Well, full disclosure, you probably won’t DIE if you don’t buy these wine gifts, but I like them and thought some of my winey readers might enjoy them as well.
In other news, sometimes I like to try and be useful.
Note: These wine gifts are cheaper than many actual bottles of wine. Though if you’re coming to my house, I’ll take the wine, thanks.
Wine Gifts You Can Live Without
(but maybe you don’t want to)
1. Nuance Wine Finer $28.42
This “wine finer” is really a wine aerator. Maybe that’s always what “finer” means in the wine world. It makes me think of “Caroliner” in the morning, but maybe that’s just me.
The wine snob types who call aerators “finers” love to say things like “oh, open the wine and let it breeeeeathe” and “that gruyere is DEVINE,” but dammit if most wine really does improve when it’s been open for a while.
Sadly, letting wine breathe requires planning, which isn’t Mike and my’s strong suit. Clutching empty glasses, staring at an open bottle of wine, waiting for it to breathe just isn’t going to happen. It’s like sitting a treat on your dog’s nose. Only more drool.
The Wine Finer slips right into the bottle. As you pour, the wine rolls through tiny holes lining the body of the finer, helping to quickly aerate the wine as it pours. We’ve been using it with Italian wines that REALLY taste better after breathing for a bit, with great success.
If you don’t happen to finish the bottle, you can use the cap that comes with the finer to cork the bottle as well. So I hear. That doesn’t happen much around here.
2. Ozeri Maestro Electric Wine Opener $32.95
We were feeling abused having to buy a fourth one. Looking for alternatives, we stumbled on this electric wine opener, which intrigued us, though it lacked the Old World charm of our marble-based corker. By “intrigued” I mean it was about $100 cheaper.
The Ozeri doesn’t recork the way our big wine opener did, but it does remove the cork cleanly and quickly and makes us feel kinda techy. It also comes with a foil cutter that neatly attaches to the side of the base in an almost decorative way, but the opener is strong enough to rip the cork out without neatly cutting away the foil first.
This is a bonus for me because:
1. I am lazy.
2. It allows me to hand the bottle to Mike with the foil all raggedy at the top, which drives him nuts.
3. Corkcicle Wine Chiller $22.99
Mike and I are very much RED wine drinkers, but now that it’s the end of the world and the temperatures are hovering around 1000 degrees day in and day out, we’ve been enjoying some refreshing white wines. Problem with wine wine, is we have to travel to the refrigerator every time we want a refill, the difficulty of which increases exponentially over the course of the evening.
That’s where the Corkcicle comes in. The Corkcicle slips into the bottle and keeps it cold without diluting the wine (the ice is encased). It’s less of a pain than filling a bucket with ice, especially if you have an ice maker like ours that hands out cubes like they’re made of diamonds.
It works well to bring down the temperature of reds as well, if for some reason your wine cellar (Le Basement) is running a little warm.
4. Weekend Wine Bag $45.95
Where my parents live the restaurants are nearly all BYOB, which is BRILLIANT and saves us a TON of money. The only problem is, the restaurant owners frown when we carry in a whole case of wine. Or maybe that’s just Mom.
To solve that problem we got a SIX BOTTLE carrier. Six is the perfect number of bottles: One for me, one for Mike, one for Dad, one for Mom (she’ll only have one glass but we need a separate bottle because she only drinks crap), and then two spares to split between me, Mike and Dad. Perfect.
This bag also works for overnight visits and hotel stays when you want to avoid ridiculous room service fees.
5. Air Cork The Wine Preserver $23.95
This last wine gift idea I have some reservations about, only due to reviews that showed up on Amazon recently. We saw this product on Invention Hunters, a show that seeks out inventors and then pitches their products to a large corporation who can mass produce them. Air Cork, then called “The Wine Balloon,” won. Anyone who has ever tasted a balloon can understand why the big company suggested a name change.
The idea was simple and elegant: a balloon you lower into the wine and then inflate, sealing the bottle down at the level of the wine and reducing the amount of air with which it comes in contact, thus keeping it fresher for longer.
As I mentioned, bottles don’t usually live long around here, but we bought this because we thought it was neat. We’ve only used it twice, but both times it worked well and left no foreign taste. The two reviews I read said others have had the balloon burst or leak on them, so I dunno if we got lucky or they got unlucky. Maybe they just got a little over zealous pumping it up.
Well, hope the wine gifts ideas mean you won’t be bringing some lame funny napkins to your next party.