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THE DERUSHA TEST: Vinturi Wine Aerator & Carafe

Because I’m on a list of writers who cover food and wine, I occasionally get pitches to test out different kitchen gadgets. In the past, I’ve ignored them, because there wasn’t really room to write about them in my MSP Magazine column, or in my WCCO-TV food stories.

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But now that I’m blogging, I figured people might want to see what I think about various products and gadgets, so I’m starting a periodic item here called: “THE DERUSHA TEST.” Email me if you have something I should test out.

We start with Vinturi’s newest gadget – a wine aerator with a carafe.   All of us who love wine know that certain types of wine benefit from breathing. When the air interacts with some wines, the tannins soften, the wine becomes less harsh, the bouquet of aroma is released.

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There are easy ways to do this: swirl your wine in your glass, pour your wine into a glass pitcher; and there are difficult/messy ways to do this (decanting can be a pain to clean up).

There are also fun gadgets that do it. I’ve owned a vinturi aerator for a couple years, and I get a kick out of it. It’s not that expensive, it makes a crazy loud noise as the oxygen flows into the wine. It’s theater. The new set which includes a carafe is nice, because the carafe makes it easy to pour and quickly decant an entire bottle. Easy for a group.

But does it work?

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My wife and I tested blindly a 2011 Halter Ranch Synthesis red wine blend (78% cab, 22% syrah). We poured some straight from the bottle, some through the Vinturi Aerator. And then we mixed them up and tasted them. And we both preferred the glass that went through the aeration process.

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Was it a night and day difference? No. But we could tell the difference.

I asked my friend Chuck Kanski, owner of Solo Vino Wines in St. Paul what he thought. “My opinion is its a lot of money for something that is no better then decanting the bottle,” he said, adding, “I sometimes believe that gadgets like these helps propel the snobbery in wine.”

If you just want to improve your bottle of wine – the easy thing according to Chuck: “I always say to decant into a glass picture, decanter, anything really and then decant back to the bottle. “

Chuck may be onto something there. I don’t want people to think that to enjoy wine they need a gadget. They just need a bottle. And a glass. But if you enjoy wine, and enjoy trying new gadgets, I do enjoy the Vinturi Wine Aerator. My guests always find it entertaining, not intimidating.

The aerator alone is $40 at; the set is $60 at Williams Sonoma   .