Hey, Big Spender! (October 2015 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on October 8, 2015 binned in wine products

After the success of last week’s wine product roundup (why aren’t you people so free with your coinage when I ask you to donate to charities?), I figured I’d get an early lead on the October edition of the rummaging through of my product samples. Be forewarned, the selections aren’t cheap, but they are well worth a serious look-see.

vinomasterFirst up, is yet another wine opener (I know… I know…). Before you throw up in your mouth, hear me out on this one: the Vinomaster Screwpull (about $45) has totally relegated my old “rabbit-style” opener to the bench for the foreseeable bottle-popping future.

While I like the rabbit-style action for fast cork extraction (particularly if you’re opening several bottles at a time), I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve nearly killed myself trying to stabilize the bottle while using that opener (this is for those instances where clamping the bottom of the bottle in my crotch would be considered socially awkward). The Vinomaster not only works like a charm for yanking corks, it also looks pretty good, feels very sturdy, and the design allows you get a firm grip on the bottle without having to employ crotch-stabilization techniques. The included foil-cutter is more run-of-the-mill, unfortunately, but that doesn’t spoil the excellence of the screwpull itself.

Next, there’s yet another wine aerator (again, mouth-puking should be withheld for a moment or two, if possible). I should first tell you that I’ve yet to encounter a wine accessory that’s more fun to use than the Aervana (about $100), which is billed as the world’s first electric wine aerator. While I haven’t researched it enough to challenge that claim, I have employed a modicum of aeration testing on the thing, and was thrilled with the results (particularly on younger, more tannic reds). The thing actually has a lot going against it: it’s pricey; it works great, but not exceptionally greater than much less expensive aerators (for my buck, the Soiree still wears the crown in that department when it comes to the price/results ratio); it’s a little top-heavy; it’s a little on the noisy side; and it requires six (!) batteries to run it, which is probably more than most marital aids.

AervanaBUT… There is no denying the fun to be had in using it. In my household, no one, including children, would let me get away with not showing them how it worked after catching a glimpse of it sitting atop an open bottle. Once you press the button on the top, and the whirring starts up, and the wine starts pouring out of the attached spout, it’s awesome. And the novelty doesn’t wear off quickly, either; it stays fun (though that might have as much to do with increased wine consumption as a result of using it as it does anything else). The second-best part? Cleaning the Aervana is almost as much fun as aerating wine with it (rinse the empty bottle, fill it up with clean water, and run the aerator again – brilliant!).






Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For October 5, 2015

Vinted on October 5, 2015 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 11 Firriato Harmonium Nero d'Avola (Sicily): Aptly named, considering how well those normally wild tannins have been domesticated. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Firriato L'Ecru Passito Bianco (Sicily): Sultanas & orange tea are the calling cards of this very sweet & very likable company. $37 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Cottanera Etna Rosso Riserva (Sicily): A smoky, spicy, grippy mystery right now, but certainly worth the plot twists to the reveal $70 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Cottanera Etna Bianco (Sicily): Pears, wrapped in citrus peel and garnished with stones, with the whole thing dipped in sea water. $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Barone di Villagrande Etna Bianco Superiore (Etna): Almost laughably young, seriously citric, and most seriously under-priced. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Casa del Feudo Barone Beneventano Del Bosco Chardonnay Inzolia (Sicily): Lemons & peaches, with blossoms, & every drop of acid. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Casa del Feudo Barone Beneventano Del Bosco Chardonnay (Sicily): Fresh flowers, fresh apples, fresh rain on stones, & all aplenty. $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Azienda Agricola Tornatore Etna Rosso (Etna): Cherries, leather, spice, and value; bring your gourmet burgers & the fixings. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Menti Giovanni Roncaie sui lieviti (Gambellara): Now people gather round! Now people jump around! Getcho freak on!…… Go! $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Menti Giovanni Paiele (Gambellara): A veritable river of citrus; not wide, certainly, but in spots it's actually pretty deep. $12 B >>find this wine<<



Classy Openings, Surreptitious Sipping (September 2015 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on September 30, 2015 binned in wine products

Since closing out my Answers.com gig back in June of this year, I have found myself still inundated with wine product/accessory/gizmo samples (I’ve totally given up on trying to keep samples to a manageable number), but without a convenient (and conveniently highly trafficked) outlet with which to share the better or more interesting of those products.

And so I’m breaking a loooooooong streak of avoiding wine product mentions here on 1WD, so that I can give you a gander at a couple of the vinous accessories that tickled my… whatever it is for wine geeks that gets tickled when they get to play with accessory samples.


Barvivo (image: Barvivo)


First up is a corkscrew, which at first blush sounds boring, but I’ve personally been fascinated by these bizarre more-or-less-single-purpose tools ever since researching their surprisingly interesting backstory for a PUBLIX Grape article I penned last year. Right now, I’m full-on a fan of the “hinged” waiter’s friend style of corkscrew, so I was pretty jazzed to try out a sample of Barvivo’s take on that design. This little number works like a charm, has the double-hinge action that I’ve grown to find invaluable, and it looks classy as hell.

I’m not accusing them of slave labor, but I’ve no idea how they managed such high production quality for such a low price. As of the time of this writing, they’re offering a coupon deal, which makes the corkscrew a total steal.


When I was contacted by the founder of Vivajennz, I wasn’t sure what to make of the idea of her product, which is basically an “up-style” of wine in a bag. “This is either going to be brilliant,” I thought, “or completely stupid.”


Surprise! We’ve got vino, beeatches! (image: Vivajennz)

Turns out that the result is somewhere in between, but I’m finding that I like the idea of the messenger-bag version of this wine tote more and more. The short version of the story behind Vivajennz is that instead of using a collapsible pouch for transporting your favorite vino to an event or gathering, you instead put it into a pouch, to which a dispensing nozzle/tap is affixed, and which all fits into one of the stylish, insulated bag designs. Open a flap on your way-cool bag, and take a tap to fill a glass; and boom, presumably, you’re the hit of the party.

The overall design isn’t the most practical, but I really like that the bag does double-duty (in the case of my sample, the messenger bag is perfectly capable on its own for acting as, well, a messenger bag, and it looks great). Might be worth checking out for the style lover / wine guzzler in your life.





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