Here's to the Holidays: Part 2
Stocking stuffers for the wine lovers in your life
Posted: December 19, 2005
Here are a few stocking stuffers for wine lovers, ranging from wine to gadgets to something that's just nice to look at.
Women in Winegrowing calendar
No, it's not that kind of calendar. This one features some of the most accomplished women in the Napa wine industry, focusing on those who practice sustainable farming and are active in the community. The 21 women featured in the calendar—including Elaine Honig of Honig Vineyards, Mary Hall of Harlan Estate, Kathryn Hall of Hall Wines and Beth Milliken of Spottswoode Estate—were photographed in naturally beautiful spots in and around Napa Valley. Plus, all proceeds go toward the Napa Valley Grapegrowers' sustainable agriculture and community outreach efforts. $15 plus shipping at www.womeninwinegrowing.com.
You might need to use a railroad spike instead of a nail to hang the stocking on the mantel if you stick this 3L tube of wine in it, but the recipient will be more than grateful. The French white wine—the result of a collaboration between vintner Dominique Lafon of Burgundy's Domaine des Comtes Lafon, sommelier Daniel Johnnes and chef Daniel Boulud—comes in a cardboard cylinder that contains a collapsible bag. The tube, which is a little shorter than a 750ml bottle, dispenses the wine either standing or lying on its side. The suggested retail price is $37, which amounts to less than $10 per standard bottle. Even better, if kept in the refrigerator, the wine stays drinkable for up to four weeks after the first glass is poured. That's definitely a gift that keeps on giving. Available at retailers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland.
Pocket Guide to Ontario Wines, Wineries, Vineyards & Vines
Wine lovers are constant explorers, on the hunt for the next promising region and the unique flavors it produces. And as more and more Canadian wines make their way into the United States, this will be a handy reference guide. The pocket-sized book by Konrad Ejbich contains listings for wineries in the Niagara Peninsula, the North Shore of Lake Erie, Pelee Island, Toronto and Prince Edward County. Ejbich has an approachable, easy-to-understand writing style, offers a comprehensive rating system and even slips in basic info for novices, such as an explanation of the use of oak barrels. Available for $16.95 at www.mcclelland.com.
Metrokane wine chiller
Metrokane, maker of the Rabbit corkscrew and countless other kitchen and wine accessories, now offers a neoprene-insulated bottle chiller. The elastic-trimmed Metrokane wine chiller fits nearly any bottle, even magnums. With its four insulated ice packs, it takes a while to chill a room-temperature bottle, but it can keep a pre-chilled bottle at a crisp 57° F after sitting out for two hours. The Metrokane Rabbit wine chillers, available in black and red, retail for $13. The company also makes the same product in four colors under the name Metrokane Houdini, which sell for the same price.
Three-in-one Le Creuset Screwpull
For those who can't be bothered carrying the bulky-but-effective Rabbit opener everywhere they go, this is a compact, easy-to-use alternative. The Screwpull's stainless-steel foil cutter has a serrated edge and folds away easily when not in use. The corkscrew portion is self-pulling, so the more you twist, the further the cork comes out, until it's free of the bottle's neck. The Screwpull also has a bottle opener for those who'd just like a beer. Available in five colors for $19.99 from www.lecreuset.com.
OXO steel wine pourer and stopper
The stopper seals wine for easy, short-term storage, while the pourer allows for even, consistent, drip-free flow. Like other OXO products, both the stopper and the pourer have a soft rubber gripping area that makes them easy to attach and remove from wine bottles. Plus, the rubber insertions are designed to fit bottles with narrow and wide necks alike. Dishwasher safe. Available for $4.99 each at www.oxo.com.
There's always that one person at a holiday gathering. The clumsy one. The accident-prone one. Or maybe even the one who has just one drink too many. Whoever plays the role of That Guy for the evening, though, the end result is always the same: a red-wine stain on light-colored upholstery or carpet. With that in mind, we tested stain removers large and small, and here's what we found.
Stain Rx was tested on a large, non-uniform red-wine stain that had set in for about 48 hours on a tan sofa. Whether used on carpet, clothes or upholstery, the instructions suggest a colorfast test, followed by a light application of Stain Rx and blotting. The tester opted for liberal application and conservative blotting. The final recommended step is to use an electric shampooer or wet/dry shopvac with water to remove the product's soapy residue, but if you have such equipment on hand, you might not need Stain Rx as well. So, the initial blotting followed by a second round with a damp towel would have to do. The following morning, there was no sign of the red wine, but Stain Rx's rather unpleasant, gluey, nail-polish scent hovered around the stain area for a good couple of days. Available at www.stainrx.com in a 3oz. size for $8 plus shipping, or 16 oz. for $12 plus shipping.
Should you or a guest spill wine on the carpet, Bissell's new SpotBot is designed to handle cleanup duty. It's relatively easy to set up, and all that's required for use is the push of a button. The SpotBot automatically figures out how much cleaning formula to use and how long to work on the stain, and then shuts itself off when it's done. We found that the SpotBot worked best on old, set-in stains (plentiful on the carpets of the Wine Spectator
offices), but pouring wine on the carpet and then putting the SpotBot to work right away had mixed results. The same would go for using the SpotBot in the middle of a party, since the machine is fairly loud and would more likely kill the conversation than become the subject of it. The cleaning agents (which are included) are also quite pungent, so it really is best to wait until the party's over, put the SpotBot on the job, push the start button, and go about other business in another room. The machine is also a bit bulky and heavy, so it's ideal for suburbanites rather than apartment dwellers short on space. Overall, the SpotBot may be best suited for those who have to worry about stains made by pets and kids as well as wine, and at an MSRP of $129.99, it's worth making that extra effort to get the wine in your mouth and not on the rug. Available at retailers nationwide; for more information, go to www.bissell.com.