Port tongs alongside a bottle of Port wine.

Port tongs (Portuguese: Tenaz) are a special set of tongs designed to open wine bottles that are sealed with a cork. The tongs are heated over an open flame and held against the neck of the wine bottle for 20–30 seconds. The heated section of bottle is then cooled with a damp cloth or ice water, causing the glass to fracture due to thermal expansion. The result is generally a clean, predictable break. Any possible shards of glass are strained out, along with any sediment, when pouring the wine into a decanter.[1]

The tongs are intended for use when the cork cannot be removed with a normal corkscrew, such as old corks that would break apart and crumble into the wine.[2] This is more common for high-alcohol fortified wines, such as port: the alcohol acts as a natural preservative, allowing the wine to be aged for decades. The tongs can be used for any type of bottle, but are generally uncommon.[3] Outside of Portugal, they are typically only found in very well-equipped, high-end establishments.[1]

Port tongs were invented in the region of Douro.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Port Tongs". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  2. ^ Bespaloff, Alexis (24 November 1986). "For Grape Nuts Only". New York Magazine. p. 71. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  3. ^ Mayson, Richard (26 November 2018). Port and the Douro: Fourth edition. p. 265. ISBN 9781910902950.
  4. ^ "Glossário: Tenaz". Especialização em Produção Enológica] (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 8 September 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2021.