Many of us who enjoy a glass of wine are also fascinated by the gadgets that go with it. Mechanical gadgets and gizmos have been with us since the first grape was made (and some of them have yet to be bettered), but what about the modern, high-tech solutions?
We've chosen a few we particularly like.
23 Million Opinions
We all have smartphones and tablets, so it's no surprise that there are a plethora of wine-related apps available. Our current favorite is Vivino, and the basic version is free.
Ever stared at a wine bottle and wondered what other people thought about it? Open Vivino, take a quick snap and, faster than you can say Gewurztraminer, you'll get ratings, reviews and average prices. Add your own opinions and Vivino will build a 'taste profile' so it can improve its recommendations.
It's fun, and surprisingly accurate, thanks to clever software and the input of around 23 million users. Why not join them?
Since we first sloshed wine from the bottle to a decanter we've searched for better ways to aerate it. Many devices claim to improve the process, but all require tipping the bottle while wine is forced through various contortions.
Not anymore. With the award-winning Aervana you simply fit the device to an open bottle and press a button. In essence, it's a pump designed to provide exactly the right amount of aeration. And because the bottle stays upright, any sediment remains at the bottom.
You can serve wine by the glass or, if you prefer taking a decanter to the table, pump a whole bottle!
You've come home from the office exhausted. A chilled glass of California Riesling would go down nicely. Your partner is back from a long day, and she prefers Chardonnay (not quite so cold). You might have freezer glasses to cool the Riesling, or you could leave the Chardonnay on the table until it warms a couple of degrees.
Or there's Plum. Plum will hold two different bottles and, thanks to Cloud data, recognizes the bottles and chills them individually. Plum inserts tiny needles and injects argon (which is tasteless), so the contents remain untainted by air. It's claimed that wine will keep 90 days. Plum even turns itself on when you approach, and off as you move away.
This kind of technology doesn't come cheap, but if it was all about the money we'd all drink water.
More Drinking Without Opening
Here's a conundrum. You have some Cabernet Sauvignon you've been keeping until it reaches its prime. But only a few bottles. You don't want to open it too soon. What you need is a Coravin, the clever device that lets you taste the wine without opening it.
Much like the Plum, it passes a fine needle through a cork and injects argon, preserving the wine's character. As you remove the needle, the cork reseals itself.
It's not just for aged reds of course. You might try a young Zinfandel exactly as it left the vineyard. You might try one using the Coravin, and another allowed to breathe for an hour. We love to experiment, don't you?
The evening is coming to an end. As the designated driver you were careful, but that Mendocino blend was tempting. You feel fine to drive though...
Good wine is a sensory feast that goes well with all kinds of things, but not automobiles, and each of us is our own worst judge. So our final piece of wine-related technology is designed to tell you if you really are OK to drive, or if you should call a cab.
The Alcomate range is extensive. They're small, easy to use and extremely accurate. You can't use one as evidence in a DUI case, but they are as precise as those used by law enforcement. If it says you're over the limit, it's time to start dialing.
So there you have it. Our favorite five high-tech wine gadgets. Did we miss anything? If there's a wine widget you can't do without, let us know!
Image via aervana.com