Photo: Bert Stern.
You know you like Malbecs and you hate Chardonnay, but decanters and aerators seem like tools that only fancy wine people with enormous wine cellars need. Right? Wrong. Even a $20 red from Trader Joe’s can greatly benefit from decanting it and serving it at the perfect temperature in the right glass. Do all of these steps correctly and that red will drink like a far more expensive wine (not that price always indicates the wine is better, FYI). Though the everyday wine drinker doesn’t necessarily need a whole trove of tools, there are a few gadgets, apps, and glasses that can enhance the overall experience in a big way. Here, a few wine industry experts weigh in on their favorite tools that are worth investing in to help up your wine game.
For Wine Opening
You know those cheap corkscrews that make it extra hard to open a bottle of wine? Get rid of them. Make your life easier with something like a Pulltap’s, “the best one out there for everyday use,” according to Lorenzo Trefethen of Trefethen Family Vineyards. “Combine it with an Ah-So, and along with a bit of patience and some practice, you can open anything. Monopol makes a pretty baller Ah-So out of German steel, and there are some vintage ones for sale on eBay that are even cooler,” he says. If you want to really invest in a wine opener, Elan Fayard of Covert Estate suggests the Laguiole En Aubrac Waiters Corkscrew Wine Opener. Not only does it work really well, it will look beautiful on your bar cart. Also, although sommeliers might not approve, he suggests the Le Creuset Foil Cutter. “It’s quick and makes a perfect cut every time,” he says.
For Wine Drinking and Decanting
Ask most experts about their favorite wineglasses and the answer is likely going to be Zalto. “I would say that for me, Zalto wineglasses are a must for any wine lover. They are so light and the rim is extremely fine, it feels almost like you are drinking the wine out of the palm of your hand. It is genuinely a pleasure to drink from them,” says Isabelle Legeron, founder of Raw Wine.
Zalto makes some of the best decanters, as well. “Zalto also got the decanter right,” says Trefethen. “All decanters should look like this. The wide mouth allows you to actually get in there and clean the thing. There are some beautiful decanters out there, but if I can’t clean them without a special tool, I hardly ever use them.”
For Wine Chilling
Need to chill sparkling or white wine fast? Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros suggests using Teroforma Wine Twirls. “Freeze the Wine Twirls for four hours before using or just keep them in the fridge for emergencies. They not only look cool, they also keep the chill in the glass,” she says.
For Wine Preserving
If you want to open a nice bottle of wine but just have one glass, Coravin will be your new best friend. The Coravin needle goes into the cork and pours the wine right into your glass. The cork remains in the bottle and then reseals naturally after the needle is pulled out so your wine is preserved for many more pours.
Though Coravin is the gadget of choice for most somms, winemakers, and wine lovers, there are a few new options on the market from other brands that are worth checking out. Julien Fayard, winemaker of Azur and Covert Estate, suggests Kuvée, which allows you to keep multiple bottles open at once while preserving them by keeping oxygen out of your wine. Additionally, the smart system will give you information about what you’re drinking and where it’s from and suggest food pairings. Pretty cool.
For Wine Knowledge
While it’s always a good idea to take photos of the wine label on your phone so you can remember a wine you liked, apps like Vivino and Delectable not only store the wine labels for you, they also give you a wealth of information about them. You can compare pricing, find ratings, compare vintages, see what other wine drinkers are loving, and see suggested food pairings for that wine. It’s an instant way to go from wine idiot to expert (or at least pretend like you are).
This story originally appeared on Vogue.
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