While preparing for the service exam, I became painfully aware of the jagged edges created by the pathetic blade on my old faithful cheap double hinge pulltab corkscrew. I read the code 38 thread and noticed someone mentioned Coutale Sommelier. I purchased one with high hopes. The blade is fantastic and I like the slightly heavier feel. Unfortunately the worm is too thin and short. And if you encounter a long cork, you can't even screw it down all the way because the double hinged arm will not work! It works fine for a normal bottle, but any brittle old cork does not stand a chance. Does anyone know of a relatively (or very) cheap double hinge, sharp blade, Teflon coated larger/longer wormed corkscrew? I stay with cheap corkscrews because allocate my wine dollars to bottles and not openers.
Alternatively, is it possible for a watch repairman to remove the blade from the Coutale or the worm from a pulltab and switch them? that would be the perfect solution IMO.
When not in an exam, i could care less about my corkscrew and I take pride in using the worst one I can find, but in an exam I don't want to deal with a corkscrew that is less than perfect.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand the mentality of using garbage corkscrews...
To be fair, I know you are not alone and there are many great sommeliers who share your philosophy. Personally, I feel that my corkscrew is the fundamental tool I use constantly to do my job and I take pride in carrying a quality tool. What I hear you saying is that you care how your foil cuts look in an exam, but the ones you do every day for your guests aren't important. I'm probably being overly harsh, but it makes me wonder if you see the service exam as being about getting a pin, or about being a better sommelier every day?
I've always walked into service exams with exactly the same corkscrew I use on the floor. After all, do you really want to struggle in the exam with a corkscrew you're not used to using?
For the record, I've carried a Laguiole for many years, my personal preference. I have several, and when the worm breaks, I send it back to France for repairs (they have a lifetime warranty). For me, they tend to last about a year and then the repair is $10 for shipping and handling and the corkscrew comes back good as new. Quality tools, quality service. And after the initial investment to buy it, I carry a beautiful, high-quality tool for the same price as a pulltap.
You speak from the perspective of someone who currently works in a restaurant. I do not work on the floor. I do not have guests. It would be silly for me to carry around a nice corkscrew. Eventually it would be left at a friend's house or confiscated by TSA when I forget to remove it from my backpack.
However, even if I did work the floor, I would still prefer a cheap corkscrew that did the job well. If I could find a $5 pulltab with a good blade, that would be good enough for me. You want a Laguiole and I want a bottle of Gonon.
And don't worry about how I see this service portion of this exam. That doesn't concern you.
I agree with Michael and its very important to show the same respect to our day to day guest as we are doing for the exam if we do not carry a quality key during service and want to use that "good key" just for exam I do not believe we can go too further down the road.