A big part of enjoying a great wine is having the right wine accessories to go with it. South Africa has a number of standard tools to help you drink wine correctly, and enjoy it to the utmost. From basic essentials such as a wine glass and a bottle opener, to decanters, wine stoppers and even wine shelves or racks, having the right equipment can make your drinking experience even more enjoyable, and when you are shopping in South Africa, you might be surprised by how sophisticated wine accessories can be.
The most basic accessory there is for drinking wine is the glass. Depending upon the type of wine you are drinking, glasses can range from a deep, wide bowl which enhances the flavour of red wines, to the narrower, longer bowl of the white wine glass. Getting the right glass is essential, as without it you could find that your wine does not taste as good as it should.
Before you can use the glass, you will need to open the bottle of wine. The most common types of wine opener are corkscrews, which fit into the top of the cork, and drag it out. There are now also a lot of more sophisticated wine openers, including ones that use a jet of gas to force the cork out of the bottle through pressure. These can be expensive, but they are somewhat easier on the arms and wrists, and can be favoured for that reason.
In the case of red wine, it can also be a good idea to use a decanter. These are traditionally used with fortified wines such as port and brandy, and are designed to aerate the wine and remove sediment from the bottom of the bottle. Decanters are now prized for their ability to accentuate the flavours and aromas of the wine, due to allowing oxidization prior to pouring. Decanters also help to reveal the colours of the wines, which in South Africa can be quite distinctive, depending upon the region.
If you choose to serve wine from the bottle directly into the glass, then you may want to purchase a wine bottle collar. These are napkins, usually held in a silver or metal ring, which fits around the neck of the bottle, and prevents dripping after pouring. This prevents the wine, particularly red wines, from staining counter and table tops. The collar also helps as a grip, in order to allow the person pouring to keep a tight hold upon the bottle while it is being poured.
Other accessories which are useful in storing and preserving the wine before (and after) opening are wine racks and wine chillers. The former have been used for centuries in order to hold wine bottles securely, usually in a horizontal position. Wine fridges are a more advanced way to preserve wines, often taking the place of cellars in keeping wine cool and away from sunlight. It is possible to buy large chillers which can store a large number of bottles, and also very small chillers which can fit on a counter top in a kitchen.