If you really just want to drink some wine, the only thing you need is a wine bottle and a safe way of getting into it. But if you’re a newbie or even veteran wine lover, you should probably stock up on a few essential accessories. We’re not talking wine-pun pillows or novelty cups, we mean the equipment that’s actually going to enhance the experience of drinking wine. Yes, it can actually get better.
Wine Bottle Opener
Easy choice, since step number one is getting into the bottle of wine. And while cheap options are out there, what you want in a wine bottle opener is sturdiness and reliability. Your best bets are the classic Corkscrew Wine Bottle Opener or the simple, reliable Waiter’s Friend style. (Having one of each is probably a safe bet, especially since that means you can open twice as many bottles come party time.)
Wine Bottle Stoppers
In truth, a good cork replaced firmly back into the bottle (or screwtop screwed right back on) is just as good, sometimes better, than a wine bottle stopper. But they can be fun (see?) and effective, since the vacuum method doesn’t generally do much for your bottle of wine.
A Smaller Bottle
See above regarding the wine vacuum pump. If you’re the type who opens a bottle and has a glass or two a night, your best bet to avoid oxygenation is putting that leftover half bottle into a smaller bottle (bonus points: this means you get to buy a nice half bottle of expensive wine). You’ll decrease the amount of air in the bottle, the wine will stay fresher longer. Keep a couple on hand, and rinse them between uses. Obviously.
A Basic Wine Guide
These days you don’t quite need to buy an encyclopedia, but having access to basic wine knowledge will keep your consumption informed. Websites, ahem, tend to be the best choice.
Not all wine has to be decanted, but some (including white wines) benefit from it—and most every wine won’t be hurt by decanting. A decanter that maximizes surface area is best, since that’ll decrease the amount of time you have to decant. Plus, they tend to look really cool.
Nothing else will ensure your wine ages perfectly like a good wine fridge. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a crazy collector, a wine fridge is the best place to store your wine – including the bottles you plan to open in the near future. That’s because a wine fridge keeps the wine at the ideal temperature, and protects the cork by storing the bottles horizontally.
Countertop Wine Rack
Once you have a wine fridge you’re still going to need a countertop rack. Why? Because we all have a few bottles we’d like access to at a moments notice. Maybe they’re your weeknight bottles you’ve Coravined – see below – or you just want people to know they’re in the home of a person who likes to drink wine. We’re good with either reason.
Though we’d love to, it isn’t healthy to drink a bottle of wine every night of the week, and we simply hate pouring good vino down the drain. Plus, who wants to open cheaper wine, simply because then you won’t feel bad wasting it? The Coravin is a godsend for anyone who wants to drink only a glass or two of nice wine nightly, and doesn’t want to feel like they’re wasting the bottle. The Coravin System inserts a needle through the cork of your bottle and then forces argon gas inside, allowing the perfect amount of wine to come out, without letting any oxygen get in. When the needle is pulled out of the cork, the cork reseals and it’s like the bottle was never opened. You can drink whatever wine you like whenever you like.
This isn’t just an affectation. It’s pretty hard to pour a bottle of wine and avoid that annoying drip (there’s a wrist-twist maneuver involved). These wine discs might look like a simply invention, but they’re an ingenious tool that allows you to pour wine without spilling a drop. Now there’s not need to worry about wine stains on your carpet or your fancy new tablecloth.
This is more of an essential for white wine lovers (though red wine benefits from a chill, too). White wine tends to be at its best with a slight—but not frigid—chill, and if you can’t buy the bottle cold, or just want to keep it cold while you enjoy, well, life, a basic ice bucket is the way to go.
Wine Bottle Carrier
This assumes you actually want to take wine from your home and bring it somewhere else (you magnanimous angel). A simple box could do just fine, but you’ll look a lot classier carrying something like this.
This article is brought to you by Coravin, the first and only tool in the world to let you share, compare, and explore wines without pulling the cork.