A Wine Gadget for the Urologist in All of Us

Glenn Matsumura

The idea came to him in a dream. After a day spent removing a patient's kidney stone and an evening spent trying to extract a brittle cork from a bottle of expensive liqueur, Los Angeles urologist Marty Gelbard, '72, put two and two together -- in his sleep. The home craftsman awoke with a plan and rushed to his workshop to fashion the original Corkfish from heavy-duty wire.

Based on a device called the kidney-stone basket -- a basic tool for urologists -- the stainless steel Corkfish can extract both intact and broken corks that get pushed into bottles, saving home connoisseurs and restaurant sommeliers the indignity of filtering the contents into a decanter. "There are other gadgets out there to get out corks," says Gelbard," but none that get out the pieces." The Corkfish comes with a "fishing tips" sheet that helps in retrieving corks from more complicated bottles, like cabernets.

On the market since last winter, the $20 Corkfish is already a favorite at Napa Valley's upscale grocery Dean & Deluca, which has placed multiple reorders with Cortech, Gelbard's fledgling company. "It's pretty easy," he says of his invention. "Plus it's kind of fun just to fiddle around with."