Geoff Kruth, a rising star in the wine world who appeared in the 2012 documentary “Somm,” about the pursuit of the prestigious master sommelier title, is “totally anti-wine gadget.” Kruth, now president of the nonprofit wine professionals organization GuildSomm, explains, “After more than 20 years of drinking wine nightly, I still think the best preservation method is a cork and refrigerator.” That said, a quick perusal of any big-box home goods store or winery gift shop will turn up wine aerators, pourers, purifiers, automatic and electric openers, foil cutters and more, proving the demand for wine gear is high. Wine experts from Kruth in California to another master sommelier in New York helped us tackle the wine stoppers and preservers category, because sometimes, even with a good wine, you just need to put a cork in the party and call it a night.
When she founded the New York wine studio Corkbuzz in 2011, Laura Maniec was one of only 18 female master sommeliers in the world. Now Corkbuzz has three locations, including one in Charlotte, where visitors can eat, take wine classes and attend wine dinners. At all three, she uses the Vacu Vin Wine Saver/Stopper ($9.95-19.95, crateandbarrel.com, shown above). Two other experts we interviewed also praised the Vacu Vin: Madeline Puckette, founder of culture website Wine Folly, and André Hueston Mack, named a best young sommelier in the United States and founder of Maison Noir Wines.
At the San Francisco Wine School, the largest wine school in the United States, a lot of bottles get tapped for brief tastings. For preservation of those vintages, the founder and chief executive of the school, David Glancy, likes VineyardFresh’s pure argon spray ($29.95, vineyardfresh.com). “You spray the gas into the bottle and reseal it with the original cork or any cork,” he says. “Using .?.?. [it] in conjunction with keeping the bottles in the refrigerator extends the life of all wines.”