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What do wine fans get for almost every Christmas? A bottle of wine. Well, yes. But there are gifts that accompany you through life with wine. Matthias Stelzig presents us with his ten personal Christmas favourites from ten to 450 euros to give away and unwrap yourself.

These gift ideas were not chosen by a Google robot. The author who collected them has been writing about wine for many years and also describes himself privately as a "real wine freak". He owns many of the products presented himself or has been able to try them out. The text does not contain any affiliate links, and neither he nor the editors have received anything in return for any of his tips.

Tool for opening wine crates

© Frank Würtz

A handmade tool to open a wine box - does the world need it? "Absolutely," says inventor Frank Würtz. It all started with a crate of Mouton-Rothschild. He wanted to keep the beautiful packaging as a souvenir. "Then I thoroughly demolished the thing with a hammer and screwdriver," he recalls. The annoyance became the initial spark for the crate friend (98 euros). To open the wooden crates of the finest wines from Bordeaux and Bourgogne, there were no tools yet.

Würtz, importer of crus from Bordeaux and Bourgogne, set to work and began to tinker. But it was not easy. Above all, the angled tip, with which one drives under the lid without destroying it, proved to be a small masterpiece. Not too pointed, not too sharp - but not too blunt either.

The stainless steel is now punched, milled, ground, drilled, polished, sharpened, engraved by craftsmen near Solingen, plus a centrepiece made of olive wood. The tricky tip is polished by hand by a metal professional. You feel this immediately when you put the box friend to work. The surface flatters the hands, the tip slides under the lid and lifts it off. This makes fiddling with the crates a pleasure even before the first cork has been pulled.


Lever corkscrew in noble design

© Atelier du Vin

There are things that simply work brilliantly. The lever corkscrew, for example. Like no other opener, it removes the stopper from the bottle neck with a flick of the wrist. No pulling, no screwing, no broken corks. The corkscrews from Atelier du Vin refine the ingenious principle with an almost breathtaking design. When the Nomad (around 333 euros) slides out of its butter-soft leather case, it feels like a heavy piece of jewellery - and looks like one, too.

The counterpoint to the butter-soft black leather is the matt honey-gold surface. When in use, the jaws of the shaft fit tightly around the neck of the bottle. The handle of the lever lies in the hand like the gearstick lever of a classic sports car. When you turn it, the mechanism works as precisely as a Swiss watch. The cork slides out of the bottle as if in slow motion.

Beneath the timelessly elegant surface is a patented mechanism made of precisely crafted gears, plates and rivets. The design looks as if the philosophy of the Bauhaus had been fused with an Italian sports car from the 1960s. "The Bauhaus developed the synthesis of form and function. If you never sacrifice beauty for functionality, the result is timeless design," explains designer Margherita Matticari. From her Paris studio come minimalist leather handbags, for example, which are later worn on Paris catwalks. This "haute couture spirit" is also in the Nomads leather cases. They are unique pieces made of Italian leather - flattering on the outside, protected against wine stains on the inside. So when the work is done, you let it slide into the case, put it back in the cupboard and smile. The many variants of the Nomad series are available from around 100 euros.


Opener for sparkling wine bottles

© Vacu Vin

Sparkling wine and champagne stand for pleasure and celebratory style. Nevertheless, the bottle's features can thoroughly spoil the fun. You can't find the little tab on the tinfoil cap. The agraffe, the little wire basket, offers fierce resistance. The eyelet breaks off, you tear your fingers open, but the bottle is still closed.

In addition, the cork in sparkling wine bottles fits very tightly to withstand the pressure of the carbon dioxide. Accordingly, it is often difficult to move. But the cork should come out of the neck of the bottle in a controlled way and with a sigh, not with a bang. But that happens quickly when you have to struggle with a jammed stopper. At some point, the thing flies to the ceiling while the good fizz bubbles over. This makes for laughs, but not for enjoyment.

The champagne bottle tongs from Vacu Vin (around 17 euros) are supposed to relieve you of this hassle. You slide the little horn on the tongs under the wire, use the leverage to separate it and pull the foil off at the same time. The jaws are already wrapped around the cork, which is now gently but firmly removed from the bottle. The expression "in the twinkling of an eye" has rarely been so accurate.


Suitcase for transporting wine

© VinGardeValise

Wine and travel are a wonderful combination. But where to put the wine? Wrap the fine drop in a couple of T-shirts and place it in the middle of your luggage? You can do that. But it's quite possible that a suitcase dripping with red wine will be the last thing you see of the expensive bottle on the luggage conveyor belt at your destination airport.

The VinGardeValise (up to approx. 380.00 euros) is the solution with precisely punched plastic moulds for up to - yes! - twelve bottles. The case comes robust with corner protectors, ribbed design, case straps and a ten-year guarantee. The inserts can also be partially removed for flexible use of the space. Fully loaded with wine, the VinGardeValise stays below the magic 23 kilos for free luggage allowance. It can be easily manoeuvred through the terminal on smooth-running wheels and a telescopic pole.


Backpack for transporting and serving

© VinGardeValise

The VinXplorer (around 206 euros) is even more all-terrain. The backpack from the same manufacturer is designed for everyday use. Two bottles can be transported safely in it, protected in the punched-out plastic. Compartments for mobile phone, notebook and more make it a robust companion.

But the best thing is its interior with the "pouch": a special plastic-aluminium bag with a cooling unit fits, filled with up to 1.5 litres of wine, into the front pocket of the backpack, where it is connected to the built-in valve. Once you arrive at your destination, you pour the good drop from the tap directly into the backpack and immediately have the wine freaks on your side.

With its effective insulation, the white wine also lasts longer than any party guest.


Sparkling wine pressure cap for opened bottles

© Coravin

Coravin has made sure that still wine can be enjoyed by the glass. Argon injection through the cork has freed the wine world from the bottle constraint. In the meantime, inventor Gregg Lambrecht has expanded the system with the Coravin Sparkling for sparkling wine (set with two closures and six cartridges at 450 euros). Because you often don't finish it on the first evening - and when the perlage wears off, the enjoyment is over. The Coravin solves both problems. As with still wine, the air is sealed off by a gas that settles on the surface. Here, however, it is not argon but carbonic acid - the stuff that bubbles is made of.

You open the bottle and help yourself. Finally, the Coravin pressure cap is placed on the bottle. This introduces gas up to a pressure of 3.8 bar. That is as much as in a closed champagne bottle. This keeps the fine bubbles in the sparkling wine. Carbonic acid, however, does not keep the oxygen away from the wine as well as the argon used in Coravin: after all, the O in CO2 stands for oxygen. But a good week's time for half a bottle is easily enough. So it's time for a glass again anyway. To be on the safe side, the Coravin also has a Advertisement, which tells you whether the sparkling wine is still sufficiently pressurised.


Corkscrew for long matured wines

© The Durand - Wining Taylors

The cork in a bottle that is many years old has its pitfalls. Stored dry, it can often be pushed directly into the bottle by the corkscrew. In a damp cellar, however, it sticks to the neck of the bottle. The corkscrew only brings out the crumbly middle of the cork, while fine flour trickles into the wine. The classic corkscrew is no longer of any help. Tinkerers help themselves with a so-called "midwife", in which two steel pins slide between the cork and the glass. However, this does not guarantee an accident-free cork extraction.

The Durand (around 155 euros) offers both: while the spring tongues hold the cork together, the spindle screws into the material from above. This way, the stopper cannot fall into the bottle and is held together at the same time.

The Durand was developed by a wine collector in the USA who was fed up with the crumbling corks of his old treasures. Today, the Durand is the benchmark. It is not cheap. But when you use it, it pays for itself.


Decanting, pouring, keeping fresh

© Eto

Air contact is one of the most decisive factors in wine. Decanting can improve older wines in particular enormously. But everything that comes after that is just annoying. When exposed to air, the fine aromas of the wine, especially if it is dry and white, dissolve into thin air. Shortly afterwards it tastes stale. What a pity!

Unless you use the Eto Wine Preserver (around 169 euros). The carafe takes care of decanting and pouring and is a real pleasure to the touch. On top of the rest of the wine, the lid with patented valve lowers onto the liquid level.

Now sealed airtight, the rest stays dewy fresh in the fridge for days. How does it work? The manufacturer won't tell you - after all, he patented it. The Eto is available with an engraved monogram and in seven colours, but not in blue.


Sparkling wine stopper with pressure display

© Atelier du Vin

The manufacturer Atelier du Vin is based in Champagne. There, they have been thinking about fine wine accessories for almost a hundred. Besides the corkscrew sets, which are often good for a design award, they also create simple and ingenious products. Like the "Bubble Indicator" (around 48 euros).

Open champagne bottles keep for a while in the fridge. But only if you close them so well that no carbon dioxide escapes. The Bubble Indicator permanently measures the internal pressure of the bottle.

At first it rises because the sparkling wine releases carbonic acid. But when it falls below a certain level, it becomes stale. The Bubble Indicator reminds you that it is time for a good glass of sparkling wine or champagne.


Useful carafe cleaner

© Ad Hoc

Decanters can be small works of art, some even large ones. Since their function gives the designer a lot of freedom, glassworks are outdoing each other in ever more unusual shapes. The only big frustration comes when it comes to cleaning: forgetting to rinse at the end of the evening, and the crystal glass already has ugly, reddish-brown deposits on it. It is almost impossible to get rid of them in the endless coils. The small carafe cleaner from Ad Hoc (around 10 euros) works wonders.

A magnet with nylon fabric is pressed against the wall of the vessel from the inside and a second magnet is held from the outside and pulled along the inside wall, where it takes all the deposits with it. This makes it safe and convenient to clean even the furthest corner meticulously. If you had an aquarium as a child, you know what I mean. By the way, it also cleans vases. Under the search term "carafe cleaner" you will find several suppliers with different designs on the web.


Calendars especially for wine fans

© Markus J. Eser

Want to learn something new about wine every day? You can follow the wine question of the day at wein.plus. The enjoyable Wine Calendar 2023 (15.95 euros) by wine academic Markus J. Eser also looks good on the wall. He imparts knowledge about wine and spirits from absinthe to Zibarten brandy on a daily basis.

In addition, wine fans learn interesting facts about sherry, port, Madeira as well as champagne, cava, prosecco and sparkling wine.

The shopping list for the "grape variety recipe of the week" is also really useful. Every Friday, Eser presents a grape variety and complements it with a recipe matched to these wines.

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