Vine Pruning Shears and Grafting Pliers

The shears are French, from about 1915.

To use these French grafting pliers (from about 1920) a cork, split in half lengthwise, was clamped around the graft.  Wire or string was wrapped around the cork, and then the pliers unlocked and removed.

Folding Grape-picking Knife

This German knife was used to cut the grape clusters from the vines.

Grape-picking Knife and Backpack

This wooden backpack was constructed in about 1900, without the use of nails.

Hoop Driver

In the cooperage, this tool is used to drive down the steel hoops that hold the oak staves together.

Bung Auger

A cooper's tool used to drill the bung hole in an oak stave.  The tapered blade cut holes between one and two inches in diameter. The square fitting above the handle would fit into a steel bar, allowing for more torque to be applied during cutting.

Barrel Bung Keys

To prevent pilferage of wine from a barrel, the threaded steel cone was pounded into the bung.  Only the key with the matching screw thread could remove the bung.

These Italian barrel keys date to the 1700s.

Barrel Taps

Driven into the front bung hole, the tap was used to remove wine from a barrel.

The spade-shaped keyhole in the brass tap allowed only a key with the same shape to turn the tap.

Winery Whisk and Cork Extractor

Winemakers used beaten egg whites to clarify red wine.  These tools are occasionally found in antique stores labelled as "dish rag holders".

Bottles were precious and re-used many times, so corks that had been pushed inside them had to be removed.

Bottle Washer

This contraption from Burgundy clamped to a half-barrel full of water.  A bottle was up-ended over the brush and brass shaft, and a turn of the crank would pump water up inside while spinning the brush.  The water would drain into the brass bowl and down a hose back into the barrel.


This French corker dates to about 1872.

Rack and Pinion Corkers

These are French.  The one on the right is nickel-plated, from about 1875.

Corker for the muscularly inclined

The top of this Italian corker from about 1900 is hinged to allow the cork to be inserted.  It weighs more than six pounds.


One can adjust the cork depth on this French corker, which must have been tedious to operate, by turning the legs on the threaded shaft.

Corker for Champagne

This is French, of course, and specifically designed to insert the cork only part way, leaving room for it to be wired down.  It's from about 1900.

Bottle Guard

This leather bottle "boot" was made in England in about 1870.  To apply any pressure while opening a hand-blown bottle was a dodgy prospect, so one would pop this over top and stand on the two iron foot pieces while pulling the cork.

Drip Catcher

This sterling silver accessory was made in Birmingham, England,  in 1917-1918.  It works just about as well as you'd expect it to.

Pewter Taste-Vin

A crowned goose and a pair of snakes decorate this non-flavour-enhancing taste-vin.

Dutch Silver Taste-Vin

At 83.3%, this is not quite sterling.  It's from about 1911.

Silver Taste-Vin

An unusual egg-shaped taste-vin with perhaps a Cuban connection.  It is engraved Recuerdo del 22 de diciembre 1895.

Llama Taste-Vin

A five-peseta Peruvian coin is embedded in the bottom of this silver taste-vin.

Early Bottle

This is a Dutch "onion" wine bottle, made 1710 to 1720.

Wine Glasses: Old, and Really Old

On the left, an Art Nouveau glass by Meyr's Neffe, from about 1910.

On the right, an English glass dating to about 1740.