The Opening Act!
Some 30 years ago, while visiting the Christian Brothers Winery in
Napa Valley, I was mesmerized by a collection of wine openers that was
on display at the winery. After the big San Francisco earthquake in the
80’s the building was condemned and later refurbished into the Culinary Institute
at Greystone. Since then, I have been on a quest to collect wine
openers. Though my collection is small by some standards, I have over
one hundred that I have gathered at different wineries and in my
travels to Europe.
The exhibition at the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone facility in Napa is the first class collection of the legendary
Brother Timothy of the Christian Brothers winery fame can be seen. His
corkscrews are on a permanent display at the CIA West and if you are in
California, it is a must see.
The collection was started in 1949, the year before the Christian
Brothers purchased the Greystone property. But by the time they were
ready to open the facility to visitors, about the beginning of 1955,
Brother Tim had about 200 or more pieces in his c
ollection. They displayed the corkscrews for
operations - to keep them occupied, you might say. And today,
visitors to see while they were waiting to take a tour of the wine they
are displayed in cases and cabinets, almost returning to the early days
of the collection keeping visitors occupied while they wait for the
Every time I open a bottle of wine, I use a different opener.
The opener brings back memories of when or where I was when I acquired
that opener. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have names like,
wing, oso, travelers, boomerang, butterfly and rabbit just to name a
few. Electric and battery operated openers are also popular now. The
famous Laguiole knife making company in the south of France also make
whatever your fancy, they all open a bottle of wine. But it’s the
memories that I enjoy when I use a different opener each time I open a
bottle of wine! What’s your next opening act going to be?
Questions or comments?
Reach me at :
last month's "Let's Talk Wine" article by Eric
Ventura Wine Bars
County Wine Trail
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