A private collection of more than a thousand pieces from around the world, from the 17th century to today.
In the heart of the 40 hectare vineyard of the Domaine de la Citadelle, more than 1000 corkscrews are on exhibition.
The first corkscrews appeared in the mid-17th century.
It appears, without doubt, to be an English invention. It's generally thought the the idea came from the spiralled bit on the instrument that was provided with firearms and used to extract bullets from a wound.
It is, indeed, at this time that the English started to mature their wines in bottles instead of barrels. Before that, wine regions had the practice of keeping their wines in casks before drawing them into pitchers.
With the industrial age, the form of the glass bottle changed: we moved from the form called "onion bulb" to the cylindrical form that we know today, a form which permits us to easily stock the bottles.
At that same time, the bottleneck now being narrower, it was necessary to make corks with parallel sides which were compressed before being inserted into the bottle to guarantee perfect airtightness. So a cork extractor, the corkscrew, became essential.
The oldest piece in our Museum is French and dates from the end of the 17th century.
The earliest corkscrews were simple instruments, often in the form of a "T", which need force to be used. They were hand-crafted by gold- or blacksmiths, the only people at the time mastering metalwork.
Up until the arrival of commercial factories in the 19th century, each corkscrew was, in general, a unique piece. They were "tailor-made" and personalized with initials or seals.
With the Industrial Revolution and the use of machine tools, the makers let their imaginations run free and created corkscrews ever more practical and efficient.
Musée du Tire-Bouchon - Domaine de la Citadelle - 84560 Ménerbes
+33 (0)4 90 72 41 58http://www.domaine-citadelle.com/