Wine is more than an alcoholic beverage. It’s almost a way of life! There are more wine accessories available than you could even imagine. From the necessities like corkscrews and glasses, to the not so necessary yet entertaining accessories like decanters, ice buckets, and pourers- there is more to wine than just drinking it.
While there are hundreds of varieties of corkscrews, they all work in basically the same fashion. You screw one end directly into the center of the wine’s cork, and use a handle to life the cork out of the bottle in order to enjoy your bottle of wine.
If you want something other than a corkscrew, you can find another style of opener that uses cartridges to “pop” the cork out of the bottle. The pop style opens tend to be a little more expensive than the traditional corkscrew, but image is everything when it comes to wine, and a specialty opener may be just the extra accessory you need for your dinner parties or restaurant atmosphere.
Decanters are glass bottles with special shapes designed to encourage the heightening of wine flavors when you store your open wine in them. They also make for a nice presentation when you place the decanter on the table.
There are literally countless different shapes and styles that decanters come in. Many resemblance a glass flower vase. Certain wines should be placed in specific shapes of wine decanters in order to enhance the flavor of the wine to the fullest extent. Others can be stored in any of the fancy decanters.
For an incredible display, you could find a decanter with it’s own base unit. These are highly stylish, and often hold the decanter at an angle, and suspended over the table.
Some decanters come with glass ball stoppers to be placed on the opening of the bottle in order to keep the freshness in when the wine is stored. Air can have damaging effects to the properties of wine, and so it’s typically best to keep open wine in an airtight container.
Additionally, some decanters are able to remove sediments from older wine and aerate younger wines to further enhance their flavors.
Decanters are certainly not necessary to drinking wine (you can place the cork back in the bottle of a wine to keep the air out when you’re not pouring the wine) but they certainly make for a nicer presentation and can actually help the overall flavor of the wine.
Where do you store your wine bottles? If you’re like most people, you keep them in one of your kitchen cabinets until you’re ready to use them, or maybe in the basement. If you drink wine often, however, you would probably enjoy having an elegant and functional wine rack in the kitchen or dining room that is designed to display and hold your wine bottles, glasses, and accessories.
Some wine racks are mounted to overhead cabinet space, so that the bottles are placed lying down inside them, while the glasses hang from their stems. These are perfect for kitchens with decent space under their overhead cabinets. If you do not have the room for this style of wine rack, there are wine racks that sit directly on the counter, and hold the bottles at arms reach.
If your kitchen simply does not have the space on the counter top or under the overhead cabinets for these styles, you can enjoy a wine rack that stands alone. These often have small base units, sometimes refrigerated, as well as space for glasses and accessories. They take up more floor space, but can actually dress up a dining area.
Wine Accessories – The Essential List
Those of us who enjoy wine but who may not splurge on ourselves are missing out on how our wines can be enhanced by the use of some essential wine accessories. There is a large assortment of wine accessories available to the home consumer. The important accessory to the wine consumer depends on what they find most important or appealing. For instance, if you find that when you are pouring your glass of wine and have difficulty mastering the drip free technique, then a drip stop ring is for you. Many wine enthusiasts like to give bottles of wine as gifts and a nice complement to the bottle could be either an inexpensive wine chiller or, for something a little more elegant, a wine gift box which may or may not include additional accessories.
Here is a list of some of the more widely used wine accessories:
- First and foremost is the corkscrew. There are many different styles of wine openings and the type you choose will be based on your personal preference. You may choose a very straight forward portable waiter type, opt for a larger stationary table top model or prefer the popular lever style.
- Very important to the overall wine tasting experience is the glassware. Choosing the correct crystal glassware shape and size can noticeably affect your assessment of a wine. You will be pleased if you take the time to choose the correct glass.
- Adding a wine decanter to your home collection will greatly improve the wine experience. Decanting your wine will allow it to develop and come to life at a much quicker pace. It is especially important for older wines in order to separate out any sediment that may have developed over time.
- For those times when you do not finish that great bottle of wine, you will need a bottle stopper. The quality of your wine can be damaged when there is long term exposure to air so it is imperative to close the bottle before storing. Bottle stoppers have become collectables for people and will make a great gift as well.
The number of wine accessories available is too numerous to explain in depth, the important thing to remember is all of these accessories are meant to improve your wine experience. There is no right or wrong collection of accessories to own, you should utilize what makes your wine experience more enjoyable.
The Top 10 Wine Accessories Everybody Should Have
There are a lot of different tools and accessories available to increase your wine enjoying experience, and while it’s impossible to have all of them, here are ten accessories that I think everyone should have.
A Good Solid CorkscrewCorkscrews can come in a variety of styles, designs, and sizes. Whether you’re a fan of the small hand corkscrew like those used by waiters and bartenders at restaurants or want something larger that sits on your counter, a reliable corkscrew is the first tool that every wine lover should have. I quality corkscrew can make opening bottles easier, and help prevent you from shredding the cork.
If you want a counter-top corkscrew, make sure it has some weight to it – that means pass on those little plastic ones with the suction cup bases. Something with a solid wood or metal base and a good metal arm is a must. If you prefer a smaller corkscrew, I like one where the actual corkscrew part is long and narrow, and with two leverage points for removing the cork, requiring less energy. If you’re really unsure, find a waiter or bartender you trust and ask them what kind of corkscrew they have.
Set of 8 General Purpose Wine GlassesLots of experts will say that you should have separate glasses for red and white, and some will even go so far as to say that different varietals should have their own glasses. While it’s all well and good to have a variety of wine glasses, with the exception of your more fancy dinners and parties what you need is a set of good all around glasses.
An all around wine glass should have an opening and bowl large enough to accommodate red wine without being too large for white wine. This is the kind of glass that you see at some of your more “casual plus” restaurants – they either do not have the budget or the space or the wine selection to justify carrying different glasses for red and white wine, and then carry one that will accommodate both.
A set of eight means you’re ready for you, your significant other, a couple of dinner guests, or a small dinner party. Also, it means that if you break one or two you’re not stuck with a useless set. Your all around wine glasses should not cost more than about $ 5 to $ 10 each, that way if you do break them you’re not out a lot of money. Remember, these will be the glasses that you use after coming home from a long day at work and open up that table wine that is not fancy, but that you love to drink with everything.
A Small to Medium Wine FridgeKeeping your wine at a consistent temperature is important to not only ensuring that it ages properly, but also making sure that it’s at the right temperature when you’re ready to enjoy it. While we’re all love to have a wine fridge that can support hundreds of bottles, realistically, most of us only need one that will hold around 20 bottles at any given time.
As wine has grown in popularity more and more wine refrigerators have become available with a variety of options. Depending on the size you decide on, a respectable wine refrigerator will cost you between $ 100 and $ 200. More expensive fridges will have space for more wine and options like dual zone control, allowing you to store both red and white in them. Personally, I keep my whites in mine during the summer as I drink them more then, and during the cooler months I adjust the temperature and keep several reds in there as I do not have a dual zone fridge.
Wine Chiller / Ice Bucket
Sure, you’ve kept your wine chilled in either a proper wine fridge or your actual refrigerator, but what about after you’ve opened the bottle and are enjoying it? If you’ve ever been to a good quality restaurant and ordered a bottle of white, they probably bought it out in either a marble or metal tube that had been kept in their freezer. Keeping the wine in there when not pouring will ensure that it does not get warm while you’re eating, drinking, and enjoying the company of another person or a group.
In the absence of either a metal or marble chiller, a nice ice bucket is a good way to keep your wine chilled while you enjoy it. Simply put the wine in, place some ice and add a bit of water to give it a nice ice bath to preserve the temperature while you’re drinking it. Many stores sell an electric chiller for a single bottle, and while these are nice, they are often extremely expensive and are not nearly as effective as chilling the bottle ahead of time and then preserving the temperature with an ice bucket or metal / marble chiller . They’re good for bringing a bottle of red down a few degrees, but you’re better off just getting a wine fridge for that purpose when it comes down to it.
A Quality Foil CutterSure, a lot of bottles are moving towards screw-cap, and many others are starting to add little pull tabs that make it easy to remove the foil cap. All of that being said, there are still far more wineries that are still wrapping their heads in foil without any means to remove it. While any corkscrew will come with a knife to remove this, there is also the danger of cutting yourself with the knife.
Foil cutters can be found either by themselves or in accessory packages. You simply place them over the top of the wine bottle, apply pressure, and rotate them, cutting a circle around the top of the foil that can then be removed to provide access to the cork. What’s nice about a foil cutter is that they provide a clean cut, remove any danger to yourself, and will not shred the foil into little bits that can find their way into the bottle if you’re not careful. At only a few dollars at an wine shop, there’s no reason not to have one of these stored next to your corkscrew.
Drip CollarMost of us have had the experience of pouring a glass of wine, and then having to catch the drip that starts a race down the side of the bottle. A drip collar is a great way to avoid drops making their way down a bottle to come to rest on your counter, floor, or carpeting. A simple piece of metal with a felt lining is simply placed around the neck of the bottle and held in place by your hand while you pour. Any wine that drips over is just absorbed into the felt instead of staining a surface in your home.
For around $ 10 you can rest easy knowing that you will not be damaging any surface in your home, and is not $ 10 better than having to replace a piece of carpet?
DecanterA decanter serves a couple of functions for your wine. It helps to aerate it, allowing the flavors and aromas to open up and it helps to serve as a pitcher for serving the wine. Decanters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Pricing varies depending on the size, design, what it’s made of, and quite frankly, where you buy it from.
Allowing your wine to sit in a decanter for 15 to 30 minutes after opening is great for opening up your wine and ensuring that you get the most out of it. A decanter can turn a $ 10 wine into a $ 20 one just by allowing all the flavors to be presented. You can find a serviceable decanter starting at about $ 20, but they do go upwards of $ 80 to $ 100 for more elaborate decanters made out of more expensive materials.
AeratorDecanting your wine is great, but what if you’re not going to drink the entire bottle? What if you’re drinking from a larger bottle like a magnum or from a box? If a decanter is not a viable option, but you still want to improve the flavor and aroma of your wine, an aerator is a great way to do this. These come in a variety of options, with some being placed in the glass after the wine has been beloved to force air into the wine, and others having the wine poured through them to allow air in faster. Either way, this allows you to essentially decant on a glass by glass basis, which is great for those that do not drink wine a bottle at a time.
An aerator can cost you almost as much as a decanter, but it’s a must have if you do not already have a decanter as it gives you the benefits of one without having to bottle a time and then store a large glass vessel .
Vacuum Seal CorksNot all of us enjoy wine by the bottle. Some do still enjoy it by the glass, and there’s nothing wrong with that. To help prolong the life of your bottle, vacuum seal corks are a must have. There are various versions available, but they all do the same thing – remove excess air from the bottle to help reserve the wine.
A set including a couple of corks and the pump will run you between $ 10 and $ 15, but not having to worry about your wine turning on you before you finish the bottle is something you can not put money on.
Wine RackKeeping your wine in a wine fridge is great, but if you’re anything like me, your supply of wine far exceeds what a wine fridge is going to support. A wine rack is perfect for keeping your wine organized, out of direct sunlight, and in the proper position to keep the cork from drying out and crumbling into the wine itself.
Wine racks come in too many varieties to discuss here, so finding a wine rack that’s right for you is as simple as deciding how big of one you need and what you want it to look like. Most of your local home furnishing retailers will carry a wide selection of wine racks, so the only thing stopping you from getting it is going out and actually purchasing one.
Not All There Is
This is certainly not all of the wine accessories that are out there, just some of my favorite ones that I think would serve every wine lover to own. Any of these can be found in your local wine shops, home retailers, or online at stores like Amazon.com.
Wine Accessories Gifts
Just as you need more than food to enjoy a meal, there are wine accessories that make wonderful gifts and make drinking wine more pleasurable. Wines come in many varieties with different characteristics that are best enjoyed with the proper glassware. A set of these essentials is a good place to start your quest for the perfect gift.
To enjoy wine to its fullest extensive, the shape of the glass plays a very important role; helping to aerate and concentrate the aroma of the wine. The wine glass you choose should have an adequate stem length for proper handling. Although it is quite common for wine to be served in a wine tumbler or to see people hold the bowl of a wine glass, they forget that wine needs to “breathe” and the heat of the hand can affect the taste of the wine.
Many people shy away from purchasing wine glass stemware because they have concerns about breakage. Today there are many manufacturers who are using technology and titanium instead of lead to design wine glasses that are stronger than crystal making them incredibly break resistant with a stem that actually works better to aerate the wine.
Here are a few glasses wine accessory gift shopping tips:
o Red wines such as Cabernet, Merlot and Bordeaux, are best served in glasses are designed with wide, generous bowls to allow you to enjoy their bold bouquet.
o White wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are best served in glasses are distinguished by their narrow bowl.
o Champagne wine glasses are also called “flutes” denoting their graceful, slender design.
Another gift that is an essential wine accessory is the wine opener. If you think all corkscrew are basically the same, you are in for a surprise. Beyond the corkscrew you have seen used in fine restaurants, there are pump style corkscrews that are ideal for the person who unique items. This corkscrew works without any twisting or tugging. You simply insert the needle into the cork, push the button, and the cork is removed instantly without any effort. Most of these corkscrews are designed to work on any type of bottle, including those with “flange-tops.” Corking / uncorking machines that come with their own stand or can be table mounted are also very popular.
You may be familiar with wine decanters, many people think they are used as decorative ways to hold wine. While wine decanters make lovely dining table centers, this wine accessory gift actually serves a more important purpose: decanting improves the taste of wine by removing the sediment that naturally occurs in wine, particularly the red variety and it also helps to aerate the wine.
Where and how is the best way to store wine? Most people enjoy their wine chilled and wine coolers make a wonderful gift for the lover of white or sparkling wines. This wine accessory gift makes it convenient to have a well stocked supply of all their favorites. Wine coolers come in all sizes from one that is small enough for the kitchen or large enough to hold 100 bottles of wine and serve as a refrigerated wine cellar. These are just a few wine accessory gifts that are available today for the wine enthusiast that are sure to please them.