Wine Time

Corkscrews and More

There's a lot more to wine than just drinking it, although that's the most fun part. What's the best tool for opening wine? How do you preserve wine? What are the best glasses for wine? These are just a few of the many questions that face wine lovers. This week's posting is the first in a series featuring wine accessories to help you enjoy our Wine of the Week suggestions.

Obviously, the easiest wines to open are the screw caps. However, a lot of wines haven't made this transition. We anticipate many more wines will be screw caps in a few years, but until then, we have our go-to tools for wine opening. If you are determined enough, any wine opener will do, but we like easy and fast.

First we need to cut the foil. All foil cutters are not made alike, despite what you may think. We have a drawer full of ones that just barely scratch the foil's surface. We like the Screwpull 4 Wheel Foil Cutter, which will run you about $8. A simple knife will always work in a pinch.

The most important part of opening wine is the corkscrew. When you order wine at a restaurant, the waiter opens the wine with a simple waiter's corkscrew. You can usually find your own version for pretty cheap at the liquor store or grocery store. To be honest, these are not our favorite. Maybe we aren't coordinated enough, but we always find we're struggling to get the cork out easily.

Another inexpensive version we like much better is a standard wine corkscrew. Some companies call it the wine and bar corkscrew. When you twist this it into the cork, the "wings" move up. When you push the wings down, the cork comes out of the bottle. Pretty simple and straightforward.

But our all-time favorite is the lever pull corkscrew. If you feel like shelling out more than $50 for a corkscrew, invest in one of these (some call it a screw pull). The lever pull offers one of the easiest ways to uncork wine. Once you have a good one of these, it's hard to go back to any other opener. Put it on your birthday list so someone else can pay for it.

After opening the wine and having a glass or two, you need to figure out how to preserve the rest. (Okay, we don't usually have that problem, but we've been told some people do.) There are a lot of devices that claim to preserve wine, but we've found that the Private Preserve Gas Wine Preservation Can is the best. You can pick up a bottle for less than $10 at Spec's. In the rare instance that we have wine left over, we spray a few squirts of the gas into the wine and cork it.

In our next wine accessories feature, we will be looking at what glasses are best for drinking wine.

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Jane Catherine Collins