Barry Weinman: 16th December 2020
Wondering what to get the wine-fanatic in your life for Christmas? But don’t want to break the bank? Well here are a few items that I have rigorously tested though the year and that have become part of my wine life at home.
Check online for stockists or try your local independent retailer.
Corkscrew: The Durand®
The secret to a good corkscrew is the length of the screw. A longer screw will reach through to the bottom of the cork, reducing the chance of breakage. For wines older than 20 years though, The Durand® is the only device I use. This ingeniously combines an ah-so style opener with a separate corkscrew.
The ah-so releases the cork from the side of the bottle, whilst the corkscrew holds the cork together and helps remove it from the bottle.
A good champagne stopper is essential to preserve the effervescence of your favourite Champagne or Sparkling wine. The best will keep a half-full bottle fresh for up to a week, but they are not miracle workers.
If you repeatedly remove the stopper to top up glasses, then the wine will go flat regardless. Also, the fuller the bottle, the longer it will last.
If you want a bottle to last more than a day, then I recommend pouring out what is required and then immediately popping on the stopper and putting it back in the fridge.
The two best performing stoppers in my tests were:
AVINA Champagne & Wine Locking Bottle Stopper ($20 from Winesave) is attractive and versatile. This seals so well that the bottle can be laid on its side in the fridge. It is also the only stopper that works with ordinary wine bottles as well if needed. This is my personal favourite.
WAF Brevetti ($25 from Vine & Bubble) is a secure stopper with an excellent seal. This is Tyson Seltzer’s preferred stopper.
Wine Preserver (budget)
There are several brands of wine preservers on the market. These are cans of inert gas. To preserve an open bottle, you simply put a squirt into the open bottle before putting the cork back in.
For best effect, pour out all the wine that you require into a glass or decanter and then immediately put in a squirt of gas. This minimises the amount of oxidation. I have found that young wines will last at least a week if done this way.
This means I can open a decent bottle even if I only want a glass or two, and not have to worry about wasting the rest of the bottle.
I am using Private Preserve Wine Preserver at home.
Wine Preserver (prestige)
For the wine lover that has everything, Coravin (Model 3 from $380) may well be the perfect Christmas gift. This device allows the user to enjoy a glass (or more) of wine from a bottle, without removing the cork.
You insert a needle through the wine’s cork and inject an inert gas. This then forces a corresponding amount of wine out of the bottle and into your glass.
The inert gas will protect the remaining wine, preserving it for consumption days or even weeks later.