Sophie Leahy is the powerhouse behind The Wine Opener, and her business was inspired by her mother Mary.

The mother/daughter duo embarked on the mammoth task of seeking out the perfect electronic wine opener - one that could close the accessibility gap for people with strength and dexterity issues in the hands, all while exuding a luxurious and glamorous edge.

The most efficient and logistical things can often have their aesthetics overlooked, but for Sophie, creating something that was chic while being innovatively functional was key.

Read more:Win an amazing wine hamper from Irish family-run business The Wine Opener

After she noticed that her mum would often ask her or her father to open wine for her due to her arthritis, an idea was sparked in Sophie’s mind, and the business was born.

“It was a Covid baby. Life had calmed down completely and it started around a dinner table. My mam has really bad arthritis in her hands and it has become really debilitating in the past few years - I don’t think our climate helps at all.

She loved a glass of wine and she couldn’t use a traditional corkscrew, so that evening she asked me to open it. I said ‘Oh mam, can you not open it?’ and she said no, my hands are gone too bad.”


At the time, Sophie was still working full time in her previous job, and she thought that a wine opener that could take the strain off her mum’s hands would be a great Christmas present for her.

She ordered an electronic wine opener, but was not happy with the result, the one she bought was too heavy, small and fiddly for her mum to work with.

A second one was purchased, which simply did not work when it arrived. The third one was usable, but died a death after four months due to the quality.

“It wasn’t in my mind that I wanted to start up a business, but I worked in marketing and I was always on the go, so Covid gave me the extra time to research. I thought that if I could make a product that my mam could use, then anyone could use it.”


She got feedback from a number of people, who all said an electronic wine opener would be something they are interested in.

“The origins and what we wanted from our hero product was to give people the opportunity and accessibility to open a bottle of wine for people who can’t. And then for people who can, it’s adding a bit of luxury and magic to opening a bottle of time.”

After ordering and developing a number of prototypes, Sophie brought an initial small order of The Wine Opener to market - doing all the packaging and fulfilment herself, and it “grew legs from there.”

A pop up shop in Dundrum was organised, to huge success, and she decided to give the business her all. “I’m working harder than I have ever worked in a corporate environment, but I’m reaping the rewards,” she said.

“There are crazy highs and insufferable lows, you have to be mentally strong. When you are the energy behind it, you are the boss and leader.”

Striking a balance while driving your own business is a massive hurdle for entrepreneurs, and Sophie candidly admits that the work life balance is still a challenge.

During the early months of the business, Sophie shares that she retreated from her social life a lot in order to fulfil all the roles she needed to, but counts herself lucky to be surrounded by support and understanding.


“It is a different time of pressure you put on yourself. My phone is never off.

“The work was so intense all the time but I loved it. AT times I felt like I was being selfish, I prioritised my business over certain social events. I did not feel nice about doing it, but you get better over time.

That is the joy of owning your own business - when it's busy, it's busy, but when it’s quiet, I make hay while the sun shines! I am so lucky that my friends see and acknowledge that. They know this needs my energy.

Whoever has that balance as a business owner, fair play and I hope I get to that one day!”

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