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There are few things more enjoyable than a good glass of wine, so why not give it the respect it deserves? It doesn’t take much to outfit yourself with all of the best tools required to effectively open, consume, and enjoy any bottle. Read on and choose your favorites, and please never try that shoe trick with a beautiful bottle of Burgundy.
Best Corkscrew: HiCoup Kitchenware Waiter's Corkscrew
Inexpensive, versatile, efficient: There's a reason that waiters and sommeliers most often rely on the simple wine key. Although there are all sorts of exciting tools out there, this is all you really need to get the job one. This option from High Coup is sleek and small, and comes in a variety of color options, from a subtle black to a stylish moonstone.
It features a hinged knife, which should be used to cut and remove the foil, and a double-hinged fulcrum that makes pulling corks out smoothly a cinch. The worm is made from stainless steel for extra durability, but you don’t need to worry about this product breaking. The upside of working with such a simple tool is that there’s basically nothing to malfunction.
Runner-Up, Best Corkscrew: True Zoo Corkatoo Ombre Waiter's Corkscrew
If you want to bring a little personality to the table, this cheeky parrot might be for you. This little bird is just as effective as a standard wine key but has the added benefit of looking pretty cute when propped up on your bar cart. Don’t worry, no cockatoos were harmed in the opening of this wine bottle.
Best Aerator: Vinturi V1010 Essential Red Wine Aerator
If you don’t have time to decant, consider a wine aerator. Like a decanter, an aerator’s goal is to unlock new flavors in a wine by exposing it to oxygen. Unlike a decanter, an aerator works instantly. This model from Vinturi is designed to be held over a glass. Just pour the wine from the bottle into the aerator. As it flows, the aerator will force air through the wine, helping to open up the flavors.
Runner-Up, Best Aerator: Vintorio Wine Aerator Pourer
This aerator from Vintorio is designed to attach directly to the neck of a wine bottle. After the aerator is placed, the wine can be poured as usual, and will bubble as it flows through the aerator. This design makes it easy to place the entire bottle of wine on a table and pass it around, aerator and all. Everyone at the table will experience a freshly aerated glass of wine.
Best Bottle Stopper: Joie Expanding Beverage Bottle Stopper
This bottle stopper is exceptionally versatile. It’s designed to be placed in the neck of a wine bottle and to expand as it’s locked in place. This means that it will be able to achieve a tight seal on any size bottle. Use it to preserve giant magnums of wine, little bottles of sherry, or even vinegars and liqueurs with missing caps.
Runner-Up, Best Bottle Stopper: Rabbit Wine Bottle Stoppers
Rabbit, in general, makes very good wine tools. If you find yourself with an unfinished bottle one night, here's a stylish solution for you. These bottle stoppers will do a good job protecting your unfinished wine from too much air exposure, and they’ll look good doing it. As an added bonus, they’re easy to place and remove.
Many stoppers are designed to be shoved inside the top of a wine bottle like a cork, but it can be difficult to get a good seal, and, once that’s achieved, it can take a little work to remove them. These are designed to fit around the outside of the bottle like a tupperware lid. Just place on top and tug to remove.
Best Electric Opener: Secura Stainless Steel Electric Wine Opener
For extreme ease, consider an electric wine opener. To remove a cork with one of these, you just need to hold the opener in place and press a button. On your command, a corkscrew descends and retracts, removing the cork with no effort. This electric opener from Secura is rechargeable, so you don’t need to worry about being caught without batteries during happy hour. It’s a great option for anyone with mobility restrictions, or for those who just find corks to be a little tricky. Use this for bottled still wine—it will work well on either natural or synthetic corks.
Best Decanter: Vintorio GoodGlassware Wine Decanter
When it comes to decanters, there’s some accounting for taste. Most likely, this is an object that will sit on your dinner table, so you want to love the way it looks. For function, the important things to keep in mind are surface area and ease of pouring. The point of decanting is to expose the wine to oxygen. A decanter with a large base will allow the wine to spread out. This increased surface area speeds up the decanting process by exposing more wine to air at one time.
Of course, it still needs to function as a serving vessel. Pouring your wine onto a sheet pan would expose it to air quickly, but unfortunately, it would be next to impossible to serve it. This decanter from GoodGlassware features a wide base and a slim neck with an angled spout for ease of pouring.
Best Sparkling Wine Stopper: OWO Champagne Stopper
What’s more tragic than wasting Champagne? If you find yourself unable to finish off a bottle of sparkling wine, it’s best to have a locking wine stopper on hand. The extra tight seal will keep the wine’s carbonation in place, and the locking arms guarantee that the stopper won’t go shooting off inside of your refrigerator if a little pressure starts to build up. This super-strong stainless steel option from OWO will get the job done, and it comes in gold and rose gold options for a little added glamour.
Best Wine Preserver: Vacu Vin Wine Stopper
The Vacu Vin wine preserver takes saving wines up a notch. While a bottle stopper will prevent new air from circulating through an open bottle, this preserver actually allows the user to remove air that’s already inside. To use, insert the rubber wine stopper into the bottle until you hear a click. Then, place the vacuum pump over the stopper and pump the handle several times to extract air from the bottle. By limiting the wine’s exposure to oxygen, you’ll be able to preserve its most delicate flavors for up to a week.
Type There are a variety of tools to help you drink wine, from those that assist you with opening bottles to those that are designed to make your vino taste better and store it if you don’t finish every sip. Some tools come in sets to cover all your bases, while others are sold separately. How often you drink wine, as well as your personal taste, will help determine just what type of products you may need.
Quality Do you just want a tool that can uncork a bottle from time to time, or are you a serious oenophile? Of course, you want something that works, but some wine tools are built to stand the test of time, while others are more basic. Your budget and wine-drinking habits will determine your choices.
Style If you like to display your wine tools on a bar or in another visible place, you may want to choose ones that complement your other décor. Some tools are like works of art while others are merely functional.
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Madeline Muzzi is a food writer and wine expert. In 2015, she completed an advanced course in wine at the International Culinary Center in New York City and passed the test to become a certified sommelier.