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 wine accessories that I think everybody should have.
A Good Solid Corkscrew
Corkscrews 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 of wine easier, and help prevent you from shredding the cork into the wine.
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 Glasses
Lots of wine experts will say that you should have separate glasses for red and white wine, 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 wine 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 don’t have the budget or the space or the wine selection to justify carrying different wine glasses for red and white wine, and thus 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 shouldn’t cost more than about $5 to $10, 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 isn’t fancy, but that you love to drink with everything.
A Small to Medium Wine Fridge
Keeping your wine at a consistent temperature is important to not only ensuring that it ages properly, but also to making sure that it’s at the right temperature when you’re ready to enjoy it. While we’d all love to have a wine fridge that can support hundreds of bottles of wine, 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 wine 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 the wine? If you’ve ever been to a good quality restaurant and ordered a bottle of white, they probably brought 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 doesn’t 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 wine 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 wine chiller for a single bottle, and while these are nice, they are often extremely expensive and aren’t nearly as effective as chilling the bottle ahead of time and then preserving the temperature with an ice bucket or metal/marble chiller. They are 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 Cutter
Sure, a lot of wine 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 wines that are still wrapping theirs 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 wine 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 won’t shred the foil into little bits that can find their way into the wine 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.
Most 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 wine drip collar is a great way to avoid wine 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 won’t be damaging any surface in your home, and isn’t $10 better than having to replace a piece of carpet?
A decanter serves a couple of functions for your wine. It helps to aerate the wine, 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 your wine. A decanter can turn a $10 wine into a $20 wine 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.
Decanting your wine is great, but what if you’re not going to drink the entire bottle? What if you’re drinking for a larger bottle like a magnum or from a box? If a decanter isn’t 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 poured to force air into the wine, and others having the wine poured through them to allow wine in faster. Either way, this allows you to essentially decant wine on a glass by glass basis, which is great for those that don’t 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 don’t already have a decanter as it gives you the benefits of one without having to do a bottle at a time and then store a large glass vessel.
Vacuum Seal Corks
Not 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 preserve 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’t put money on.
Keeping 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 .
About the Author