I own five pieces of equipment devoted exclusively to carrying wine around. There is the basic canvas two-bottle bag I got at the grocery store, the one-bottle neoprene bag and its two-bottle counterpart, the stylish, teal and brown four-bottle bag, and the two-bottle Picnic Time Platinum carrying case, with thermo guard insulation, velvet lining, stainless steel corkscrew, and brushed aluminum exterior. That last one cost $70, and although it works very well, it tends to provoke mockery. My father, in fact, refers to it as my “Barbie doll carrying case.”
No, this isn’t a space-age crack pipe, but the Vinturi Wine Aerator, which promises “all the taste with none of the wait.”
Is it uncool for me to transport my wine by such fancy means? It’s certainly not punk. Johnny Ramone used to carry his guitar around in a plastic shopping bag. But I think of myself more like the pool shark who takes his custom pool cue out of its case, informs everyone that its name is “Lucille,” and then proceeds to run the table. Having a bunch of specialized tools makes you look like a professional. A guy without gadgets is an amateur, but a guy with a tool belt is Batman. Which, come to think of it, pretty much sums up The Sharper Image’s whole raison d’etre, doesn’t it?
I recently picked up a pretty groovy little wine toy. The Vinturi Wine Aerator is a clear plastic device that looks like some kind of space-age crack pipe and promises “all the taste with none of the wait” (which is pretty much the raison d’etre of crack). No longer, according to the literature, will you have to go through the “time consuming, cumbersome, and inconvenient” process of decanting wine. “Simply hold Vinturi over a glass and pour wine through. Vinturi draws in and mixes the proper amount of air for the right amount of time, allowing your wine to breathe instantly.”
In a totally scientific test at a local wine shop, I poured an aerated glass and a nonaerated glass of a French red. The Vinturi made an unpleasant sucking sound when the wine was poured through. It was the sound I imagine a zombie makes when it sucks your brain out through your nose, and although the wine that emerged on the other side was noticeably bubblier, it did not taste noticeably better.
I was suddenly seized by a brilliant idea. I decided to cut out the middleman. No more would I have to go through the time-consuming, cumbersome and inconvenient process of using a glass! I knelt down, holding the Vinturi over my mouth, and had the sales associate pour the wine into the Vinturi, decanting it straight onto my discerning palate. The Vinturi sucked and shlurped, spewing aerated (but not better-tasting) wine down my chin and all over the front of my shirt. I stood up and let the employees and customers have their little laugh.
The truth is I like decanters, and if I really want to get some air into a bottle, I’ll usually just put my thumb over the top and give it a good shake. Most wine gadgets are not for me. But I refuse to carry my wine bottles or my Barbie dolls around in paper bags. And I think I may have found just the thing. It’s called the Burmese Wine Purse, and it’s available in three different colors of faux snakeskin. Johnny Ramone, say hello to Lucille.