These unusual gifts will make wine fans smile: Matthias Stelzig presents his personal Christmas favourites ranging from 15 to 650 euros. To give as a gift - and to unwrap yourself.
Corkscrews are a never-ending topic for wine fans: anyone who has ever crumbled the cork of an old treasure with a cheap device will perhaps never forgive themselves. The Cyklop is the final answer to all questions. It starts with cutting the capsule, which is otherwise an annoying fiddly job. With the Cyklop, you place the bottle against the side of two sharp cutting wheels and the capsule is cut.
With its screw clamp, the Cyklop rests on the table top or, in a different version, on the wall. The power of its astonishing mechanism lies in the weight of four kilos of cast iron. "Pressure and traction on the carriage guide come from both sides at the same time," enthuses Björn Holland-Cunz, owner of the mechanical workshop, "with all the others it's one-sided, so you need more force." The spindle with its sharp thread cuts into the cork as smooth as butter and removes it from the bottle with barely any effort.
The Cyklop was developed in Solingen around 100 years ago. This is revealed by the relief letters "DRGM" ("Deutsches Reich Gebrauchsmuster") on the housing, which is nickel-plated in a warm silver colour. Watching the 23 parts of the open mechanism at work gives you the feeling of using an industrial monument. If something needs to be greased or replaced, you can do everything yourself. Each individual part is available separately.
Cyklop der Mechanischen Werkstätte, online and in specialist shops, 299 euros
The soils on which the vines grow play a major role in good wines. Tasting the mineral notes is one of the best things to do when drinking wine. So why not serve the wine in its own terroir? The wine and sparkling wine coolers from Stein:Werk are available in green slate, grey limestone-mica slate or Kanfanar limestone from Croatia. Owner Heinz Dissauer drills the tube for the bottle from a solid boulder. There is so much material that he expands a small core hole with ever larger cross-sections and then prises it open with a chisel.
Dissauer seals the inside of the cooler with natural resin, while the outside is smoothed by hand with diamond brushes in six stages. "This creates the desired texture and leather look," enthuses the master of stone. In fact, the tube feels warm and pleasant in the hand, and not at all like the surface of a granite worktop. Weighing three kilos, the stone sculpture stands firmly on the table. You can always leave it there. Either for the next wine or simply as an eye-catcher.
Wine cooler from Stein:Werk, from 99 euros
Waiter's knives are practical because they are quickly to hand and come with everything you need - except an opener for tight-fitting Stelvin screw caps. But the Sauerland-based company Westmark has now also integrated this into its Agilo. All the other details have also been thought of: the lever has two notches so that the cork can be pulled vertically. This is because pulling the stopper at an oblique angle often breaks it off. The lever also lifts crown corks. The spindle is Teflon-coated, so it slides in and out more easily. Even the blade has fine serrations to prevent slipping when cutting capsules.
The traditional metalworking company manufactures the corkscrew from stainless steel and has given the handle a fine wooden inlay. Add to this a five-year guarantee and a very down-to-earth price: the Agilo is the ultimate tool for all drinking occasions.
Agilo Monopol, online and in specialist shops from 15 euros
A wine cooler like a Moai. It dominates every table and probably many a room, if only because it looks as sturdy as a statue from Easter Island. Prometheus is a sculpture in the shape of a wine cooler. The reduced forms with their clear edges outline the finely satinised surface in contrast to the shiny, soft gold inside.
The surface feels softer than you would expect from its matt appearance. Designer Michael Sieger calls this "positive energy" - or "the personality of the object" as "interaction with the room". Big words, but still: the Prometheus shines!
Prometheus from Fürstenberg porcelain; available in many colours from 650 euros
Champagne in porcelain? Sounds strange. But in the gold-plated "Grand Cru" cup, sparkling wine cuts a dazzling figure, and red wine also unfolds its effect in it. The flavour is no different from the taste from a glass. The wall thicknesses are much thinner than those of other porcelain. They are wafer-thin to the touch and create the feeling of drinking from gold. The precious metal is neutral, feels warm and very smooth on the lips.
Each piece is unique, having passed through up to 100 hands in the manufactory after six weeks of production. It is worth bearing in mind how much less sensitive porcelain is compared to mouth-blown glass. The mug also retains the temperature quite well.
Sure, the temperature of a wine can be roughly estimated by holding the bottle in your hand. But this is not precise: if the wine has been on ice for too short a time, only the bottle is cold, but the wine is still warm. A thermometer therefore makes sense. The French design company L'Atelier du Vin has turned a simple thermometer with a probe into a small work of art. In profile, it looks like a television tower. The long stem runs out into the housing in a finely curved line. Under the convex lens glass inside, a silver pointer against a black background reacts to the temperature at the tip. It looks like the speedometer display on the dashboard of a sports car.
The engineering skill is also in the detail: the short side of the pointer on the speedometer also indicates the correct temperature for different types of wine - from champagne to old red wine.
Thermomètre from L'Atelier du Vin, 54.17 euros
Do you have a classy decanter? And is it at the back of the cupboard and hardly ever taken out? You are not an isolated case. Aerators are often beautiful, but impractical. It's awkward to handle the bulky piece at the table and too much work to wash and polish later on. What's more, in most cases the large surface area in the bulbous vessel is not even necessary. It is usually sufficient to decant the wine into another bottle. One solution is the "Marlène" carafe from Zwiesel. Irmgard Braun-Ditzel originally developed the bottle for women together with German bar veteran Charles Schumann. "Smaller, lighter and more playful than normal bar accessories," explains the head designer.
As the name suggests, the mouth-blown vessel with its fine waves is reminiscent of the 1920s and Marlene Dietrich's wind dresses. Marlène can be easily used with one hand at a formal table or for a relaxed lunch. The flowing shapes feel elegant. The rest of the wine can even be stored covered in the fridge door. Dietrich would certainly have liked this mixture of glamour and solidity.
Marlène decanter from Zwiesel, 189 euros
A "spittoon" is available at almost every wine tasting, but the name doesn't really go with good wine. That's why the glass manufacturer Zalto has given it the name "Restweinkaraffe" and given it an elegant design. With a capacity of half a litre, the "Spittoon" can be taken from table to table. The glass is tinted - so you can only see how much is in it, but not what.
The Austrian glassworks has developed its own design language with its glasses. That sounds ambitious for a vessel that you spit wine into. But the mouth-blown Spittoon made of lead-free smoked glass is not just an eye-catcher. The frosted glass is only 13 centimetres high and sits comfortably in the hand. The proportions are just right. And because the small tub cuts a fine figure even without wine, it can even be used as an elegant flower vase. Also available in green, grey and in a large format for several participants.
Spitton wine carafe from Zalto
Spittoon 50: 13cm high, 610 ml, 50.90 euros
Spittoon 250, 21cm high, 2,600 ml, 81.90 euros