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Wine Tools


Glassware
A wine glass of the right size and shape is a contributing factor to the enjoyment of wine. However, there is no need to rush out and spend a fortune on wine glasses. To get the maximum enjoyment, select a wine glass that is made of thin, clear glass. It should be long-stemmed, with a large bowl narrowing slightly at the top, and should hold at least 10 fluid ounces. The large bowl is designed to capture the bouquet of the wine. The glass should be filled about half full, thus holding between four and five ounces. To enjoy sparkling wines, get a champagne flute or a slender, tulip-shaped glass. The shape of the glass will enhance the aroma and will concentrate and preserve the "bubbles" of the sparkling wine. If you have a big budget, just go ahead and invest in different shaped glasses for the different types of wine. It certainly will make it much more fun to drink wine.

Corkscrew
Be certain to get a good corkscrew to open your wine bottle. There are many different kinds to choose from. Besides the expensive and large contraptions used in most winery tasting rooms and some restaurant bars, there is the simple device with two metal prongs, which must be forced down the side of the cork to extract it; the pump, and the basic corkscrew that can be purchased in any wine store for about $1. The classic, professional corkscrew, which most waiters use, does the best job. The sleek, flat, metal, pocket-size device has a correctly proportioned corkscrew (especially the ones made in Italy), and an attached metal lever makes it easier to extract the cork. The corkscrew comes equipped with a small knife that also enables you to cut the foil at the bottle neck.When you attempt to open a bottle of wine, go easy. You do not want to shake up the bottle unnecessarily. Start with cutting the foil below the lip of the wine bottle by using the knife on your corkscrew. Peel only the top of the foil away. You do not want to "undress" the bottle by removing all of the foil. Next insert the tip of the screw into the cork. Push down gently, and screw it about 2/3 into the cork. Pull the cork straight up by using the metal lever on your corkscrew for leverage. Pull the cork half out of the bottle neck. Now screw further down into the cork. Be careful not to screw through the bottom. You want to avoid getting cork particles in the wine. Then gently pull straight up and ease the cork out of the bottle.

Wine Bucket
A wine bucket is great to have on hand if you enjoy white and sparkling wines, which are best enjoyed when served chilled. Set the wine bucket on your dinner table, or if you have a wine bucket stand, set it next to your table, to keep your wine cold. It will come in handy, especially in summer, when you want to enjoy hot nights dining out on the terrace or balcony. The bucket is also great for chilling wine quickly. All you need to do is fill the bucket with ice, add water and put the bottle into the slushy ice. The wine will be chilled in very little time.Wine buckets come in many shapes, sizes and materials. The conventional metal bucket used by most restaurants seems to be the most practical. If you shop around, you may find more attractive ones made out of glass or lucite.

Decanter
You also may want to invest in a decanter. It is used to decant wine, which means that wine is poured out of the bottle into a container. The reason for doing so is to let the wine "breathe," which means to let oxygen go to the wine to "open it up" to allow it to unfold. This is recommended for older, fine red wines, for young red wines, or for young, sulfurous white wines. Some old vintage wines benefit from decanting to rid them of sediment. Use extreme caution not to shake up the wine. This is especially important when handling older reds. Before decanting the wine, let the bottle stand upright to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom. After carefully extracting the cork, pour the wine slowly into the decanter. Stop pouring when you can see the sediment. A decanter also comes in handy to serve wine poured from magnum wine bottles. This way you are able to present your inexpensive wines in a nice container. The average wine drinkers simply let the wine "breathe" by uncorking the bottle and letting it sit for a while. For some wines, it may not be enough, since the neck of the bottle is very narrow, and not much air will get into the bottle. Another simple way to let the wine "breathe" before drinking it is to pour some wine into a large wine glass, and let the wine "unfold" that way.

Pump
One other small investment you may want to make is the pump device called Vacu-vin. It can be purchased in any liquor store. It will come in handy when you open a bottle of wine that you are not going to finish. The stopper, which is part of the assembly, has a hole. After closing the bottle with the stopper, the pump is inserted in the hole, and the air can then be sucked out of the bottle. This procedure reduces the effect of oxygen on the wine and may add a few days to the life of your wine.