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From Vicars to Rabbits. The wine windup.

From Vicars to Rabbits. The wine windup.

England wine has never really wowed the world with their wine, but that didn’t stop them from making the 2nd most important contribution to the wine industry … after the great ‘stomping on grapes’ revelation. I’m talking about the corkscrew; first patented by an English chap, Reverend Samuel Henshall in 1795. Until that point, the tops of tightly corked cider bottles were often horizontally slashed with a sword or gouged out with a gun worm (a twisted piece of metal used to remove unspent charges from the barrel of a musket). Neither were particularly appropriate behaviour for a clergyman and his alter wine. 

Seeking a more dignified method, Reverend Henshall went to the general store and bought a gun worm. Then, he welded a simple metal cylindrical disk, now known as the Henshall Button, to the end of the worm, and attached the elongated apparatus into a perpendicular wooden shank. The addition of the cylindrical disk was the leverage point between the two opposite ends. 

Today that leverage comes in various forms. There’s the classic ‘butler’s friend’ (modernised to ‘waiter’s friend) named after the practice of providing His Lordship with the cork to review prior to tasting the wine. Oh how I wish there was a butler in my life. Opening bottles and jars by myself can be so tiresome. Back in reality, the next major design iterations was the winged corkscrew with two winged (more like arms really!) levers on opposite sides, which raise with each twist of the worm penetrating deeper into the cork. The wings are then pulled down to lever the cork. It’s works perfectly well but there’s no design magic here. It’s all function, no form (in my humble opinion).

Whereas, the Rabbit is style and substance wrapped into one elegant corkscrew. The porn connotations are unfortunate but other than that, Rabbit makes the de-corking experience as magical as savouring the wine within. Connoisseurs from CNN to Wired have proclaimed Rabbit to be “the most secure, easiest-to-use lever-style corkscrew we've tried, quickly and cleanly removing corks from any bottle with little effort.” I love the performance that Rabbit brings to the table. The ‘ears’ have Alessi-level charm and the operating mechanism is pure theatre, deserving of any bottle of wine, not matter how posh.

It’s easy to get wound up about the big things, but actually, our lives are made up of millions of small actions. Putting as much joy and ceremony to these daily actions as possible, applies simple leverage to your happiness levels in exactly the same way that a corkscrew works. The vicar was certainly happier.