Holiday’s season is approaching and maybe you are thinking about purchasing a wine tool as a gift for a friend or to treat yourself. Before throwing money in useful, but sometimes cute, stuff, you ca read this short guide to wine tools and glassware for some inspiration and wiser buying choices.
On wine tools and oxygenation
Wine is most certainly enjoyable served as is, straight from the bottle, but what if I told you there are certain tools of the trade that can enhance your experience and ensure you taste every nuance of the wine you drink? Such tools as decanters and carafes are used to oxygenate wine and intensify the more subtle flavors by opening up the wine—thus releasing more primary aromas. What is the difference between a decanter and a carafe, and when do you use each of these? Are there any tools that may be able to speed up the oxygenation process? Let’s find out!
Why do we decant?
When you enjoy a glass of wine, it is important to consider how the winemaker envisioned all of the intricate flavors to come together in a unique way to end up in the very glass you are consuming. There are certain underlying flavors and subtleties that can only be drawn out through oxygenation, allowing volatile unwanted substances to dissolve in the air and therefore, creating a purpose for the decanter.
As purist of the language I must specify that the word decanter is improperly used. To decant technically means to allow some solid residues and debris to precipitate in order to naturally “clean” or “filter” the wine. That’s why you should decant old vintages, very carefully, with a decanter and a candle to make sure the debris won’t fall in the glass you are pouring (I explain this better further in the article). But, in the everyday language, the word decanter is used to identify glass container with different purposes.
I will align with the common use of the words for simplicity.
A decanter is made out of either glass or crystal and tends to have a rather distinctive design with a wider space on the bottom to allow for the wine to spread out and “breathe,” so to speak. Typically, wines vary on how long they should be decanted based on their age and what type of wine it is—it could be minutes or it could take hours.
Decanters are often used for wines that have been aged a bit longer, and they have, for the most part, been used almost exclusively for oxygenating red wines—though it is possible to decant white wines for less time. It allows for a wine to open up and give the underlying aromatics a chance to make a more distinguished appearance.
Also, a decanter is an important tool used to separate sediment out of red wines and wines that have been aged for awhile—wines known to produce more sediment, as I mentioned before.
Specifically, you can use a decanter a few different ways in order to separate the wine from the sediment, including setting the wine bottle out a few days before you plan on drinking it and letting the sediment collect on the bottom, or by using either a candle or a flashlight and a wine cradle to slowly pour the wine into the decanter, carefully leaving behind the sediment. The first method is not always as practical because it is not often that you plan your meals out several days in advance and know exactly the wine you are going to be serving.
When do we use a carafe instead?
A carafe, however, varies foremost in its physicality—it tends to have a longer body and a smaller base to hold more liquid overall, and it looks a bit like a traditional vase. Carafes are generally used to aerate a younger wine that does not need the extra base surface area to breathe. Typically, wines are just served in a carafe when the wine could still benefit from a bit of exposure to oxygen but does not necessarily need it to enhance flavor.
Carafes are useful in aerating white wines and younger wines because they do not require nearly as much time to breathe as the more full-bodied reds require. It is important to point out here that carafes are more and more becoming a tool to serve larger parties of people with the added benefit of oxygenating the wine a bit. Essentially, it is more of a positive fringe benefit in that case and not always the sole intended result.
Some decanters and carafes I tasted and approved:
vSpin Active Decanting System: the electronic oxygenation system
One of the newer, more advanced wine tools out there is the vSpin active wine decanting system. The vSpin uses a premium aeration system that significantly cuts decanting time through its vortex technology. After you pour the wine into the decanter and set it on the vSpin base, you can choose from three different spin speeds that will decant the wine within minutes.
Decanting, as mentioned previously, can improve the flavor of most any wine and is a useful way to let the wine oxygenate. This tool claims to perform a two-hour decant in five minutes and an eight-hour decant in 15 minutes by actively accelerating oxygenation, which smooths out harsh tannins and gives more complexity of flavor.
Mixology World Decanter set:
It comes with a stopper made of wood, a cleaning brush, as well as a drying stand. Therefore, the package contains most of the things you might ever need from a wine decanter.
The model has been crafted from durable crystal glass. It is a classic tool every wine enthusiast should have at home for the big, bold, aged red wines to be decanted.
Sempli glassware: Vaso Vino and Cupa Vino
Sempli is an award-winning product design company based in Los Angeles, California. Sempli’s design philosophy is deeply rooted in the founder Daniele ‘Danne’ Semeraro’s dual heritage of Swedish and Italian. Combining the best of both countries, Sweden’s simple functionality with Italy’s style and elegance. Sempli. Swedish functionality designed in Italy.
Staying true to the craft, the glasses and decanters are hand produced by the most skilled glass blowers. The swirling rotation of the glass is both entertaining and practical: it facilitates and encourages the aeration of the wine.
The Sempli glass series is produced from the purest lead-free crystal, making it a 100% safe and sustainable experience.
If you would like to impress your guests with design, rotating wine tools, this is the best choice for a wine fashionista.
Coolers and temperature control
On the market you can find a wide variety of wine coolers in different styles and shapes, but are these cute tools really effective? I tasted a great number of coolers, companies often send me their products and I think the ones below are the good compromise between aesthetic and perfect functionality.
VINGLACE’ cooler and wine glass
No need for ice, stainless steel canteens, or bottle wraps. Just the chilled bottle and VINGLACÉ does the rest.
Simply unscrew the adjustable top and insert your chilled bottle of wine or champagne, screw the top back on, and enjoy your wine at the perfect temperature for hours. VINGLACÉ is easy to carry, lightweight, and I find the design really elegant.
You can also have the chilling glass, which has a double stainless steal wall and a glass container inside. The glass container can be removed for cleaning and most importantly allows you to sip your wine from the glass and not from a stainless steal cup!
PUIK hat cooler
This is the perfect cooler for a picnic or a situation where you need a very lightweight tool. It is made of expanded polypropen and it keeps your bottle in temperature for 2-3 hours. It is unbreakable, safe and… cool.
Wine candles and packaging ideas
Wick and Wine candles
Wick & Wine candles are genius. They are made with 100% natural soy wax, scented with wine resembling hints (I choose the Riesling scent and it’s lovely), and crafted with repurposed wine bottles. The neck of the bottle can be used as a wine glass… take a look at their website to better understand how it works, I didn’t catch it at first, I thought the black plastic stem was meant to switch off the candle! (yes, I am confused! 🙂
This is an amazing gift for wine lovers, I find the scents are really reminding the primary aromas of the grape variety they are inspired to.
I See You Company candle and bow
If you want to transform the moment you gift a bottle of wine to a friend in a special moment, loaded with affection and good feelings, this is the packaging you need.
I See You Company simply translated the care, the love and the kindness in a practical gesture: adding a bow and a candle to a moment to tell your person: I see you, I hear you, I care about you. I find it the best wish I can make to you and your families for these upcoming holidays.
HERE MY YOUTUBE VIDEO TO SEE THE TOOLS LIVE: