Three Simple Ways To Remove the Foil Capsule Covering the Wine Bottle

Three Simple Ways To Remove the Foil Capsule Covering the Wine Bottle

Wine bottles with cork closures typically have a protective foil wrapping around the top of the bottle’s neck. Among wine drinkers, this foil is called the “capsule”.

Although capsules can be quite ornamental in design, they do also serve a functional purpose. The capsule protects the cork during storage, shipping, and aging. This is especially important for wines that are intended to be aged for a long period of time before drinking. Humidity and temperature changes are both very harmful to corks, and the capsule can serve as a barrier between the cork and the air around it. 

There are three ways to remove the capsule. Check out the video below for demonstrations on all three!

1. Cut the Foil With a Corkscrew Knife

This is how most professionals remove capsules from bottles of wine. If you’ve ever ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant, the server or sommelier probably opened it with a corkscrew knife. If you’re looking to impress, this is a good way to open your next bottle.

  • First, be sure that you have a sharp knife on your corkscrew. Holding the back of the corkscrew knife with your thumb, cut the foil halfway around the neck of the bottle. 
  • Then, make another cut in the opposite direction, starting from the same place where you made the initial cut. Be sure to cut just underneath the lip on the bottle. 
  • Last, make one final, vertical cut going up across the protruding lip, to the top of the bottle. Those three cuts should allow you to easily remove the top portion capsule that covers the cork.

It’s important that the first two cuts are made just below the lip that goes around the bottle neck. This ensures that the wine will not touch the foil when you are pouring. 

Most corkscrews will have small knives that fold out from their handles. It’s important to keep this knife very sharp to avoid any risk of snagging or slippage that could cause injury while cutting your wine capsules. 

2. Use a Wine Foil Cutter

You can also find foil cutters that are designed to easily remove wine capsules. These small, round tools usually feature rolling blades that make it simple to remove capsules with one quick motion. 

To use a foil cutter, set the foil cutter on top of the bottle. Then, simply twist the cutter.

Foil cutters do not cut the capsule below the raised lip of the bottle. This can result in the foil touching the wine as you are pouring. Not only can this make a messy pour, but you don’t want anything touching the wine before it hits the glass. There could be foreign substances on the foil that may alter the wine’s flavor or texture. For this reason, foil cutters are not as popular as corkscrew knives for removing wine capsules. 

Despite not cutting the capsule below the lip, foil cutters are a great option for everyday use. They are also perfect for those wine drinkers who have tactile or dexterity issues. Foil cutters are, by far, the easiest way to remove the capsule from your wine.

3. Remove the Foil by Hand

A method adored by wine drinkers who find themselves in a pinch, it is possible to just remove the wine capsule by hand. Although it may not be the most dignified approach, it’s usually pretty effective.

To remove a capsule by hand, firmly grasp the neck of the wine bottle. Twist the foil as you pull upwards. With enough force, the foil will slide off the bottle. 

Shop for Wine Capsule Removing Tools at Wine Enthusiast

Whether you’re an everyday drinker or a “special occasion” wine connoisseur, it’s important to have a good capsule removing tool. At Wine Enthusiast, we carry a wide variety of quality foil cutters. Take a look around, and if you have any questions, our customer service team is ready to help you!

From his first sips of wicker basket Chianti at his grandfather’s dinner table to a 1986 Premier Cru Gevrey-Chambertin, Tilden knew that there was something magical about wine. He earned his Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators. Having been with Wine Enthusiast catalog since 2005, when he is not writing about wine he also runs the wine storage division and is head of W.E.’s in-house education program.