Stocking stuffers for the Oenophile
By W. Peter Hoyne
If you're one of those wine gadget fanatics, as I am, you're always looking for that new toy that will create a little excitement during the holidays. I've discovered a few modestly priced, yet well-designed products that will enhance your enjoyment of wine or provide the perfect stocking stuffer.
1. WineSkin. I discovered this item at a winery gift shop when I was trying to find a way to ship a single bottle back home in my luggage. The WineSkin is a heavy vinyl cover with an inner pocket of protective bubble wrap designed to fit a standard wine bottle. At the end are two secure adhesive bands that create a seal making sure the bottle stays in place for safe transport in your luggage. I've used it several times with great success and no breakage yet. | About $2 - $4 per bag
2. Bonjour Instant Wine Thermometer. How do you know the temperature of a wine you're serving before you open the bottle? Is the chardonnay or sparkling wine cold enough? Does it need more time to reach room temperature? Point the infrared beam of the Bonjour device at the outside of the bottle and it instantly gives you the temperature reading of the liquid inside. | About $30
3. Vinturi Wine Aerator. Last year when I was traveling through Napa, I stopped at a winery to taste their current release of Pinot Noir. They poured me a dark brooding wine that was a very youthful, well-crafted Pinot Noir. I found it difficult to get past the hard tannins and astringency that many young wines offer when just released from the winery. Sensing my reluctance to finish the wine, they brought an aerator to my table and repoured the wine through the aerator. It was a revelation as a new well-rounded approachable beauty emerged in my glass. The Venturi is a clear, cylindrical funnel on top with several fine holes placed at precise angles that quickly infuse air into the wine that is poured through it. | About $40
4. Ravi Wine Chiller. If you've forgot to chill the wine before friends arrive at the last minute, then this novelty can be a quick fix. Leave it in your freezer for 6 hours and then attach it to the top of your wine bottle after opening. The wine flows through the frozen cylinder putting a quick but gentle chill on the wine. | About $40
W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.