It doesn’t take all that much money to have just about everything you need to support a wine predilection in fine style. From my viewpoint, you need four tools only, and you can get one of each for sub-$45.


Hack 1: You need to get the wine out of the bottle. When the wine has a screw top, it’s easy: Twist. Open. Pour. A good screw top (bad ones exist, too; they let in air) is a great closure. It’s airtight, for one thing, except to the extent that air is trapped in the bottle’s capsule; the space between the top of the wine in the bottle and the bottom of the closure. That air mixes with the wine, helping it mature gracefully. Plus that, no danger of the wine being corked, and you can store it upright; no need to keep a cork moist. Purists point out that a good cork allows the wine to breathe “over time,” usually meaning ten or more years. Do you have wines that will last that long? Sure you could, as long as you’re willing to spend big bucks to look at a bottle for a decade. (I digressed. Sorry about that.) So what do you need? A good corkscrew; i.e., a waiter’s double-hinge corkscrew that you learn how to use properly; directions here, BUT I cut the foil higher up, at the first ridge. How much for a good corkscrew? How about $2.50 on Amazon? HOWEVER, if you want to give a great birthday, anniversary, or other “day” gift, try this oversize beauty, from Legnoart via Amazon; the one on the right. (FYI, my birthday is November 8.)


Hack 2: You’ll need glasses and, for my money, the best buy on the market is the Nachtmann Vivendi 30-ounce Pinot Noir glass. Think the glass doesn’t matter? I used to think that. It DOES matter, and the Vivendi proves the point. Splurge. (You don’t have to drink Pinot from them. Almost any wine – regardless of color – tastes better in one of these.) They sell on Amazon for about $8.50 each. (Compare to the Riedel Veritas at $35 each. FYI, Riedel makes Nachtmann.)

Hack 3: You’ll benefit from having a nice decanter. It serves to aerate the wine and adds a great touch of finesse to your table. Plus that, some really neat-looking, conversation-piece decanters are available without having to break the bank to purchase. Consider this beauty:

It’s just $18.69 on – where else? – Amazon.


Hack 4: We are now ready to pour the contents of the well-opened bottle into the mouth of the beautiful decanter. And for that, your best bet is an aerating wine funnel with a screen to catch sediment from older bottles and cork scraps from old corks or new corks that were opened a bit improperly. The cost? Sub-$16 on THAT store.

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