Struggling with the corkscrew

Is it proper to intervene when somebody’s struggling with a corkscrew? BEPPI CROSARIOL WINE & SPIRITS COLUMNIST
THE QUESTION Every time I see somebody struggling with a cork, I
get the urge to intervene before the thing invariably breaks into
pieces. Am I arrogant?

On the contrary. You are a good soul with a high purpose. You want
people to enjoy good wine in its pure state, without having to first
pass the liquid through a cone-shaped coffee filter or a sweaty

 Some people take to uncorking better than others. I suspect the
inferior ones are also bad at physics. You’ve got to maintain correct
angles at all times and you’ve got to be able to recognize when that
little cylinder of tree bark is so dry that it’s going to strip when you
pull with too much pressure.

 Each cork – assuming it’s the natural kind, not made of plastic and
not one of those composite corks pressed into a cylinder using cork
fragments and glue – is different. Some strip or crack easily, some
don’t. It’s always a good idea to go slowly. If you’re good at it, and by
your question I assume you are, it’s okay to offer to come to the
rescue, particularly in the case of a precious bottle. Just be courteous and amusing about it. Say something like, “That seems dry. It looks
like it’s preparing to break. I hope you won’t be offended, but I’m
actually really good at opening wine bottles because I get so much
practice at my house! Can I give it a whirl?”

 Should your undertaking fail, at least you can take comfort in the
fact that you spoke up. And now that I’ve answered your question,
could you do me a favour in return? Come to my place and help me
twist off a screw cap from this bottle of New Zealand sauvignon
blanc? I’m thirsty and it’s stuck.