Like any hobby or interest, there are a myriad of “wine accessories” out there all claiming to make wine taste better in one way or another, however a quick assessment of these claims goes to show that many of them are just junky trinkets – or the kind of drawer-filling, ahem, “stuff” that most of us have plenty of kicking around already. So how can you decipher useful, helpful and worthwhile wine accessories from useless clutter? Today we’ll take a look at 8 wine accessories and share our views as wine professionals on which of these are worth you attention, and which we would recommend you pass on purchasing.
#1: Good Wine Glasses
Next to the wine itself, the single best place to spend a bit of money if you enjoy wine with any regularity is on a good set of glasses. There are different shapes and sizes for different wines, but starting out with a good generic set of quality Bordeaux shaped glasses will definitely make wines you’re already buying taste better. Look for a large bowl and thin lip – either crystal or glass.
Along with a set of really good wine glasses, decanters are an accessory that will have a consistent and noticeable impact on your enjoyment of wine. Again, this needn’t be a huge spend – or a particular fancy design – but have a decanter with a large round base will give you a tool to help expose your wine to a bit of air which enhances flavours and aromas if allowed to sit for even 15-20 minutes before consuming the wine.
VERDICT: Good Investment
#3: Wine Preservation Systems
Wine preservation systems like Coravin allow you to draw wine out of a bottle through a needle without ever removing the cork. This allows you to extend the enjoyment of a single bottle out over weeks or months, rather than being forced to enjoy it in a single sitting. This system definitely works, even if it’s a bit pricey. If you want to drink more expensive bottles without having to enjoy them in a single sitting, this is a great option.
VERDICT: Pricey but effective
Obviously, unless you plan on sticking solely to wines packaged under screwcap, you’re going to need a corkscrew to get at your wine. I’ve found that there’s very little difference between a basic double-hinged waiter-style corkscrew and any of the fancier gizmos out there. Buy what makes you happy, but my preference is to have a bunch of these around, but have never identified a noticeable advantage to spending much on corkscrews.
VERDICT: Don’t spend a lot – but buy a few
#5: Wine Storage Racks + Fridges
Storing wine on its side and at a stable temperature is important if you plan on aging wines. If collecting and aging wines isn’t a priority, most of us already have a refrigeration device in our kitchens perfectly able to chill white wines before we drink them – and it doesn’t take fancy chrome shelving units to find a way to store bottles on their sides as they await consumption.
VERDICT: Handy but not necessary
#6: Wine Tasting Aids
If you’re really into wine – or enjoy hosting wine tasting parties with your friends, you may find that wine tasting aids like Le Nez du Vin are helpful and fun tools. These concentrated extracts are intended to help wine tasters identify aromas in wines and improve their ability to describe what they’re smelling. Wine geek chic? For sure. Necessary tool to enjoy a bottle of wine? Nope.
VERDICT: Can be fun and useful if you’re really into wine
So, we’re told that these help pour wine with less dripping. I guess they might help with this a bit, but I’ve found these to be the ultimate trinkety clutter – the kind of product that solves a problem most of us have never noticed existing in our lives, and as such the need for such a solution is marginal, at best. Save your money – don’t buy these.
The most useless pieces of junk on this list. Sure, pourers are drawer-fillers, but at least they more or less fulfill their promised purpose, useless as it may be. Save the exception of sparkling wine stoppers, which when made well can help keep sparkling wines sparkling for a longer period of time, stoppers designed to “preserve” table wines are ineffective – in my experience, less effective than the cork you pulled from the bottle in the first place.