The Wine Elf’s Gift Ideas For Oenophiles
Black Friday and Cyber Monday already have passed, but I have some great gift ideas for that wine lover in your life. Wines can be harder to choose for a friend or loved one, but these gifts can be loved by anyone. Think of me as your little Wine Elf helping make your Christmas shopping easier.
You know that I adore Riedel glassware, but there are some places where glass is actually is not the best thing to bring, e.g., a pool, pool deck, beach, etc. The next best things are Govino wineglasses.
These “glasses” are made of a flexible, BPA-free polymer and shaped similarly to the “O” Series glassware by Riedel. They are super lightweight, shatter-proof, washable and totally kid friendly — no, not to serve them any wine in, but just if they end up bumping it off the table or have other accidents, although you could serve keiki non-alcoholic beverages in them and still not have to worry.
They come in several different sizes. My favorites are the 16-ounce wine “glass” and the go-anywhere “flute.” They also have a beer “glass,” and even a decanter for those wines that need decanting next to the pool! The glasses come in packs of four that retail for about $15. For special occasions, some also have put logos on them. You can find them at Tamura’s Fine Wines and Liquors, and Fujioka’s Wine Times, as well as ABC stores.
Another great gift is the Drip Stop wine-pouring disc. If you have not used these yet, they are one of the simplest and most effective designs you have ever seen. They are round, bendable plastic discs that you fold into a round tube and insert into the opening of a bottle. It is designed so that you do not have any drops at the opening of the bottle after pouring.
You know that tiny little drop that hangs at the end of the bottle that sometimes gets on your tablecloth, fingers, clothing — anywhere outside the glass? With the Drip Stop, that little drop is no more! I have started to see restaurants using them as their servers pop them out of their aprons in order to avoid wine stains on their linen. After using, just rinse them with water and let them dry, and they’re ready for the next use.
My only word of caution is to make sure that you do not push them into the bottle. There are some designed to hook onto the lip of the bottle opening to prevent losing them in the bottle as well.
And they are so inexpensive; you can get a set of five for as little as $5. They are the perfect stocking stuffer. You can find them at any local fine wine retailer as well as online.
My last recommendation is not so inexpensive but it happens to be the most innovative wine accessory since the wine key. It is the Coravin Wine Access System ($299). This system uses a thin needle to access the wine without removing the cork.
Once the needle is inserted, the bottle is pressurized with argon gas (an inert gas that does not oxidize the wine inside the bottle). The wine then flows through the needle and into the glass. The needle is then removed, and the cork basically reseals itself, protecting the wine from oxidation.
This allows anyone to enjoy a glass of wine without worrying about spoiling the remainder in the bottle if you do not wish to or are unable to finish the entire bottle. It is quite an ingenious system that virtually eliminates spoilage.
I would add one caveat: Once you access the wine, do not expect it to age at the same trajectory as a bottle that is pristine. This is as opposed to just a couple of days if you were to pull the cork out in its entirety. As far as I know, the Coravin system currently is available online only.
Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier.