I like wine with dinner. Always have. Not gret wine; I can't drink anything that costs more than dinner. But this is about opening wine bottles...
Years ago, I started with a standard lever corkscrew. It worked, sort of.
Than I got interested in cork-pulling gadgets. I have a shelf full of them.
For 10 years, the best one I had was a twist-top device that really worked. But the foil cutter drove me crazy! It often had to use a dedicated serrated Ginzu Knife, LOL!
So when I came across a Houdini cork-puller, I gave it a shot. Its tricky, but I got the method right lately. The foil cutter is SUPERB! It never fails after just one turn. But as a cork-puller and cork remover (from the device), it takes some technique.
Which is to say honestly "it works", but it takes some practice. I'm searching for an analogy here...
One is using a bait-casting reel. It takes a bit of practice to throw the bait, get some distance AND not have it unwind in your hand after the bait reaches the water. Another analogy is flipping pancakes. Or folding omelets. Just saying there is some technique involved.
The Houdini cork remover does the cork-removal just fine. You use the foil cutter, remove the foil, set the Houdini on the cork, and turn the lever. The corkscrew goes right into the cork beautifully! With some practice, you turn the lever the opposite direction and the cork comes right out. Only took 10 bottles to get that right.
Then you have to get the cork off the Houdini. That drove me nuts for weeks. And the instructions say to NEVER remove the cork from the device manually. That part still baffles me. Why does the device CARE how I remove the cork from it? Does it feel insulted? Does it report improper cork removal to the manufacturer?
Well, no. But I'm getting better at it. Its some trick of gripping the removed cork in the winged clamps. I can get it off easily 8 of 10 times now. Yes, I kept track... I do things like that.
The more I use it, the better I get.
So, if you see one of those devices, they DO work. You just have to keep practicing on a few bottles.
Whil I will keep using it (if only to get proficient and parties), the real way to go is the outstanding Houdini foil cutter, and the previous screw-down cork-puller. But that would mean all I bought was a GREAT foil cutter.