The Cellar Door - Wine Gadgets

It’s getting late!  Christmas is just around the corner and you need some gift ideas for the wine lover on your list.  Or for yourself.  Or maybe you’re just tired of ruining the cork and still not getting it out of the bottle.  There are any number of wine gadgets available, many are a waste of money, but some are not only necessary but indispensible. First of all- get rid of that awful $1.99 grocery store winged demon you call a cork puller!  You know the one, with the 2 wings that go up as you screw its drill bit with the knife blades into the cork. Then you rip out the guts of the cork while leaving the rest in the bottle.  Get yourself a decent waiter’s type corkscrew, preferably with 2 hinges on the part which goes over the lip of the bottle.  It really isn’t too hard to learn how to use.  It needs to have a worm (the screw part) which is thin, preferably Teflon coated and long enough to get most corks.  Don’t skimp on one with a lousy worm. They cost from $10.00 to sky’s the limit for super fancy, diamond encrusted models.  But all it has to do is remove the cork in 1 piece in a simple a motion.

Foil cutter. I love this device to remove the top of the foil.  That way I don’t have to depend on the often poor knife blade on the corkscrew.  Easy to use and small.  About $5.00 - $10.00

Rapid Ice Wine Chiller.  This is a sleeve you keep in the freezer.  When you need a bottle chilled quickly, you slide the bottle inside and set on the counter.  In a few minutes, the wine is a good temperature to serve.  It also works to cool down a bottle of red which is at our local ambient temperature of 28 – 30 Celsius.  $12.00 for 2.

Vacuvin saver pump and stoppers.  This is essential to preserve that partial bottle.  Ok, maybe you opened a 2nd bottle and didn’t finish it.  Very easy to use: insert the stopper in the bottle and put the pump on top and pump out the air.  Just remember to push the little vacuum release on the top of the stopper before pulling it out.  It pays for itself very quickly.  $10.00.  Extra stoppers are available for about $10.00 for a package of 3.

Champagne stopper.  I find this essential too.  Sparkling wine loses its fizz very quickly.  This little device locks over the top of the bottle and keeps the bubbles where they should be before they end up in your glass.  $15.00 or less.

Wine server.  This is handy, particularly if you tend to drip wine when pouring.  It inserts in the open end of the bottle and allows you to pour neatly.  Just be sure to remember to remove it before discarding the bottle.  And clean it each time.  $7.50 for a package of 2.

Decanter.  Although not essential, it is very handy to have a decanter to use with older wine which may have thrown some sediment or a very young and heavy wine which needs some air to open up.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.

Aerators.  Don’t waste your money!  Decanting the wine (see above) or several seconds of swirling in a glass works much better.

About the author:
M. Stefan has over 20 years experience in the wine trade and has traveled extensively throughout the wine producing regions of the world.  His column is a regular feature of La Playa Community.  He can be reached at and appreciates your comments.