My first real experience with wine happened while working as a part-time hostess at an Italian restaurant. It was the kind of place with crisp white table cloths, cereal bowl-sized crystal bordeaux glasses and a wine list that had more words than most of my college essays. As a newly-minted “city girl,” freshly plucked from the corn fields and High Life-soaked dive bars of rural Wisconsin, I was enchanted.
At that point in my life, the extent of my wine knowledge started and ended with the Trader Joe’s display of Two Buck Chuck, so when a veteran server studying for his sommelier certification took me under his wing, I was endlessly grateful. At the end of each shift as the night wound down and patrons slowly trickled out, I’d dutifully fold his share of linen napkins in exchange for a lesson in vino. While polishing off a bottle of whatever was open, he carefully explained previously foreign words like terroir and tannins, deftly demonstrated how to open a bottle while tableside and under a time crunch, instructed me on how to swirl, sniff and taste and even more importantly, how to do so without looking dumb.
From that point on I was hooked and, probably to my colleague’s annoyance, spent the following months interrogating him on each new bottle I encountered. When I was finally promoted from hostess to server, my gracious teacher gifted me with my very own waiter’s corkscrew — a badge of honor I kept with me everywhere I went, saving the night at parties where clumsy college kids tried and failed to uncork a bottle with methods found on YouTube (I dare you to Google “the shoe trick”).
While the below gadgets are a far cry from my rudimentary corkscrew, they’re sure to take any wine experience to the next level. What’s more, just like my party trick of the past, these tech forward contraptions are even more certain to illicit some oohs and aaahs from your dinner guests... let’s cheers to that!
Rabbit Table Wine Opener
Bust out this elegantly-designed tabletop lever opener — crafted from sleek acacia wood and hand-finished metal — for an uncorking experience that’s truly captivating.
AVINA Wine Stoppers
An ingenious solution to an all-too common problem, the Avina wine stoppers keep bottles tightly sealed and sturdy thanks to these airtight corks with a roll-proof ledge for safe sideways fridge storage.
Wine Chilling Wands
Keep these handy wands in your freezer for the next time a guest requests a glass of that Chardonnay you’ve yet to chill. The stainless steel drops bring a single glass of wine to drinking temp up to 20 times faster than your fridge.
Laguiole En Aubrac Champagne Saber
A show-stopping tool for the ultimate host, this heirloom-quality champagne saber is made by a single master cutler in France. A curved Zebu horn handle encases a Sandvick stainless steel blade makes it easy to slice open a special bottle of bubbly at your next celebration.
Wine Glass Writers
If charms are too twee for your taste (raising my hand high), consider these smudge-free markers to help keep tabs on your glass.
Coravin Model One Wine Preservation System
Consider this gadget the answer to wanting just one more glass without the guilt of committing to a whole bottle. Coravin’s patented system siphons vino via a specially designed needle that penetrates the cork without removing it, while recycled steel capsules fill the bottle with oxidation-protecting argon gas. The result? The ability to taste that bottle you’ve been itching to pop without compromising its longevity.
Twister Wine Aerator & Decanter with Stand Set
As functional as it is entertaining, this hand-blown system amps up the flavor of any red wine in three simple, Instagram-worthy steps: Wine travels through a mesh sieve that captures any sediment before swirling down a spiral aerator into a decanter for further oxygenation. Cheers, indeed.
Ullo Wine Purifier
Nix flavor-killing sulfites and sediments with this glass-topping filter that doubles as an aerator.
Peugeot Clef du Vin Set
Slip one of these stainless steel wands into any glass of wine to amp up traits often associated with older wines like balance, softer tannins and less acidity. What’s responsible for this wine alchemy? Just a single metallic alloy dot that instantly speeds up oxygen reduction.
Think of this as the ice bucket’s cooler, more advanced cousin. Double-walled acrylic keeps bottles chilled without tablecloth-ruining condensation. Plus, with a transparent exterior, your guests will always know what’s flowing.
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