Useless, Expensive and Some Useful Wine Gadgets

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I remember painfully cracking my hip bone off the hard tubular end of one of these contraptions. When I turned around I noticed this polished metal thing that looked like some sort of a rudimentary Victorian gynaecological instrument bolted onto the kitchen worktop.

“It’s for opening my wine” I was told.

Never heard of a plain corkscrew or experienced the majestic simplicity of leverage on a Waiter’s Friend?

No! This rabbit or whatever it was called even came with a spare coil! Clearly suggesting that customer feedback had told the manufacturer that the first coil is sure to break. It is probably one of the ugliest objects I’ve seen, but apparently it makes opening a bottle easier. That is of course after you’ve married the patience of a bishop with the acumen of an engineer to put the thing together.

A relative of mine has something similar that is taken out of its felt lined plastic case, slowly assembled for the supposedly awestruck guests at the table and then after the foil is cut with an easily mislaid accessory to an accessory foil cutter, two black protrusions clamp tightly onto the neck of a bottle like the stockinged legs of dominatrix onto her slave! –Now cynicism prevents me from leaving the BDSM cellar metaphor-The coil is plunged into the top of the bottle removing the cork in one movement of the arm. Occasionally there then ensues a struggle between the host and a synthetic cork which is stuck firm on the coil. Watching this struggle is much more entertaining when the host is male and it is one of those plastic corks that is human skin coloured!

Wine, like many luxury items of consumption attracts genuine enthusiasts, hobbyists, collectors, drinkers and enough morons to sustain a daughter industry of gadgetry purporting to provide solutions to problems that have long been adequately taken care of. What these gadgets do is add some theatre to an occasion, play on people’s insecurities or just look good often at a very high price. All of them profess to enhance your enjoyment of wine however none of them can genuinely claim to be a “must have”.

Of particular annoyance to me is a genre of product that has grown legs over the past decade, notably wine saver systems. I was curious when I first encountered them, understanding their utility for trade outlets dispensing wine by the glass, I never believed that such devices would appear so well engineered for the everyday drinker. But wow! Have they become popular!

Is this a reflection on a type of everyday drinker that is emerging? This drinker probably belongs to the 16K or so people who “liked” this type product on Facebook. A wine preserver that injects an inert gas into the bottle and dispenses you a glass so you can tell your virtual friends how good it tasted!!! Goodness! You might even post a picture of the label and of you, on your own of course, enjoying a glass of wine. Then you can go back to it in 3 months and the wine will be fine for your second glass. You don’t have to share (literally) your wine with anybody.

You see if you had some real friends you might actually open the bottle and share it, (in your £25 wine glasses that you are certain will make your wine taste better but unfortunately they shatter if someone farts in the next parish.) Share it literally, not virtually and enjoy it with another human being. A bottle of wine is 75cl not by accident, two people can have 3 glasses each, very sociable. One of the most irritating types of company is those who tell you about a great wine they had when you weren’t there. Listening to people describe an expensive wine is exceptionally boring. Strangely, I find it seems to be individuals who always refer to chicken nuggets as “Chicken Guojons”

I understand moderation but I understand and value the importance of sociability, of sharing a meal and drink with another human. I believe this is one of the attributes that distinguishes (most!) of us from other primates!

A quite frightening gadget is a combination lock for your opened bottle of wine. You make vows, for richer for poorer etc. You share your life and house with someone, you have children together and then you lock an opened bottle of wine! Bet you wouldn’t share that on Facebook. “I’ve just locked up my bottle of Jacobs Creek Chardonnay! 2013.”

However on researching wine gadgets among all the savers and strainers there is clearly some enlightened thinking taking place. Solving problems that do exist creatively.

I am one of an undocumented percentage of wine drinkers that suffer occasionally from “Malbec Molars! “. I have girl friends who get so frustrated after spending hours preparing hair, makeup and lipstick, then have one glass of red which leaves them looking like an extra from a vampire movie. Wine wipes quickly wipe away ugly wine stains from teeth. They have a slight orange blossom taste which will not affect tasting after use. Other than kissing a man with an unkempt moustache or sucking a peeled lemon through a tennis racket, this product does have some real utility.

And what about the Wine Bra!

This ingenious product has formalised something girls that I know have been doing for decades. Smuggle your favourite wine into a venue on your person. Every girl knows that you find the busiest section of the security queue knowing that during frisking, the security “man” is never going to touch you “there”. You bring your own drinks along in your bra! Yes, a bra that claims to turn an A cup into a DD and you can simply blow into it after all your wine is gone to resize the bra. It holds the equivalent of one bottle of wine. A faucet line serves wine at a “room” temperature of a room most men would love to be in!

Now that’s useful!!