We know that it’s really annoying when people say that wine is their hobby, but in a sense they are just a little bit right. Beyond actually savoring a good glass of pinot noir, there are things to learn, techniques to try, and the “sommelier” status that only comes with deep wine knowledge and experience. Whether you are a casual wine drinker who likes hosting the occasional dinner party, or a true aficionado, there are some essentials that you’ll need to get the most out of your wine experience. There are also non-essentials that just make the process a little bit more fun and luxurious. We’ve included both on our list of wine accessories below, just in time for the holiday season.
If you enjoy drinking wine, there are a few obvious things that you will need. Three of those are a set of wine glasses, a corkscrew, and a wine rack if you want to get a little bit fancy.
The options when it comes to stemware are endless and we could do a post on that subject entirely, but don’t worry, we won’t. There are glass styles for almost every varietal, but if you’re looking for a basic set of glasses that will decently-suit just about any wine-sipping purpose, we like the Williams-Sonoma Essentials Wineglasses ($49). They come in a set of eight and are suitable for both red and white varietals alike.
You won’t have much luck actually getting to that vintage without a proper corkscrew. There are fancy versions and electric models, but we like the simplicity and classic style of the Screwpull Traditional Corkscrew ($45) in vintage-inspired antique chrome.
You can find a good wine rack at just about any big-box home store around town, but if you do a little hunting you’ll soon find out that there are many wonderful artistic interpretations like this whimsical circular version. The Umbra Cru wine rack ($150) can be configured into fun sculptural designs and is available in white or black.
One of the most important steps to enjoying a red wine at its best is to open the bottle and wait until the wine has had time to naturally aerate. Luckily for us, products have been invented to speed up that aerating time, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly-enhanced glass of wine immediately after uncorking the bottle. The Venturi Wine Aerator Tower Gift Set ($70) includes an aerator and a helpful tower so that you can pour your glass straight through the aerator with ease.
Another important factor to consider, particularly if you are storing more than a few bottles of wine, is temperature. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have access to a wine cellar, but you can have the same effect for a few hundred dollars with a wine-cooling refrigerator. The Cuisinart 16-Bottle Wine Cellar ($200) is small enough to fit on a countertop and will store 16 bottles of wine at your chosen temperature between 39 and 68 degrees.
If you need to chill a bottle or glass of white wine like a speed demon, we have two suggestions. The first is the appropriately-named Corkcicle ($23), an extra-large reusable ice cube that will chill a full bottle of wine in no time and stay cold for 45 minutes. If you only need to chill a glass, we like the oddly-shaped but effective Skybar Wine Chill Drops ($40 for 2). Keep the stainless steel drops in the freezer and you’ll be ready to chill a single glass at a moment’s notice.
If you’re a party-thrower and like to serve wine, it might be worth your while to have a decanter or two on hand. Not only are they helpful, but they can be just as much an art piece as a serving tool. Take the Riedel Amadeo Wine Decanter ($400), which is part handcrafted art piece and part aerator and pourer, all in a stunning visual package.
Once the dinner party is over, you might end up with a few half-empty bottles of wine on your hands. We all know that the wine will not taste as good if you just let it sit on the counter after casually pushing a cork in the top. The Screwpull Wine Pump Set ($30), or any similar item, will use a vacuum pump to remove the air from the wine bottle, preserving the flavor and aroma for three to five days.
Whether you are having a quiet dinner at home or toting a gift bottle of wine to a friend’s party, it’s nice to have something that will keep a single bottle of wine cool on your table or on the go. The Skybar Wine Bottle Traveler ($20) is an insulated carrier that will keep your chilled bottle cool for several hours and would make a great add-on to a host gift. For something to sit on your own dinner table, we like the classic attitude of the Monogrammed Stainless Steel Wine Cooler ($89) from Williams-Sonoma. Add your own initials to the insulated cooler and you’ll have something for all your guests to admire.