|That's two pounds of cork pulling madness, packed in a|
pretty wooden box.
What can I say? I love good wine almost as much as I love good bicycles, and I also love precision-made tools that are perfect for the job at hand. The Cavatappi, or Big Corkscrew, checks all those boxes.
Because it's Campagnolo, it has to come with a legendary story of its creation, and just like the legend of the Croce d'Aune Pass and the invention of the wheel quick release, one has to wonder how much truth there is to the legend.
The story as I'd heard it years ago, and re-told on Campy's own corporate blog page Campy World, was that Tullio Campagnolo was celebrating with some friends and wanted to impress them with a fine old bottle of wine from his collection. In trying to open the bottle with the type of corkscrew that was typical of the time, he found that the old cork crumbled and left bits of cork in the wine, spoiling the occasion. So with his sense of ingenuity, he designed a better corkscrew that would pull the cork smoothly and effortlessly without breaking it.
|The bolts that secure the lever arms are instantly recognizable|
as Campagnolo chainring bolts.
Regardless of how it came about, the Cavatappi is a pretty impressive tool for opening wine bottles -- almost overkill, really. In its "resting" position, the thing measures roughly 12 inches tall, and weighs around 2 pounds! But the extra long arms give a tremendous amount of leverage so that even the most stubborn corks are removed effortlessly.
|Not the same. Not even close.|
There are lots of very cheap corkscrews available out there, maybe selling for a few bucks at the grocery store, that bear a slight resemblance to the Campagnolo design, but considerably smaller and lighter. One might assume they would work okay, but they really don't. I can't even count how many times I've been at the homes of friends or relatives, been asked to open a bottle of wine, and been handed one of these pieces of junk -- only to have the cork splinter apart, maybe break in half (with one half still in the bottle), or the corkscrew itself slip, or the lever arms snap off, and even cutting my hand (maybe there was something to that legend). Granted, one could probably buy 50 of these things for the price of the Campy Cavatappi, but that's not really the point, is it?
Recently, Campy has made the Cavatappi available directly to customers through its new webstore online. If fact, the Big Corkscrew is the first item to be featured for sale on the new site.
Overall, the Big Corkscrew is solid and superbly made. The movement of its parts feels precise and smooth. It might be huge, and heavy, and might seem like an unnecessary and expensive indulgence, but it really is a satisfying tool that should last forever.