A number of high-end wine and bar accessories has hit the scene just in time for the holidays. If you’re agonizing over what to get the imbiber who has everything (yourself included), consider one of these small-production gems:
The Sassy Susan
Classic cocktails are all the rage, and simplicity is back. The global popularity of the gin and tonic has never been higher. Fans of the drink won’t be able to live without the Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Gin Wheel, a concept developed by the design firm AvroKo. This is the ultimate lazy Susan for the discriminating host or hostess. A base made of brushed stainless steel supports a revolving circular container of handcrafted, exotic walnut housing glassware, high-end bar tools, coasters, cutting boards and aluminum tongs, plus space for a variety of creative garnishes to customize drinks, from Thai lemongrass to Vietnamese black peppercorns. The mini G&T bar is complete with a liter bottle of Bombay Sapphire that fits perfectly in the middle. It’s available for $500 from thefutureperfect.com.
Since its founding in 1977, Napa’s Newton Vineyard has been a pioneer in sustainability and ecological awareness, so it’s not surprising to see those principles extend into everything it does. Since 2009, winemaker Chris Millard has partnered on an annual series of “Eco-Chic” art objects. The 2012 creation was the Puzzle Tray, designed by the Chicago-based team of Bruce and Stephanie Tharp, named for the winery’s famous red Meritage blend. Only 112 of the handmade walnut trays, which simulate the layout of Newton’s vineyard map, were produced. The blocks of the tray become serving areas for cheeses, hors d’oeuvres or glasses of wine, and a corkscrew is contained in a “hidden cave.” It sells for $499 from newtonvineyard.com.
Chilled to Perfection
We may have sent men to the moon, but it’s still tough to figure out how to keep a bottle of white wine cold outside the fridge. Fortunately, the Kim Crawford Cooling Sleeve ($149) has come to the rescue. It was created by Martin Kastner, famed designer of “wine couture,” whose inventions have graced tables at Chicago’s Alinea and Le Bernardin in New York. The sleeve consists of custom-made circular gel packs wrapped around a series of moving metal links. When placed on the bottle (of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, of course), it automatically adjusts to the diameter. “I wanted a tool that brings excitement to the table,” Kastner says. The functional yet elegant design is bound to achieve another of his goals—to “spark conversation among friends who come together to enjoy a glass of wine.” The sleeve is available in a limited-edition of 400 from kimcrawfordwines.com.
Sealed with Purpose
It’s a dilemma as old as wine itself: How to enjoy a glass at home without committing to an entire bottle? If you love red while your partner enjoys white, it’s not easy to find a solution. Thanks to Greg Lambrecht, an inventor of medical devices, the answer may be at hand. Lambrecht spent 13 years perfecting the Coravin wine-access technology, which permits oenophiles to tap into bottles for a taste while keeping the remainder in perfect condition. Here is how it works: Simply put the device on the bottle, and it pushes a needle through the cork. As wine comes out, argon gas is inserted to keep the wine fresh. Even wine critic Robert Parker approves. “Coravin is the most dramatic and transformational device ever developed to enhance our enjoyment and preservation of wine,” he says. The early results have been remarkable. The Coravin 1000 System, which includes the 1000 device, two pressurized capsules containing argon and a storage base, is $299 and can be purchased at coravin.com.