It’s time here on 1WD for entry in the ongoing wine product sample roundup articles series, in which I try out samples sent to me that are not directly vinous / edible in nature. Once again, I’ve tried to whittle down the pile of wine-related tomes cluttering my office floor, but I also managed to have a sort of battle with (yet another) wine opener-type-thingy…
First, there’s the book: The Search for Good Wine: From the Founding Fathers to the Modern Table, by John Hailman (University Press of Mississippi, 301 pages, about $29). Hailman has been a wine competition judge, has authored a couple of other books, and had a nationally syndicated wine column; The Search for Good Wine pulls from the latter, which is the both the book’s strongest asset and (for me) its greatest source of consternation. This is a compendium of Hailman’s well-written, often witty, more often informative, and always accessible column essays, organized into four main categories (people, places, tips, and humor). They are good reads. The trouble is that (too) many of the essays employ relative references (mostly regarding time), yet lack details about when they were written and published. Not a big deal, until you hit the twentieth or so relative mention, at which point the editor in me (and maybe in you) will want to scream. Anyway, it’s solid work if you can get past that possibly-not-so-minor cavil.
Finally, we have my run-in with Vineyard Elite’s “The Perfect Wine Opener” (https://theperfectwineopener.com, $69.95). With such a haughty moniker, and a price to match, you’d think that this thing would work exceptionally well. And you’d be very, very wrong (based on my usage trials, anyway)…
The package comes with “The Perfect Cut” foil cutter (which I found average), three “Perfect Seal” wine bottle pump-stoppers (which work decently well, though they’re not really sized for bottles with smaller necks), and the decently-constructed opener itself, which employs an interesting design.
To use the Perfect Wine Opener, you pierce the cork with the unit’s encased needle, and pump air into the bottle, which forces the cork out with a POP!
Or, at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen.
I only managed to get it working about 50% of the time, and even then I was a bit fearful that I could end up breaking the bottle due to the added pressure (this is absolutely the type of product that should not be used on sparkling wine). Ultimately, this one just doesn’t up live to the price, let alone the name; and while you might have a better success rate using it than I did, I’d advise you to check out one of the similar, cheaper alternatives first (some of which can be found for about $16).