Wasteful? Or really rather cute?
Contempt fascinates me, as does distaste.
But when the two are put together, I can’t resist wondering about the source and speculating about the ramifications.
Especially when the negative feelings are being directed toward a seemingly innocent gadget.
Please imagine that many experts regard this particular gadget with such disdain that they say, according to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Hard no!”, “Never,” or even “wasteful.”
A gadget that’s wasteful? Perish the very concept. Gadgets always and only exist to make the world a better place and ultimately save it, surely.
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But wait, what gadget could possibly be rousing such uncontrolled negativity? Why, it’s the electric corkscrew.
Should you never have seen one of these things, it comes with a charging stand and a nice little cutter for the foil on top of the wine bottle. You can even choose a color to match your kitchen backsplash, your drinks cabinet, or your Formica tablecloth.
Or, if you’re a winemaker, you can turn your finely tuned nose up and choose to cast spittle upon the very idea.
It seems, you see, that many winemakers scoff at the very idea that you should pull your cork out with technological help. For them, it’s the manual method or no method at all.
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Surely you’ve experienced the manual method. You pick up the sort of little wine key you see restaurant servers manipulate with apparent ease. You try and twist it into the cork and, perhaps, experience a little manual discomfort as you do so.
Then you have to offer a touch of physical exertion. And then the cork falls to pieces.
Please, I mock slightly because my own chosen method was, for the longest time, the slightly easier winged corkscrew. The wings rise as you screw, then you press down on them and the cork rises.
But the winemakers’ snorting made me order the electric, wingless version. I chose the Secura electric wine opener.
Or, as its full Amazon listing has it: “Secura Electric Wine Opener, Automatic Electric Wine Bottle Corkscrew Opener with Foil Cutter, Rechargeable.”
I chose a vibrant blue color because it matched my mood at the time.
I chose the Secura because it was on sale for $24.99 (as of this writing it still is) and that didn’t seem like all that much, given so many of the manual corkscrews I’ve experienced disintegrate with unseemly haste. And here was Secura promising: “Open up to 30 bottles on a single charge.”
Not that I ever open 30 bottles in a single evening, but I occasionally have a tendency to not charge gadgets until they’re almost running out of juice.
All I can tell you about electric corkscrews — at least this one — is that they’re blessedly easy to use. You fit the top of the bottle under the corkscrew, you press the button, the cork goes in, the cork comes out and you press the button in reverse to remove the cork from the Secura.
It even makes quite a pleasant buzzing noise.
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It seems, though, that traditionalists think all this something of an obscenity. It’s just not done. It’s not natural. Yet here am I wondering how many of them use an electric toothbrush.
An entire disclosure: I do spend some time in California’s wine country. I’m a so-called Wine Ambassador for Napa’s Honig Winery. So yes, I’m aware that many winemakers just can’t get their emotions to work in concert with electric corkscrews. They actually say electric corkscrews are for the “lazy.” Or, as one winemaker put it to me: “Ugh.”
There are, though, some winemakers who look upon such attitudes with mirth.
One of Sonoma’s most innovative, entertaining, and just plain decent winemakers, Ben Larks of Idle Cellars, told me of his snobby fellow practitioners: “Who cares what they think? Use a boot, use a hammer and nail, it’s your choice how you open it. The sound of the cork popping out is what the traditionalists like.”
May your New Year bring inventiveness, an ability to live life as you choose, and an extra pop. And thank you for reading Technically Incorrect.