We’re less than 10 days away from Christmas and if you’re a procrastinator like me, you’re still struggling to find some last minute items for the loved-ones on your list. Well, if they’re into wine, even a little, this Christmas elf is here to help. I’ve got everything from stocking stuffers to big ticket items that wine-lovering novices and pros will appreciate. While you may see some of the same items showcased on Black Friday, read on — I snuck a few extra goodies in here just for you. Take a look, shop around, and have a very happy holiday season!
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM BRISCOEBITES!
I was first turned on to Capabunga during a Twitter chat discussing the best way to preserve bubbles. Up until recently I was using an awkward-shaped metal wine cork that really only fit inside the necks of bubbly wine. Suffice it to say, the cork often popped out, leaking air, and failing at its job. Enter CapaBubbles.
All you have to do is clip a screw base to the neck of the bottle and the fancy, fun, and cutely annotated cap screws right on. I tested this product on several bottles, waiting various lengths of time to test how well the preservation system works. When sealed tight, the Capabunga CapaBubbles will keep your bubbly bubbly for about a week. Any longer than that, and the wine just doesn’t have the body it did upon first opening. (I’d heard a rumor — not from the distributor — that it could last up to three weeks. Not so, and my personal recommendation is to enjoy the wine within three days of capping.) One thing I will note is that the screw base doesn’t seem to fit all bottles perfectly. There were a few bottle necks that were too large around to actually clip the base completely. If this happens, you can squeeze the base while you screw the cap on. It works just fine.
Learn more and purchase CapaBubbles (Retail: $9.95 each)
Avina Wine Tools Champagne Stopper
Less festively decorated, but for me more reliable, is the Avina Wine Tools Champagne Stopper. This one goes in like a regular cork would, but you clamp the silver bit down. Don’t be afraid to give it a good push, make sure it clicks all the way. Each time I re-opened my sparkling wine — later that day, the next day, and one week later — I had the “pop” and misty, yeasty air as if I’d popped the original cork for the first time. And, of course, there were bubbles in my glass. Bonus points go to Avina for this easy-to-use contraption that actually does fit all bottle neck sizes.
Purchase the Avina Wine Tools Champagne Stopper on Amazon. ($14.99 for Prime Members)
Capabunga Wine Stoppers
Going back to Capabunga, my favorite product of theirs is actually their regular wine stoppers. These are officially my go-to wine stoppers now. Many times — especially in the summer — I go to pour myself a glass of wine, but want to keep the bottle in the fridge or cellar to stay cool. The problem is that if you pour a small amount — even just full Brisocoe-sized glass — my Rabbits (which I like and still have) actually pop out if putting the bottle back horizontally. I hate wasting wine and cleaning up the cellar after this happens and hate having to store the wine vertically, even for a short amount of time. Problem solved with Capabunga, as the rubber cap completely seals around the top of the bottle.
Learn more, purchase, and customize your own Capabunga wine stoppers. (Retail price varies.)
Vine Bottle Stabilizers
White wine rolling around your conventional fridge without abandon? Well inventor Marc Rumaner and his wife had the same problem and came up with a pretty easy solution.
Done deal! What I loved was that even though I only had two, the Vine Bottle Stabilizers actually kept the wines in between in line as well. Honestly, it’s one of those inventions you wish you thought of — and a product you don’t realize you need until you have it.
Learn more and purchase Vine Bottle Stabilizers. (Retail: $8 for a pack of 2)
Avina Wine Tools
I’m sure you’ve all seen my drawer of too many corkscrews. But if I was going to go out and purchase one for someone who maybe doesn’t have a drawer dedicated to wine-opening contraptions, I’d absolutely gift them the Avina Wing Corkscrew. The pretty pink one pictured below donates a percentage of sales to breast cancer charities. Although at the end of the day I am a fan of the good old fashioned waiter’s friend (which Avina also sells), I have to admit that this is the most seamless wing corkscrew I’ve ever used. You can read the full Avina Wine Tools Swan Corkscrew review.
Learn more and purchase Avina Wine Tools Swan Corkscrew. (Retail: $24.99)
Coravin Wine System
Ok, I’m going to get super nerdy here. As a wine writer, I taste a lot of wine — much of that is actually done at home or in the office. I’m just one little woman, and to keep all you fine folks up to speed on latest releases, fun wine regions, and just darn good wine, I do my best to keep up my “one wine a day” reputation. I feel bad popping the cork on something delicious, only to have it sit in the cellar until I can pair it with a proper meal. So what I’m saying is the Coravin Wine System isn’t just for tasting rooms any longer.
This specific system is the Coravin Model One Wine System. For those unfamiliar with how it works, the Coravin’s needle penetrates corks with the tiniest of pinpricks. (Note: This only works on natural corks, not synthetic material, screw caps, and cannot be used on sparkling wine.) The capsule-loading chamber uses minimal force, ensuring an airtight seal and preventing the release of internal gases (hehe). The capsules contain 99.99% pure argon gas, protecting the wine left in bottle from oxidation. And so, you can enjoy a 5-ounce pour without popping the cork.
Learn more and purchase the Coravin Wine System Model One. (Retail: $199.95)
Some people are of the mind that they must use the appropriate wine glass for the wine they are pouring. Then there are others that keep a more “eclectic” collection of wine glasses that suit their mood rather than the wine. Well, Julianna Glass fulfills both those needs. No, these aren’t Riedel, Zalto, or any other name-brand stemware, but these are real wine glasses. They’re made from lead free crystal glass, hand cut by trained glass artists. And you can tell just by handling it. Strong, sturdy, admittedly thicker than my Riedel stemware — but that’s actually an aspect I enjoy about it. I purchased the Bordeaux red wine glass, but find that it works for red, white, and even sparkling wines. (Yes, it really does keep the bubbles, bubbly.) But, for those more hardcore traditionalists, Julianna does offer the full spectrum of wine glass shapes and sizes.
The other thing I’d like to note, is that these wine glasses weren’t just “be-jeweled” with a hot glue gun. No, these are real Swarovski crystals and are solidly attached to these glasses. When you pick out your Julianna Glass, you can chose from a selection of designs, customizing just how sparkly (or not) you want your wine collection to be.
Lastly, I’d just like to say that I am one of those people who are pretty hardcore about using the appropriate wine glass when enjoying my wine — whether running a tasting or pairing with a mid-week meal. So you can believe me when I say that these glasses are a solid investment to any wine-lover’s collection.
Learn more and purchase from the Julianna Glass website. (Prices vary per wine glass.)
All products reviewed except for the Coravin Wine System Model One and the Julianna Glass (which were purchased) were received as samples for review. This has no affect on my opinion or decision to include the product in this post.
BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery, tasting room, or wine-related product featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!