Open your wine with your shoe

A wonderful Colorado jazz and R&B singer – Sheryl Renee – posted a Facebook video of two guys opening a bottle of wine with a tennis shoe and their teeth. The wine bottle opening method is ingenious, and watching it makes me think of all the paraphernalia that exists for wine lovers these days. Clothing, dishes, garden art, greeting cards – the list of stuff you can get to enhance the wine drinking experience is pretty much endless.

Which is why I’ve been in a Denver wine equipment shop three times in the last three weeks. Each time I needed a quick, unique gift and all the recipients are wine connoisseurs. Plus, I was in a hurry. Equipement de Vin at 1412 Larimer Street in downtown Denver is the shop I can’t stay away from. Walking into it is like walking into an adult, wine-drinker’s Disneyland. Over there spectacular decanters sparkle — other there the most unique wine glasses you’ll ever see draw you in — over there a wall of copper garden art with clever wine sayings beckons.

That’s just the beginning. The thing about this upscale wine equipment shop is that it makes you think of things you’d like to have (as any good shop does). There are wine racks, cabinets, barstools and tables in a wide variety of styles posed about the place, and Equipement de Vin also features an elaborate custom wine cellar that shows what you can have for your own home. Uncorking the basics, Equipement de Vin also offers an extensive glassware collection from Riedel and Ravenscroft and a plethora of whimsical serving pieces to round it all out.

I’m not an advertisement for the place. Really. But I do appreciate a good shop that goes to great lengths to separate itself out, to bring the excess of its focus to you. I like a shop with an aging golden retriever hanging about the place, that’s owned and run by a woman, and that hosts a tasting room that presents select Colorado wines that can be purchased by the glass or bottle seven days a week, including Sundays.

Most of all, I like ingenuity. That’s why I like the video of a couple of guys on a sidewalk using a concrete wall, a little muscle and jaw power to get to their vino. I’m a cynic and have enjoyed years of wonderful wine drinking using little more than a hardware-store bought corkscrew and Walmart glasses.

However, I hospiced a dying sister a few years ago and a friend, not knowing how or what to do to help the family crisis, presented me with a gift-wrapped set of beautifully etched Italian wine glasses. I love those glasses. I saw the likes of them when I visited Italy years ago. They’re small and intricately etched and those glasses somehow laugh at all our “bigness” about which glass to use to drink what.

Ninety percent of the wine I drink today gets first poured into those sweet Italian glasses my friend gave me. By sheer coincidence, I learned this past week that she’d snagged them at Equipement de Vin.

Moral of this story? Even cynics can appreciate nice, appropriate, artistic wine equipment. So do your friends and yourself a wine enjoyment favor and upgrade a thing or two in your wine equipment drawer already.

Additional wine equipment options:
Balistreri Wine in north Denver: www.balistreriwine.com
Wine Racks of America (also offers custom designed cellar configuration): www.wineracksamerica.com
www.wineenthusiast.com

Word(s) o’ the Week

A few Italian words remind us why Italian wine is wonderful, as a rule, and so is the language.

Appassiemento – Drying grapes before pressing them. This concentrates the sugar and extract.

Aperto – Open, a wine with a well-defined character

Armonioso – Harmonious, a perfectly balanced wine

Coming August 13

Making the Wine Transition

Fall Wine Fests

There’s a slew of upcoming wine festivals and vineyards just waiting for you to show up and sample. Many involve foods, crafts and wine-centric activities. Some are low to no-cost. And some vineyards even invite student vintners to intern at their wineries.

August 13 brings a list of well researched and thoroughly discussed wineries happy to host you for an hour or a week or longer.

{pagebreak:Page 1}