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2007 Best in Category: Kitchenware & Barware

Le Creuset Of America Inc.

Champagne Cork Catcher

When the team at Screwpull sits down to tackle new product development, they have an advantage.

“Everyone [here] is so focused on cooking and entertaining that we all enjoy wine and appreciate the entire wine process,” said Andrew Welkley, Screwpull brand manager. “It’s fun when you have a product that you enjoy being a part of. It allows people to brain storm and say ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’”

The Screwpull Champagne Cork Catcher, designed by Claude Mauffette, won Best in Category for Kitchenware and Barware at fourth annual Housewares Design Awards in New York City.

“Screwpull has always been really based on design and looking at how people experience wine and enjoy it,” said Welkley. “We break the process down and look at where little changes can be made to make the wine experience better.”

Screwpull as a company got its start when a Texas oilman invented a product at the behest of his wife, who had trouble opening a bottle of wine for guests while her husband was out of town. She demanded that he design a better way to open a bottle, and the idea stuck. “A problem was addressed, with the goal being to get to the wine,” said Welkley.

That ‘spirit’ has stuck through the more than 25 years since the original Screwpull product was invented. The Champagne Cork Catcher is no different.

“When someone’s going to open a bottle of champagne, they either get out a dishtowel, or everyone ducks for cover, both of which destroy the celebratory atmosphere,” said Welkley. “This product was born out of that part of the experience. The ‘pop’ of bottle opening is part of what makes champagne so much fun. But dish towels and flying corks detract from the experience.”

The Cork Catcher allows the pop and celebration to happen but gives the person opening the bottle more comfort. “Opening a bottle of sparking wine can be intimidating,” Welkley said. “This product takes that out of the equation.”

This is an extension of the way Screwpull has always operated— looking for a way to make the wine experience better.

Industrial designer Claude Maufette is also passionate about wine, so he meshes with the Screwpull philosophy.

“He breaks down the experience into parts— storage, preparation, opening, serving and preservation,” Welkley said of Maufette. “He looks at each step individually and then together, and looks for ways to make the process smoother, that enhance the process without taking away from what’s important— the wine.”

That’s how Screwpull thinks about product development in the wine experience, said Welkley. “’Hey, wouldn’t it be better if...?’ With the Champagne Cork Catcher, it was pretty easy to identify one of those spots and eliminate those flying corks.”

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