I’m a real sucker for expensive foodie equipment, whether it’s kitchen gadgets or wine paraphernalia. I have Shun knives, copper pots and pans, even fancy whisks. With my wine equipment, I don’t have a cellar yet, but will eventually, and I have a variety of Riedel glasses and Screwpull corkscrews. I have an electronic chiller and an electronic thermometer to tell me when a wine is just right for drinking. I even have software to maintain a wine inventory and to tell me when a wine is at its prime.
I can argue the merits of gadgets and tools all day long. I can extol the virtues of hand blown glasses that are designed for different varieties of wines. I can even rationalize putting in a cellar for several thousand dollars. But do I really need all that?
For centuries, wine has been enjoyed by people that had simple glasses, a metal corkscrew with a handle and storage in a cool basement. Are wines better today with all the fancy schmancy dodads available to us now?
Probably not. I’ve gotten by without a cellar for years and enjoyed very good wines with family and friends. I’ve found that I can get a bottle open with not too much effort with a cheap corkscrew, and the wine pours out the same as it does when I open one with my Screwpull.
There are some items I’ve found really do make a difference. Well designed glasses can actually affect the flavor of the wine by manipulating tastebuds and nostrils. However, machine made glasses may be just as good at this as hand blown crystal. (Crystal is important, though, as the rougher surface means more aroma from the wine after swirling). If investing in wines, controlling the storage environment can mean the difference between appreciated values and having a room full of worthless vinegar.
Will I rethink my gadgets? Maybe, maybe not. But I do like to go simpler at times, if nothing else to determine whether the cost of more expensive alternatives is actually justified.
So what wine tools have you accumulated that you find aren’t useful or were costlier than necessary?