A lot of people think more expensive always equates to better quality. While investing in fruit and winemaking can pay dividends, there are a lot of places you can waste money without getting any improvement in the wine.
That’s true for big brands that waste money on sales and marketing, and it’s also true for wine snobs who spend exorbitant amounts of money on wine service bling bling.
So here’s a list of some of the biggest jaw-droppers I’ve seen this year…products that cost a fortune and probably won’t make your wine taste much better.
4 ridiculously overpriced wine gifts that won’t make your wine taste better
$70,000 Sveid corkscrew
Let’s start with something I think everybody will agree on. A $70,000 corkscrew does the same thing a $5 corkscrew does – it takes the cork out of a bottle. And from what I can tell in this video the Sveid doesn’t do it particularly well compared to a basic double-hinged waiter’s friend.
I’m a curious person so I went to the Sveid website to see if their corkscrew had any unique selling points other than looking like a futuristic torture device and this is what the website has to say:
“Acquiring a Sveid corkscrew makes you a member of the distinguished family of Sveid corkscrew owners and entitles you to be registered in the owners list”
That’s one family I don’t want to be a part of.
It’s a corkscrew guys. Spend your money on something that matters. Not a golden corkscrew with your name etched into it.
Okay, if you’re somebody who likes quality and wants to splurge on a “nice” corkscrew, here is my tip: Get a nice Pulltap double-hinged.
The $10 retail price tag is a bit more than the cheapest options, but it feels nice and lasts a while. A lot of waiters and somms get emotional about this brand and there’s good quality to back that up.
Everything above that, I’m pretty reluctant to advocate. I’m fond of the Laguiole brand, but for the price (up in the hundreds) I find the corkscrews are a little un-ergonomic – more fun to look at than to use.
If you think I’m a simpleton, you can head over to read the New York Times wine guy write about the difference between the $410 Code 38 corkscrew and the $220 Laguiole. Personally, every time I use a Pulltap, I like to think maybe I saved $69,990 and deserve to open a second bottle.
$2000 iSommelier wine decanter
Okay, this one’s on the list for a different reason: it flagrantly abuses jargon and scientific-sounding terms to create perceived value.
I especially love the promise to use “a constant flow of purified, medical-grade oxygen” to unlock the full potential of my wine.
Wine changes when it’s exposed to air, but this does not pass the BS test. Good old-fashioned air full of dust and gases other than oxygen does just fine at aerating wine.
For 2 grand, you could buy the kind of drugs you’d need to convince me that I need a $2000 decanter.
What’s more, I’m upset that people think they can attach a lower case letter i to words and call their product smart.
Maybe I’m being too harsh – it comes with an app after all. What does a smart decanter app do?
It checks a database of decanting recommendations and lets you “choose [a] decanting method to fit your palate“.
Ugh. In general, I love decanters and they definitely do affect the way your wine tastes. Here’s one for less than $30. I can’t imagine this decanter makes your wine taste $1,970 better than the $30 one.
$4,000 Diamond wine glass
As long as there are rich suckers, there will be a guy putting diamonds on things and selling them at exorbitant prices. Not much more to say about this. The diamond is G color, .15 karat, VVS 1 purity. They say it’s “By far the most exotic luxury gifts available.”
I respect some expensive glass purveyors. Riedel often puts its glasses to the test in blind tastings and I’m convinced good glassware makes a difference. Schott Zwiesel does some excellent glasses that are great for wine enjoyment and a bit more durable than fragile glasses.
In general, you can get a very nice wine glass for $10-$20. And it will make every wine you ever drink out of it taste much better, so it’s a worthwhile investment.
If at any point, you think I should put a diamond on this, stop whatever you’re doing and mail me a large check payable to Ryan O’Connell.
$17,500 flight to Sydney includes sip of $850 wine
Okay, so it’s not new that First Class airplane tickets are ridiculously expensive. This flight from LA to Sydney comes in over $17k and American Airlines is marketing that you get to enjoy legendary Penfolds Grange 2010 on the flight. Incidentally, Daryl Groom made that wine between 1984-1989, and you can have a sip of his wine for $18.99 if you fly over to the website and become an Angel.