Essential Wine Accessories
A glass of wine at the end of the day makes for a very relaxing evening, and bringing out those old bottles for special events is always a welcome treat. If you are planning your next big get-together, ensure that you have the accessories you need to serve wine without the hassle. Some of these accessories include an aerator, a decanter, and, for the extra-fancy, a wine pourer. All of these wine accessories, while not necessary all the time, are essential to the overall experience for your guests, and can make any dinner feel like it’s at a 5-star restaurant. Below are some of the most sought-after wine accessories that you can consider for your next gathering, or you can pick up for yourself for a special evening alone. No matter the occasion, your next bottle of wine is going to be spectacular.
Besides being instrumental to enjoying that exotic Italian wine you picked up, wine glasses are one of the best wine accessories to own because they come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. A set of wine glasses is where you can really show your personality, and many homes have more than one set to bring out for special occasions, like the holidays. However, not everyone knows what wine glasses are best for what wines, and often use whatever’s on-hand. While not too many people will judge you for pouring white wine in the red wine glass, it’s good to have the knowledge on hand for the next family gathering.
Red wine glasses are among the most popular types of wine glasses. They have a large bowl with tall sides, great for holding copious amounts of your chosen beverage. Red wine glasses are shaped in such a way to help aerate the wine as you swish it around, allowing the flavors to become more full the longer you drink.
White wine glasses, on the other hand, feature a narrower bowl and shorter sides. Because white wines don’t need to aerate like reds do, they don’t need the extra space for their flavor. Theoretically, you can drink your red wines out of white wine glasses, but you’d be missing out on some of the fuller flavors of the wine unless you own an aerator or a decanter.
Finally, there are you champagne flutes, which are extraordinarily tall and narrow, perfect for taking up very little space on wedding tables and in crowded rooms. Generally, most people don’t use these for their regular wines, and are often only brought out for special occasions as no amount of swishing is going to aerate a red wine in such a tiny space.
Decanters and Aerators
Decanters and aerators are two different tools that achieve essentially the same end goal. Many people would pass them off as the same thing – decanters being the less automated version of an aerator, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Decanters and aerators, while both serve the same purpose of airing out the wine before serving, do so under much different circumstances, and have their own places in many wine circles.
A decanter is used for aerating wine for longer periods of time. Whether it’s a formal dinner, or you’re going to have the wine out for a while. A decanter aerates slowly, allowing the flavor profile to change over a longer period of time. In many cases, the wine can stay in the decanter for hours and not be at risk for spoiling. When wine is poured into a decanter, the air that touches the wine changes its flavor, making it different each time a glass is poured. The best wine decanter will have a narrow neck and a wide, open chamber to allow a lot of wine to touch the air at once.
A good wine decanter set will include a decanter appropriate for use with any red wine, and a couple of wine glasses to match. Some may also include a rack to store your decanter, or even still, may also have an attachable aerator to go in the spout. Generally, the decanter alone will run you about $50 for a good quality product, but depending on the brand as well as where you shop, you could look at an easy $100 – $250 for the decanter, 4 glasses, purifier, and other little accessories.
An aerator instead incorporates air into the wine using a faster method. While the wine passes through the aerator, small bubbles of air are introduced, softening the tannins in the wine and making it lighter and more flavorful. It’s fast and easy, great for quick meals where you need to serve wine at its best in minutes instead of hours. Some of the best wine aerators feature a pourer, where you can simply put the aerator on the wine bottle itself and pour the freshly aerated wine directly into the glass.
Aerators are much cheaper than decanters, considering they’re smaller so as to fit on the end of your bottle, however electric aerators can be more expensive. Many small aerators run between $10 – $25, and range from very simple aerate pourers to novelty designs for extra-special occasions. Wine aerator gift sets may also include items such as corkscrews and glass markers, priced between $30 – $50 for a good quality set.
Other Wine Accessories
Wine-lovers have lots of options to accessorize their evenings with. Wine glass markers, corkscrews, and electric bottle openers are among some of the most beloved wine accessories on the market today. These wine bottle accessories not only help get the wine out of the bottle, but also help to preserve additional wine left over after a night with friends.
The electric corkscrew is a must for anyone who drinks a lot of wine throughout the week. Lots of people have a handy manual corkscrew for the occasional bottle, but serious wine drinkers should consider keeping one of these lovely tools on hand for big events. The electric corkscrew effortlessly opens any wine bottle, requiring next to no hand strength to operate. There are several wine kits that feature this kind of tool alongside the standard bottle corks and wine glass markers, ensuring that you don’t ever have to manually open a bottle again.
While some aerators also feature a wine-pouring spout, some people choose instead to just pour the wine into the glass straight from the bottle. A wine pourer is nice if you want the wine to flow out of the bottle in a way that reduces mess around the glass. It also very slightly aerates the wine as it falls, but most of the aeration in this way happens in the glass itself. This sort of tool is ideal for very old wines, as decanting or aerating them too much will cause them to lose their flavor profile all together. For wines that have aged for 10 or more years, minimal aeration is great because the flavors have already settled together and are as full as they’re going to get.
Some wine accessories gift sets include a wine thermometer. If you want to get very technical about how you serve your wine for the best taste, this is the ideal tool for you. Many people serve wines right out of the bottle regardless of temperature, but the best wines deserve to be served at the right temperatures. For reference, many red wines serve best at around 65 degrees (a little cooler than room temperature), while white wines are better served at around 45 degrees.
Vacuum Wine Stoppers
Haven’t finished that bottle of wine? Afraid of it going bad in storage? Have no fear! A vacuum bottle stopper ensures that air is removed from the bottle, and that no more air gets inside. Removing the air from the open bottle prevents the flavor profile from changing any more, which in turn ensures that the wine will be exactly as it was when you put it away. Wines can go bad if not stored properly, and a vacuum wine stopper is just the thing to store your bottle until next time, whenever that next time is. On average, vacuum sealing your wine for storage this way greatly increases shelf life, and the tools are incredibly affordable to boot.
There are many other tools on the market targeted exclusively for wine-lovers all around the world. From opening the bottle to putting it away, there are options for everyone. A lot of the products listed can be found online for reduced prices, allowing for thrifty shoppers to grab great deals. Occasionally, wine-centered websites will also have wine gift sets to purchase or as a giveaway. Searching for the best wine accessories may seem daunting at first, but if you know where to look and what to look for, you can spot quality products and great deals. Amazon is a fantastic place to look for multi-piece wine kits, and they often have more than enough wine accessories for several bottles. So drink, be merry, and enjoy your bottle with the accessories to make your next bottle of wine taste even better.