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Essential Wine Accessories
You have decided to join the ranks of millions and become a wine enthusiast. You might be wondering to yourself what this entails exactly, and what sorts of gadgets and gizmos are you going to need to properly enjoy your wine. To be honest, there are few accessories that a person absolutely needs to enjoy their wine.
The first of the more important wine accessories is a bottle opener or corkscrew. There are many kinds of wine bottle openers on the market today. The most common corkscrews that people know about are either the winged style or waiter’s friends (sometimes called a wine key). A winged style looks exactly like the name states; it has a lever on each side that will rise when the center screw is inserted into the cork of a bottle. To remove the cork, the wings are lowered causing the screw and attached cork to rise with it and be removed from the bottle. A wine key is smaller and uses a single lever positioned onto the side of the bottle to provide leverage to remove the cork from the bottle. Both types of corkscrews are rather easy to find and usually start out selling for around $5.00. These openers in most cases can cause a cork to break in half if not pulled out correctly, or if the screw is not centered though the cork.
Lever pull corkscrews tend to be more expensive than winged or waiter’s friends, however, they are usually more user friendly. Ranging from $20.00 to $80.00, most lever models are designed with a clamp to hold the neck of the bottle in the corkscrew for ease of handling. Typically, the lever arm swings over the top and extracts the cork in a few very easy movements; ensuring removal is quick and effortless.
There is, however, another type of corkscrew that appeals to those looking for an effective and easy to use corkscrew but also one that is not overly expensive. Selling for roughly $15.00, the Vacuvin style corkscrew is my pick. Made from a heavy grade plastic, the Vacuvin opener is easy to use and only involves two steps: placing the opener on the bottle of wine and twisting the handle until the cork is released. This opener does not require a user to have super human strength, and I have yet to have a cork break during opening. The main reason the cork does not break is because the screw completely removes the cork from the bottle for you, there is no need to pull on the opener to remove the cork like some corkscrews require.
Once you have your bottle of wine open, the second must have accessory are wine glasses. Most people believe that there are certain glasses for certain wines; this is not necessarily the case. Usually a larger, broader bowl style wine glass is used for red wines with bigger bouquets, and smaller glasses for white wines to help concentrate the more subtle aromas. However, if space or budget are limiting you to one type of glass, many companies nowadays manufacture universal style glasses which are suitable to both red and white wine, and are inexpensive and attractively designed.
Another must have accessory for your collection is a wine stopper. Bottle stoppers come in a variety of colors, styles, and finishes to fit every taste and personality. Usually solid metal, metal and plastic, or metal and cork, wine stoppers are an excellent way to close an open bottle of wine to preserve it and protect it from air contamination for short periods of time.
A simple bottle stopper however, is not going to protect an open bottle of wine from the air that has already entered the bottle. Air trapped inside the bottle will cause a bottle of wine to expire much quicker than an unopened bottle, which is why I suggest using a vacuum bottle stopper system. A product such as the Vacuvin Concerto Wine Saver can greatly extend the life of an opened bottle of wine compared to a simple bottle stopper. Easy to use and inexpensive, all that a person does is place one of the specially designed bottle stoppers in the open bottle of wine and use the pump to draw the air out of the bottle. When the air is drawn out, the seal of the stopper is so strong the bottle can be held upside down or stored on its side without spilling. Starting at roughly $20.00, this type of bottle stopper is most effective for those looking to store open wine for longer periods of time.
Now you have your opener, glasses and bottle stoppers, what else do you need? A wine rack of course! Wine racks are available in a variety of styles and finishes to compliment any décor. Styles include wall mounted, counter top, hanging and free standing wine racks. Finishes are varied as well and include wood and wrought iron. If interested in learning more about wine racks and what to look for in picking out the perfect rack, my article, “How To Select The Finest Wine Rack For You Home” is quite informative.
The list of wine accessories that are available on the market today can be quite exhausting, however it is important to keep in mind that not all accessories are essential to becoming a wine enthusiast, or simply to enjoy the pleasure of your wine. The most important to remember are the ones essential to drinking and storing a bottle of wine: a bottle opener, glasses, a bottle stopper and a wine rack. Once you have these, the other accessories become fun extras to collect to make your wine experience all the more enjoyable.
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