 2 0 + ++ ++ ++ 0
Classy 2 0 - 0 0 0 -
+ 0 5 18 17 21 10
0 24 8 5 6 3 4
- 0 13 7 13 10 17
Net score 0 -8 11 4 11 -7

We can see that some of our design ideas have negative scores and some others have positive scores. This Pugh chart definitely helps us to identify where to focus the scope of our future design ambition. From now on, we are going to continue with only the spring loaded arrow, the clamp+twist corkscrew and the extendable lever arm. Even though design 1 has a negative score, we think that the idea is good and that we can develop it further. We will then decide which of this 3 ideas is the best to pursue in order to build a working prototype.

Gantt Chart

Below is the Gantt chart that specifies the continuation of our project. It has three main periods which correspond to the realization of the three prototypes. Each main period is subdivied in smaller part such as design, ordering parts and analysis. The chart also includes the three reviews that are due with each working prototype. The school's mid-semester break is included in the chart because the group won't be able to work on the project during this time. The chart will help us to stay on time with the deadlines and to plan our work out efficiently.

Gantt chart for our project
Gantt chart for our project

Appendix: 100 Ideas

100 "Wild" Ideas by Market
Ideas that are not a Wine bottle opener Restaurants/Bars Wineries High Volume Users Low Volume Users Elderly ("Health" Problems)
  • Cork with ringed notch for putting corkscrew on
  • Printed ring on cork
  • Corkscrew guide on bottle neck
  • Conic cork
  • Corkscrew guide on bottle neck that also holds the bottle by bottle neck
  • Conical corkscrew held by champagne cap
  • Notched cork that releases at angle like a key (screw in cork)
  • Keurig like wine pourer with cartridges of wine
  • Keurig machine that holds and cools different wines
  • Porous plastic bag to hold wine
  • Keg of wine
  • PET wine bottle
  • PET cap on glass bottle
  • Screw path outside wine bottleneck
  • Wine chiller that uncorks wine, push button, uncorks in chiller
  • Wine chiller with lever arm opener
  • Sealed plastic wine glasses
  • Electric pourer for barrel, keeps track of # of wine bottles poured
  • Bottle design where you can sabre the cork off
  • Cylinder device on apron/belt for waiters to hold bottle
  • Wine dispensing/chiller device that keeps certain wine at certain temperatures
  • Temperature controlled racks
  • Automatic rotating racks for wine storage (prevents tannin)
  • Automatic drip control and pours correct serving size
  • Drip avoidance system
  • Aerated pouring system
  • Clamping Lever arm
  • Build in fridge lever arm
  • Microwave mounted lever arm
  • Keychain cork pincher
  • Combo cork pincher and foil cutter
  • Laser foil cutter
  • Push pin wine cork
  • Android case wine opener
  • 2 part cork (plastic cap that pushes cork into bottle)
  • Champagne style cork that goes around bottleneck
  • Lever arm to open multiple bottles
  • Twisting wine bottle opener
  • Lever opener with arm stand/support
  • Handheld electric openers
  • Lever arm system that grips bottleneck and use lever to open wine bottle
  • Built in table/chair wine opener
  • Opener that mounts on a pourer that avoids drip
  • Barbed wine punch opener
  • Barbed wine punch opener with button that pushes straight in but when pulling out hooks the cork
  • Simple device that pushes wine cork in
  • Something that cuts cork and lifts it out
  • Corkscrew on end of handle that you push instead of twist when screwing into cork, no spin when pulling cork out
  • Vacuum opener
  • Two points enter cork at angle, then lift
  • Device that increases pressure inside of wine bottle to push cork out
  • Screwing bottle into a tap system (like beer)
  • Tap system to each table
  • Magnetic tables, put bottle on table and tap using quarter on neck
  • Handheld vacuum opener
  • Hand held pump opener
  • Swiss army knife opener
  • iPhone beer and wine bottle opener case
  • Ergonomic hand grip w/ lever arm
  • Lever arm that contours to thigh
  • Lever arm that contours to belt/apron
  • Manual Rotating Push Pin
  • Automatic rotating push pin
  • Pushpin with string at the end
  • Wall Corkscrew
  • Elegant lever arm
  • Table lever arm
  • Spring hinge that touches lip of bottle on the wine key
  • Rubber at end of wine key that touches bottleneck
  • Corkscrew on wine key that doesn't hinge (simple corkscrew)
  • Device that holds bottles for personal preference during tasting events
  • Foil cutter on lever arm wine opener
  • Foil cutter on electric wine opener
  • Blade on wine key
  • 2 bladed wine key to cut foil
  • Lever arm with a hook at end
  • Huge vacuum chamber to pop corks out
  • Vibration/shock system to pop corks out
  • Pourer from barrel
  • Electric wine tap system that monitors amount of wine left
  • Shoe opening method but with cushion at end
  • Rubber mallet opener
  • Flask that hits bottom of wine bottle to pop cork out
  • Automatic flask that hits bottom of wine bottle to pop cork out
  • Using a foot pedal that hits bottom of wine bottle to pop cork out
  • Use rotating wheel in place of lever arm
  • Lever arm that pulls out cork and can put back in (Gautam)
  • Spring loaded hook to put in wine
  • Grabs top of bottle and pushes cork back
  • Magnet into cork
  • Corkscrew that goes between bottle and cork
  • Bottle shaped device that pushes pin between cork and bottle
  • Rotating L shaped push pin
  • Screw in Deck mount
  • Corkscrew fridge magnet
  • Wall mounted cork pincher
  • Put bottle into device, uses lever arm and tips to pour wine
  • Uncork, drop straw, and dispenses wine while bottle is held at angle
  • Drill hole and put straw in
  • Put bottle into device, uses lever arm and tips to pour wine but battery powered

Team member roles

  • Alex Clement : Brain Storming + Twist and Clamp Design
  • César Daguet : Pugh Chart + Grappling hook (Arrow) Design
  • Gautam Poddar : Sketches + Extendable lever arm Design
  • Ross Farquharson : Stakeholders, Scenarios + Glove lever arm Design
  • Claude Muller : Market study + Spring loaded hook Design


User review

Pugh Chart

Picture of the wine key comes from:
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