Wine Gadget That Does It All—or Gimmick?

Courtesy of Vinturi.

If you’re looking for a gift to give wine-loving friends this holiday season, consider the Vinturi Wine Aerator. This nifty little gizmo tries to do away with cellar aging, decanting, “breathing”—all curses of wine lovers who have trouble planning ahead.

Here’s how it works: Just hold the Vinturi over your glass and pour wine through it. The wine fizzes and gurgles with a sound not unlike when you draw air through your teeth while swishing wine around your mouth. The name of the device is a pun on the Venturi effect, which explains the flow of liquid through a constricted opening.

The idea behind aerating wine is to allow oxygen to soften the wine’s harshness, or tannin, and allow the fruit to emerge. The most common way of accomplishing this is to decant a wine and allow it to “breathe” for a half hour or more. The Vinturi accomplishes this in seconds.

Or does it? Well, I think so. I poured some wine into a glass, then poured a second glass through the Vinturi. The second glass tasted less tannic, more fruity than the first. It reminded me of the last glass of a nice bottle, when the wine has begun to emerge and I wish I hadn’t drunk it so fast. Of course, I knew which glass was which. When I offered the same glasses to two people who hadn’t seen me pour them, they couldn’t tell the difference.

After trying the Vinturi several times, I believe it works. There’s a gimmicky quality to it that makes some people skeptical, however. And the noise could be mistaken for a certain bodily function, as my seven-year-old daughter noted. If that bothers you, just pour the entire bottle through the Vinturi into a decanter.

One thing to keep in mind, though: It won’t make a bad wine good.

Vinturi Wine Aerator, $40 at