While the wine-gadget market is saturated with everything from illuminated corkscrews to waterless ice cubes, the best hold more than novelty value: they actually enhance the drinking experience and offer a return on investment each time you reach for another bottle of wine from your collection.
A blend of innovation and aesthetics, today’s crop of smart accessories has the potential to change the way we drink, using technology to address dilemmas every wine drinker has faced: What if I want a glass but not an entire bottle? What to do if I don’t have an hour to decant my wine? What’s the correct temperature to serve this bottle of Chardonnay at?
The brains behind these game-changing wine accessories could be tech entrepreneurs, electronics engineers or inventors, but all are brilliant minds who share more than a passion for a good drop of wine. Each has experienced one of life’s light-bulb moments and devoted much time to turning a concept into a product to share with wine lovers around the world.
Three intelligent wine accessories you need in your life right now:
When his wife fell pregnant, Greg Lambrecht realised he’d lost his fine-wine drinking partner for at least nine months. Contemplating just how much wasted wine that would equate to if he opened a bottle and didn’t finish it, the medical device inventor got to work to devise a way to enjoy a glass of wine without having to commit to a bottle — and to remove the cork. Seven years later, his Coravin System finally hit the market, sending waves of excitement throughout the industry.
How it works
The Coravin looks like an elaborate corkscrew, except rather than pulling the cork out, a fine, elongated needle is inserted in, drawing out enough of the liquid inside to fill a 150ml glass in less than 30 seconds. Once the measure of wine is removed, a layer of inert argon gas is injected in its place to prevent oxidation — and the cork remains completely intact. The beauty of the Coravin System is that it also allows you to come back and explore wines in your cellar as they progress from youth to maturity.
Vinturi wine aerator
Rio Sabadicci admits that he was more a scotch-on-the-rocks kind of guy until a friend opened his eyes to just how different a wine can taste given time and exposure to air in a decanter. Not only was his passion for wine stirred, but a challenge undertaken — how to achieve in seconds what a decanter achieves in an hour? Eight months later, the electrical engineer had invented the Vinturi wine aerator.
How it works
Drawing on the scientific principle it is named after, the venturi effect, Rio’s device is as straightforward as it is effective. As you pour from a bottle, through the opening of the Vinturi aerator and into the glass, the liquid passes through a narrow section, where an increase in velocity combined with a decrease in pressure occurs. This draws in just the right amount of air, which blends in with the wine. In the time it takes to fill your glass, the equivalent of an hour’s traditional decanting has been replicated.
Wine lover and tech entrepreneur David Koretz found himself faced with three equally unsatisfactory situations the evenings before he left for one of his frequent business trips. If he opened a bottle of wine, he’d either drink it all, pour what he didn’t drink down the sink, or just abstain from opening anything at all. His solution is due to hit the market in mid-2017. Plum is a sleek appliance that both preserves a bottle and ensures the wine is served at ideal drinking temperature each time you refill your glass. One Plum can fit two bottles.
How it works
The entire bottle — closure and all — is inserted inside the Plum. From there, technology takes over. Thermoelectric cooling chills each bottle separately to an optimal temperature, although there is the option to set it to whatever temperature you desire. Similar to the Coravin, the Plum employs a needle to pierce through the closure and remove a serving of wine while simultaneously inserting inert argon gas to preserve it for up to 90 days.
But the Plum offers some fancy extras — 1GB RAM, wi-fi connectivity, and an HD camera that scans each label to identify the essential details: varietal, vintage, region, winery and wine. Initially, Plum will only be available for purchase in the US.