It's that time of year again … time to find gifts for the wine geek in your life (or for yourself!). Let's start out with some interesting wine gifts for wine service. In our first installment, I offer you two different devices to monitor the temperature of wine bottles. (By the way, you can click on the link or picture to buy the item directly from Amazon … and help pay the server bills for this website in the process — so you'll be giving two gifts at once!)
Wine Clip Thermomenter
$15 or less
More than half of the wine bottles you pick up have a “recommended serving temperature” stated on the back label. But does anyone notice? Does anyone care? Even if you did, how would you go about finding out the exact temperature of the wine in your bottle? I suppose you could try sticking a meat thermometer into the bottle, but that would require uncorking, and few of those read below 100 degrees anyway. The cheapo trick is to stick an aquarium thermometer on the side, but that isn't so “cool”.
Enter the Wine Clip Thermometer, which does look cool (or “qool”, as my friend Tish would say), and works quite well. You simply clasp the thing around the middle of the bottle and it gives you a digital readout of the temperature.
Wine Maestro — Bonjour products ($20 and under)
If the bangle isn't high-tech enough for your wine geek gadget guy/girl, then maybe the Wine Maestro is. I haven't tested it out myself, but it sure looks formidable.
And if you want to get really insane, go infra-red. (over $40)
VinTemp Infrared Wine Thermometer
This handy little pen-like device comes with its own carrying case and has real James Bond appeal. Plus, it's better than the other devices, because the infrared light is able to detect the temperature of the wine INSIDE the bottle, WITHOUT removing the cork. And for some people, that's really important. I have visions of geeks walking around wine tastings pointing their infrared pens and informing vendors that their bottles are too cold / too warm. Lovely. (BTW, I have this myself and love it.)
Oh, and to go one further, you can get the VinTemp thermometer built into a corkscrew. Now THAT is efficiency — one device to both check the temperature and open the bottle when it reaches the optimum chill. It's not cheap — about $60 — but remember, holiday gift-giving is about a.) buying things that the recipient likely wouldn't buy for herself / himself; b) giving something unique; and c) giving something close to the recipient's heart. And if your giftee is passionate about wine, then this item is a no-brainer.
Keep checking back over the next few weeks, as I'll be posting more interesting and unusual gifts that will be especially appreciated by the wine geek in your life.