I get asked from time to time about the wine ‘equipment’ I use. Most frequently the wine glasses I own and the bottle opener I use.
It’s always an easy one to answer because the truth is I don’t actually own a great deal of wine accessories!
I’m in a very lucky position as the owner of a wine blog as I am frequently offered products for review. Some of which I accept and it makes its way into content for the website (with full disclosures added!). But because I travel a lot, most of this is then passed on to family members and friends.
However, when I am at home I like to drink wine (obviously!) and there are a few bits of ‘equipment’ I would consider my personal wine essentials.
It’s these essentials that I’m going to talk about today.
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My Wine Glasses
My wine glass of choice is currently the Josephine Collection by Kurt Joseph Zalto. I own the white, red, Champagne, and universal glasses. They're the best glasses I've ever owned/used!
I actually swapped out my old Riedel wine glasses just a couple of months ago. I still love them and they still see plenty of use when guests come over, but when I really want to get to know a bottle of wine, these days I reach for my Josephine glasses.
These glasses are just amazing! They highlight a wine's secrets unlike any other glass I've used before. Aromas just leap out of these glasses and they're a joy to sip from.
They have this really unusual kink in the bowl that divides opinion when it comes to aesthetics but performs a crucial function in getting more oxygen into the wine. That huge glass diameter at the bottom of the bowl then tapers in to funnel all those aromas straight to the nostrils.
They're incredible pieces of glassware too and they've one numerous design awards for their style and innovation. They're handmade and feel exquisite to hold. They're incredibly thinly walled and you barely notice them on the lips either.
There are a couple of downsides to owning this type of hand made glassware though. The first is that they are expensive. These are Michelin Star restaurant level wine glasses that are recommended by renowned restaurateurs and sommeliers. That means they carry a premium price tag.
The other downside is that they are fragile! Keep them far away from your dishwasher and never clean them after a few glasses of wine!
My Bottle Opener
My bottle opener of choice is the Le Creuset Waiter's Corkscrew. It's small, strong, and reliable and I thoroughly recommend it.
I've had many a wine-induced debate about the best bottle opener and with so much choice out there it's always an interesting conversation.
I'm firmly in the camp of the traditionalists and I've had my Waiter's Corkscrew from Le Creuset for a few years now.
It's pocket-sized, sturdy, and reliable and that makes it the perfect corkscrew for me. You'll actually see this corkscrew being used by waiters sometimes and probably a lot more gracefully than me!
These types of double hinged corkscrews often get overlooked because it's not obvious how to use them correctly. They're incredibly simple to use but there is a technique to it that maybe isn't obvious to the uninitiated (check out the video below).
I have to admit to not reading the instructions before using mine for the first time and bludgeoning the cork of a bottle of Pinot. But once you've practiced on a couple of bottles and 'it's clicked' you'll be opening bottles in seconds.
For me, having a pocket-sized corkscrew like this essential. You'll find this style is made by a few different manufacturers and they all look pretty much identical. If you've got any Le Creuset kitchenware in the house then you'll know that they make some seriously hard wearing stuff. That was the kicker for me to choose their double hinged corkscrew over the others on offer.
If you want something just for home that doesn't need to be portable then lever corkscrew are very quick and easy to use. I've used the Rabbit Lever Corkscrew before and it's great, even for first time users!
My Wine Decanter
My current decanter of choice is the Riedel Cabernet Magnum Decanter.
A solid decanter that comfortably holds a bottle of red is my final wine essential. The decanter that I'm currently using is called the Riedel Cabernet Magnum Decanter and I've been using it for about a year now.
I love a lot of the Riedel glassware and I own a few pieces. They make some really great stuff, but I hate all of this varietal specific glassware they make. I wasn't aware I was purchasing a Cabernet specific decanter but here it is, and I guarantee it decants Cabernet Sauvignon to exactly the same degree as every other bold red! Anyway, that's the rant over....
I really like this decanter because it's exactly the right size for a bottle of red. It's marketed as being magnum sized (a magnum is 1500ml or 2 regular bottles) but I would never put that much wine in it. One bottle fills it to just above the point of the maximum diameter which is the optimal point for air exposure anyway.
Now, there are definitely fancier decanters out there that are more elegant and more efficient at letting a wine breathe and settling sediment, but for me this one works just great. It's made with lead free crystal glass and does just fine in my dishwasher, which is a bonus especially when my glasses need hand washed!
My Wine Fridge
My current wine fridge is this little 14-bottle cooler from BLACK+DECKER.
Is this a wine essential? Well, probably not to be honest but it certainly makes life a bit easier if you want your whites ready at serving temperature.
I only keep some white wines in here and have them ready to go at a moments notice!
The alternative is doing a bit of temperature guess work with my traditional fridge and although I got very good at it over the years, I'm really happy with my dinky wine fridge.
There isn't a great deal of choice with wine fridges of this kind of size and I was drawn to this one by the brand (sucker!). It's served me well over the three years I've had it and if it does another three I'll be satisfied and it'll probably be time to upgrade. Wine coolers are notoriously temperamental and 6 years would be a decent run with no issues.
My Wine Bottle Chiller
I love this bottle chiller from Huski. It's the latest and one of the greatest additions to my wine gear.
Ok, I hear you! This one definitely isn't a wine essential. But, I've included my wine fridge so I can't leave this out now.
If you haven't got a bottle chiller, they are very specifically for people that like their wine kept chilled and are too lazy to get up off their chairs. I am unashamedly that person and I love this chiller from Huski.
It does 3 things in particular that make it a really cool piece of kit.
- 1It does it's job really well and actually keeps bottles chilled for AGES.
- 2It's adjustable so it fits most bottle sizes.
- 3There's no condensation or ice so you don't end up with wet patches everywhere.
So whenever we open a bottle of wine from the wine fridge it goes straight in the chiller and comes with us to the sofa or the garden and it stays cold and most importantly within reach!
Wait! No wine preserver Tim?!
No, we don't have one in the house at the moment. I'm not against them by any means and I've tried out more than a few, but wine just doesn't last long enough.
A bottle of red rarely sees a third day and white wines rarely see a second sunrise. As for sparkling wine, blink and you'll miss it!
What are your "go to" wine essentials that you use almost daily and couldn't do without?