There are a lot of wine gadgets and accessories out there. From v-neck t-shirts emblazoned with the bedazzled slogan “Wine Diva” to crew neck t-shirts emblazoned with the bedazzled slogan “Wine Diva,” to, even, tank tops emblazoned with the bedazzled slogan “Wine Diva,” there is no shortage of ways to make your wine drinking lifestyle more comfortable, effective, and stylish.
But what do you really need in order to drink wine? Besides clean underwear and a comfortable pair of slacks (or sensible pantsuit), there really are only a small handful of must-haves for the burgeoning wine collector and they aren’t the $200 gadgets advertised in wine magazines or the glitzy schlock sold at tasting rooms.
First, you need a wine opener. The hands-down best wine opener for the price is the classic two-stage waiter’s lever corkscrew with a foil cutter. With a little practice, this simple machine will cleanly and effectively open every bottle of wine. While you can spend upwards of $100 on a very beautiful corkscrew, the basic black or white version that you can buy for around ten bucks works just as well. Save the novelty openers for the display case and save the Rabbits for the bedroom. Just get one of these:
Now that your wine is open, you’ll need something to drink it from. I drink most of my wine from small, thin-rimmed tumblers, but I do have a set of nice, all-purpose stems for more formal occasions, and a set of Champagne flutes, which are a must-have if you like sparkling wine as they prevent the bubbles from dissipating too quickly. And, like corkscrews, you can spend into the deep three figures on fancy wine glasses, but all you need is a nice set of stems that shouldn’t cost you more than $15 a pop. You know what Champagne flutes and tumblers look like, but here’s an example of a high-quality, all-purpose wine glass:
There are dozens of fancy gadgets that claim to aerate your big red wines in seconds rather than hours and, while I’ve found many of them to be fairly effective, you really don’t need any of them. If you don’t have time to open a bottle needing aeration ahead of time, one good decanter gets the job done and looks great on the table. They also don’t make those weird farting sounds. You can supply those yourself if you really miss them. You also, again, don’t need the $500 Dali-esque handblown glass decanters. This one is fine:
And those are pretty much the basics, however there are a few other things you might want to get for the storage and transportation of your wine. If you intend to “cellar” some of your wine for more than a few months, you’ll want to get a wine rack that will store your bottles on their sides, sloping slightly downward toward the cork.
Unless you’re cellaring trophy wines for a number of years and/or you live in a very hot area, you don’t need a wine refrigerator. It’s more important to keep your wines out of direct sunlight and some place where there aren’t radical temperature swings. Don’t store wine in your kitchen refrigerator for more than a few days as the extreme cold is also damaging.
The last piece of the puzzle is an insulated wine tote of some sort that will keep your wines cool and protected en route to that dinner party, picnic, or mountaintop orgy.
If you want to embellish your wine lifestyle with some great accessories that aren’t bedazzled and tacky but still show off some style, I can’t recommend my friend and colleague Whitney Adams’ Bottle Stock Shop enough.
Oh! And I almost forgot! You’ll definitely need a sexy high-heeled shoe wine bottle holder!
Now that’s pretty fierce. Cheers!