The Best Wine Products for Wine Lovers That Will Actually Get Used
Stop using wine openers that sort of work and stashing tools you never take out of storage.
Not all wine gadgets are created equal. Certain wine products can enhance the overall experience of a particular wine, while others fall more into "gimmicky" territory. Truly quality wine products provide actual value—instead of just taking up valuable kitchen space—and can range from high-tech wine preservation systems to time-tested devices so small they can fit in your pocket and cost less than $10. Whether you're shopping for a hostess gift or seeking to stock your own wine cabinet, here are a few of our favorite wine accessories and gadgets for wine lovers.
Wine Products You'll Actually Use
These wine gadgets rose to the top of the list.
There's a reason you mainly see those small, handheld waiter's wine keys being used in restaurants; they're significantly better for the wine than anything with a motor, lever, or button. The "worm" of a quality wine key is often sharper than anything else on the market, meaning it won't shred the cork like other wine openers may. The Pulltap's Double-Hinged Corkscrew ($9, Amazon) is an industry favorite for sommeliers and waiters; for older bottles, the Durand safely removes delicate or compromised corks with ease.
Not all wines benefit as strongly from decanting, and often just opening the bottle a few minutes before serving will do the trick. However, wine decanters can be great tools for removing sediment in certain wines to improve the texture and overall taste of the wine. For full-bodied red wines, try a decanter with a wide base ($50, Pottery Barn) but stick with a standard decanter ($50, Williams Sonoma) for medium-bodied red wines.
The general rule of chilling wine is to put red wine in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before opening, and take white wine that's been chilling all day out of the refrigerator for 15 minutes before opening. But for times when a wine refrigerator is not an option, electric wine chillers can save the day. The Vinotemp Single Bottle Wine Chiller ($190, Williams Sonoma) can bring a Champagne or white wine to perfect serving temperature using thermoelectric technology, while the Vinglacé portable wine chiller ($90, Nordstrom) is vacuum-insulated to keep the wine chilled for hours.
Aerating wine is very similar to aerating your lawn, where the added oxygen helps the wine to breathe after being bottled up for so long. Aeration improves its overall quality faster than simply opening the bottle and leaving it out, removing harsh sulfites and letting the wine become more expressive. You could simply pour the wine and swirl it in your glass to aerate it, but an aeration funnel like the Üllo Chill Wine Purifier ($90, Williams Sonoma) will not only remove sulfites but also bring the wine to an ideal cellar temperature—all in a matter of minutes.
You could buy a wine glass for your reds and a wine glass for your whites, or you could just buy the Zalto ″Denk'art″ Universal Wine Glasses ($500, Amazon). This ultra-thin crystal wine glass is hand-blown from a single piece of glass to create what many sommeliers claim is "the perfect wine glass." The secret to this popular glass is the angles, where the curves are tilted at specific angles to mimic the tilt angles of the Earth (a practice that dates back to ancient Rome) and improve the taste of the wine. For a more affordable option, go with the Gabriel-Glas StandArt Universal Glass. Bonus: Both options are lead-free and dishwasher safe!
It's been over a decade since the Coravin wine preservation system ($150, Williams Sonoma) first entered the market, and the world has never been the same. This innovative system allows you to pour a single glass of wine from a bottle without ever removing the cork, allowing the bottle to remain unopened. The company now has a Bluetooth-enabled Model Eleven and a Coravin Sparkling system that can extend the life of sparkling wines for a minimum of two weeks.
While shoving the cork back into a bottle was once the standard for preserving the remaining wine in a bottle, modern wine stoppers can extend the life of an opened bottle for up to two months. A simple Champagne stopper ($10, Williams Sonoma) can keep bottles fizzy for a day (maybe two), but the Repour Winesaver fits directly on a 750-ml bottle and eliminates all of the oxygen in the bottle so the wine does not turn.
Wine books are for the newcomers to wine and the wine experts alike. The World Atlas of Wine ($38, Amazon) provides a visual overview of the wine regions around the world, with details on specific grapes and growers as well as an explanation of how wine has evolved in each region and country. Wine Simple ($17, Amazon) offers an approachable guide to wine for beginners while Bianca Bosker's Cork Dork ($12, Amazon) is a fun and informative read on wine and the wine industry itself.