Wine has a long history and is, not only in manufacturing, surrounded by all kinds of customs and culture, but also by pouring and drinking. We therefore have the necessary attributes to wine. Of course, to drink wine, you need only a few of them. A good bottle (with wine at the right temperature), a corkscrew and a glass of sufficient size! But sometimes we need more and so our kitchen cabinets and drawers become full of different wine attributes. This is all about wine and accessories such as corkscrews, wine coolers, decanters and more.
Cooling Wine, how and what if it must be done quickly
To start this chapter with a well-known problem: an unexpected visit and the wine or champagne is not cold? The temptation is maybe great for putting a bottle in the freezer? Do not, because it’s bad for flavour. Moreover, if you forget the bottle, it may also burst.
The quickest way to cool a bottle of wine is still the traditional bucket. Use both ice and water and salt. Ice cubes alone do not work quickly, something even many professionals do not seem to want to learn. The best thing to do then is add 2 handfuls of salt. This ensures that you will have ice water faster. After about 10 to 15 minutes the wine is at perfect serving temperature.
Meanwhile I will continue with a description of the most commonly used methods to cool wine:
- As described above: the ice bucket, the most used of all.
- A refrigerator, which everyone knows or wine cooler, further described here.
- The so-called cooling cuffs which you place in the freezer beforehand that subsequently cool and come to sit around the bottle.
Corkscrews, different types and what criteria should they meet?
A corkscrew is a handy tool to pull a cork from a bottle, for example, a wine bottle. The spiral of a good corkscrew should be a spiral-shaped metal thread. Many inexpensive corkscrews look more like a wood screw or drill. They are of metal rolled in one piece and often have a sharp edge. The probability that the edges are pulled back by the cork is quite large and these types are not suitable!
There are many different types of corkscrews, some of them described below:
- With the simplest model corkscrew it is necessary to maintain good hand power on the bottle to pull the cork in a linear movement. The spiral is made from wire windings.
- Professional users, such as, for example, a sommelier, typically employ a waiter or waitress knife. This is a corkscrew of which the handle can be used as a lever. Most versions also contain a small knife with which the capsule (in part) of the bottle can be cut off, just below the slightly thickened edge of the neck.
- A variant of the above-mentioned waiter’s is the tapered pull, in other words the two step corkscrew, which is gaining in popularity. It is a corkscrew which is similar to the one for the waiter, but in which the cork is drawn in two steps from the bottle. The great advantage of this corkscrew is that the probability that the stopper breaks when uncorking is reduced by the lifting action.
- The most famous of them all: the wing corkscrew, with two levers. One on each side. Even the untrained user can usually be good with it. With this device it is virtually impossible to make errors.
- Screwpull but also Wine Master are trademarks and resemble a wing corkscrew but without the levers. The spiral is coated with Teflon and is rotated through the stopper and then further exhausted. By turning it the cork comes up.
- The corkscrew with air pressure has a thick needle with a pump. It works by inserting a needle through the cork. Next, air is pumped into the bottle. Through the air pressure, the cork lifts itself up. Some wine experts believe that this is at the expense of the wine though. There are also those who work with a carbon dioxide cartridge.
- The electric corkscrew is an ideal tool to smoothly and effortlessly open your wine bottle. It is suitable for all types of corks. To uncork the bottle hold the corkscrew on the bottle and press the button and then the bottle is uncorked. Then the cork comes automatically from the machine.
- Finally, there is a left-handed corkscrew spiral with a “mirror image”. Handy for the “die-hard” left hand users!
I have detailed the use of glasses in an earlier article, which you can read here.
Caraffing or decanting?
What many do not know is that there is an essential difference between decanting and caraffing (or aerate).
You do this with young wines that you need to drink and you do not want to keep. Caraffing does give a wine the air it needs. Let the wine “breathe” with just the cork off the bottle has less effect. Pouring the wine in a glass or into a decanter therefore works faster. Pour the wine into a large carafe with a thick, big belly and a long neck or in a large wine glass , with generous gestures so that the wine comes in contact with oxygen. This applies for all wines – white, red and rosé – which have not had much contact with oxygen during ripening.
This is done to separate the wine from sediment. You best do it in a small carafe so that wine does not lose more of its flavours! Start to set the bottle upright so that any sediment may flow to the bottom of the bottle. Remove the capsule of the bottle completely and then hold the bottle in such an angle that the sediment cannot escape. Let the wine gently flow into a sparkling clean carafe. For wines without sediment which only need oxygen, the capsule may be not quite finished. Please make the bottle edge clean.
Wine storage after opening, with or without cork and what tools?
There are many myths about the best ways to store wine once the bottle has been opened. How long can you keep a wine after opening is not easy to answer because factors such as the amount of remaining wine in the bottle, the environment variables such as temperature and cigarette smoke can also be of influence. From my own experience I know that normally half a bottle of wine can be closed by a cap or cork and then be preserved for up to two days.
So there are different ways to store wine after opening:
- Just put the cork back on, but the wine will only be good for one day and some wines will most likely lose much of their flavour the same night!
- A simple wine stopper, which many of us have, but probably will not make much difference to the cork stop, it just looks a bit nicer on a beautifully set table!
- The vacuum pump. Most of us know the brand Vaccuvin, with this method you can extend the life of your wine easily to 3 and even 4 days.
- With inert gas. This is a relatively new method that can be found mostly in the hospitality industry. This system is pumping gas into the bottle by means of a special stop, and forces the air out of the bottle so that the wine does not come into contact with air, cannot oxidize and thereby lasts longer. The inert gas is certified for use in the food industry. In the hospitality industry you will find devices with a capacity of holding 2 to 8 bottles that can be stored for more than 1 week.
You have seen that there are many wine accessories, some indispensable and some nice to have that will contribute to drinking a good wine. If you have any questions and/or remarks, please leave them in the comment box and I will reply within 24 hours.
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