Used to be, all you had to know were the names of a few select vintages. Now everyone's an oenophile (wine snob to the rest of us) and knows the difference between a Syrah and shiraz. (Tricked ya! There is none.) And the tools employed to present wine - available for a range of prices - are as important as which side of the hill the grapes are ripened on. Chin-chin!
A functional design object that not only performs a task but visually pleases as well, Rosendahl's Grand Cru set includes a heavy steel and rubber-tipped wine stopper for any bottle, an aerating pourer, a foil cutter and a retractable corkscrew. $220 at Fluid Living , 55 Mill, building #8, 416-850-4266; also 622 Queen West, 416-681-0379.
Made from stainless steel, aluminum and rubber in Denmark, Tommy Larsen's Double Up does double duty as both bottle opener and wine-stopper. $90 at Studio Brillantine , 10821/2 Queen West, 416-536-6521.
The next time your party runs out of cheap Chianti, use this Jesus action figure ($13) to turn tap water into wine. On wheels, with poseable arms, too. $13 at Urban Outfitters , 235 Yonge, 416-214-1466.
Solve the problem of half-full/half-empty. Use this Sommelier Wine Pump to remove unwanted air from bottles. Comes with two reusable seals. $6 at Kitchen Stuff Plus , 703 Yonge, 416-944-2718, and others.
Though it looks like something out of an operating room or part of a geometry set, Jasper Morrison's Socrates corkscrew for Alessi demonstrates the principle of multiplied leverage. Opens bottles, too. $211 at Studio Brillantine.
Which one's my drink? Never lose it again if you use these chain letter charms from Sommelier. Includes six chains, 72 letters and an attractive plastic carrying case. "Identify a glass, express a feeling!" $7 at Kitchen Stuff Plus.
Philippe Starck's Smoki Christiani corkscrew was commissioned by Italian design group Alessi. Besides being able to open a fine bottle of claret, the cast aluminum screw also functions as sculpture. $327 at Studio Brillantine.
Architect and Target overlord Michael Graves designed this postmodern stainless steel and cast poly resin corkscrew for Alessi in 1995. Just the thing for popping late-80s postmodern plonk. $171 at Studio Brillantine.
A patented wall-mounted design, Rosendahl's Winetube is made from 2-inch-diameter anodized aluminum tubing. The machined rack can stylishly hold up to 12 bottles and allows their labels to be easily read. $130 at Fluid Living. Goodbye, decanter. Awarded the Norwegian Sjølystprisen design prize in 1999, Menu's Vignon Decanting Pourer filters, splits and oxygenates the grape as it's poured from bottle to glass. Drip-free, too. $55 at Studio Brillantine.
Copco's retro-futuristic Wine Topper features a substantial chrome-plated stopper outfitted with a wide rubber grip ring to prevent any aeration of vino. $7 at Kitchen Stuff Plus. This cast acrylic non-drip ring from Zyliss prevents wine from ruining tablecloths. Instead of laundering the linen, wash the ring's removable red felt liner. $11 at Studio Brillantine.