When visiting wineries, you will see a plethora of retail options for you to purchase. Some of them are very useful gadgets if you drink a lot of wine at home. Some of them are just a waste of money. Which is which really depends on if you’re just an occasional wine consumer at home, or if you enjoy a bottle regularly.
One of the most useful wine products I’ve found, and certainly the best value for the money, is called a Wine-Tapa. They’re for sale at many of the Texas Hill Country wineries, as well as online. You put it on top of your wine glass when sipping outside, to prevent the inevitable fruit fly or other insect dive bombing and drowning in your wine as soon as you set it down.
Fun fact: fruit flies are attracted to sweeter wines, such as Sherry, which is produced in southern Spain. For centuries, Spanish sherry drinkers have covered their wine goblets with a small piece of bread or ham, to prevent any unwanted insect invaders. These wine toppers eventually became a course of food in their own right, consumed between the traditional
lunch time (1-4 pm) and dinner (9-11 pm). The Spanish word meaning “to cover” is tapear, and this early evening snack became known as “tapas.”
On the other end of the price scale is a wonderful device for the occasional drinker. If you only have a glass or two at a time, and find yourself with a half-empty bottle of wine that goes bad before you finish it, you may consider investing in a Coravin.
This device works by inserting a small metal straw through the cork of the bottle (this only works with natural cork). When you depress the button, the inert gas argon is pumped into the bottle, displacing the wine, which is then dispensed through the spout. When you remove the needle, the natural cork seals itself within a minute, and no oxygen is introduced to your wine. This means that you can pour yourself a glass of wine without actually opening the bottle, and the wine will stay fresh as long as it would otherwise.
There are different models, which range in price from $200-$500. They can be purchased at finer stores such as Neiman-Marcus, Williams-Sonoma, and Sur La Table. Eventually, you would need to replace the argon gas canister, but these will last a while and cost less than $20 each.
Another inexpensive yet helpful little tool is the wine drop ring collar. This is a simple ring, usually metal or wood, with a felt interior, that slips over the neck of your wine bottle. It catches the last little drop of wine from each pour before it becomes a drop on your white tablecloth or someone’s clothes. It’s extremely straight-forward and makes a significant difference if you find yourself pouring wine into a lot of glasses in social situations. The least expensive ones are less than a dollar, although highly-crafted artistic ones made of more precious materials can be found online for more than $70. It’d be easy to overlook the functionality of such a small addition to your wine service.
What is your favorite wine gadget?