My choice for wine’s most useless accessory

WHEN IT COMES to useless wine gadgets, I’ve probably seen them all. Mechanical decanters. Automated corkscrews. Bike-mounted holsters for single bottles.

The list is long and full of completely absurd (not to mention redundant) tools. In other words, it’s a bit like the Canadian Senate (or if you’re British and want to go there, the House of Lords).

Now, we could all rattle off dozens of awful wine gadgets and gifts that leave all of us asking, ‘why?’, but I think the worst wine gadget is simpler than that.

Yes, you’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this by now.

Look no further than the Campagnolo corkscrew (pictured).

Campagnolo, as many people will know, makes drivetrain components for bicycles, as well as tools and clothing. As it goes, I love Campagnolo. All of the racing bikes I’ve ever owned have been outfitted with the Italian company’s components.

But if ever there were an argument for a company to stick to what they know best, it can be summed up by the Campagnolo corkscrew. Yes, I get the fact Italy is as synonymous with wine as it is cycling, but seriously?

This is what the company has to say about the device:

“The Campagnolo corkscrew faithfully reflects the genius of its inventor, Tullio Campagnolo.”

It goes on:

“The BIG corkscrew, with its maximum precision in removing corks without raising sediments and without shaking the bottle, reflects all the genius of its inventor Tullio Campagnolo, who gave it a self-centring telescopic bell and a wide sharp screw in hardened steel to consistently ensure a perfect grip on the cork.

“Thanks to the design of its large and unmistakable levers, the Campagnolo BIG has become a symbol for those who want to have at home not only a renowned and reliable corkscrew, but also a piece of the history of Italian cycling.”

A piece of the history of Italian cycling? Sure…only insofar as cyclists back in the day often drank during races to numb the pain of having to climb the Dolomites on bikes with only a few gears.

But what makes this the most pointless and ridiculous of wine gadgets for me is this hideous hunk of metal’s price. How much will you pay for this corkscrew? Anywhere between £100 and £150.

Put it this way. You could buy three bottles of Chateau Batailley 1998 and spend £10 on a regular corkscrew and have change to spare from £150. What would you rather have?

Photo: Campagnolo