I've always had a fascination for things that are totally over-engineered. Things like the Bugatti Veyron, a car that has an automatic gear box, leather seats and can be driven as easily as a Holden Commodore yet is capable of reaching over 400Km/h and can get to 100Km/h in just 2.5 seconds from a stand still! Or the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet. A plane so advanced that its computing power is said to be as much as the IBM Blue supercomputer that takes up a whole floor in a warehouse and that, in combat if the enemy does not have two planes for every Raptor it is deemed to be an unfair fight by F-22 pilots!
Both of the above examples took many years to develop and relied upon resources from around the world. So what if you took these elements and applied them to a simple corkscrew? Turns out you get the Code 38 Wine Knife, designed and made by Jeff Toering. It has to be the most over-engineered, most expensive to develop and most expensive corkscrew in the world... which to many might seem a heap of BS! The funny part is that I am reasonably confident that on some level Jeff would agree with that. Yet on another, you have to admire one mans dedication to something most of us probably never give a second thought to as we crack the cork on a bottle of wine many take equally for granted.
Jeff spent over a decade.. yes a decade.. developing the final product. He travelled the world buying as many corkscrews, wine knives and waiter's friends as he could get his hands on to test the competition and to see what separated the good from the bad. Each Code 38 takes many hours to put together and has an expertly made helix (the part you screw into the cork) that comes from France and can be engraved and shipped worldwide for no extra cost!
I've had the pleasure of owning one now for a few months and I must say, it is better than I thought it was going to be, but then again I am not really sure what I expected from a $225 corkscrew! (I realise it is called a wine knife and with all due respect to Jeff the No BS part of me just has to call a spade a spade, or a wine knife a corkscrew). I've opened everything from current vintages to 20 year old corks with it and have not had one single drama. No broken corks, no second attempts... just a smooth, easy pull every time! And before you start over analysing the price, keep in mind a few things. Firstly, it was never really designed for personal/domestic users as it is aimed at wine professionals, sommeliers etc Secondly, if this over-engineering leads to just one special bottle of wine opening properly, where perhaps a cheap corkscrew may have led to a broken cork... it has most probably just paid for itself!
Plus, in my examples above the Bugatti is over 2 million AUD and can't even be registered in Australia while the 20 year old F-22 Raptor is still over 159 million USD, costs over $40,000 US per hour of flight to maintain and cannot be brought outside the US Military. So... all of a sudden the Code 38 at a starting price of $225, with a lifetime warranty, free engraving and shipping seems like an absolute steal and I am told even more improvements and models are in development. I honestly cannot think of a better birthday or Christmas gift for any wine obsessed friends or family you may have!