B.C. corkscrew collector says tools aren't just for wine

Wayne Meadows has been building his collection for decades in his Kitsilano cellar.

Wayne Meadows has collected corkscrews since the '70s and has hundreds on display in his Kitsilano cellar

Wayne Meadows owns the Corkscrew Inn bed and breakfast in Vancouver. (Willow Yamauchi/CBC)

Don't tell Wayne Meadows that corkscrews are just for wine. 

Some smaller ones can open perfume. Others are meant to reveal medicine. One that he owns is meant to uncork shoe polish. 

They also serve as wall art, a decorative pattern for his stain-glassed windows and the name of his bed and breakfast in Vancouver. 

"They are immensely interesting," Meadows said on CBC's North by Northwest.

Meadows says there are more than 1,000 patents in the U.S. for corkscrews. (Willow Yamauchi/CBC)

"If you look at that wall, you see all the different mechanisms. If it's got springs on it, it's probably German, because they love their springs. If it's big and brass, it will probably be Italian." 

"If it's very complicated, it's probably British," he added. "If it's really simple, it's probably American." 

The wall that Meadows is referring to is found in the basement of the Corkscrew Inn, his bed and breakfast in Kitsilano.

It's teeming with hundreds of corkscrews of all shapes and sizes. 

Listen to the full interview with Wayne Meadows. 

Willow Yamauchi introduces us to a man who has more than one personal museum in her on going series on collectors. 9:46

'How could I decorate this place?'

Meadows moved in 1973 to Vancouver from Manitoba, where he had been a wine maker. 

Meadows built a wine cellar in his new space, but found it to be barren. 

"I thought, 'How could I decorate this place?'" he said. "Maybe I couple find a couple old corkscrews somewhere and hang them on the wall." 

The half-dozen he bought multiplied into hundreds. 

Nowadays, Meadows mainly collects vintage finds from the 18th and 19th centuries. He displays many of his corkscrews by their countries of origin. 

One of Meadows' favourites is a corkscrew that functions as a pocket tool.

It includes a pipe reamer, a pipe tamper and a razor — "everything a gentleman needs to travel," Meadows said. 

Much of the design at Meadows' bed and breakfast is corkscrew-themed. (Willow Yamauchi/CBC)

Space is tight

Meadows is still adding to his gallery. 

"I have one at the post office right now I have to pick up this afternoon," he said. 

Thankfully, he's got a second space that's even bigger than his inn's cellar. 

There are some rare corkscrews he hopes to land, but most have been hogged by a rich collector in Romania, Meadows said. 

Unsurprisingly, Meadows has visited that collection — which exceeds 30,000 corkscrews — three times. 


With files from CBC's North by Northwest