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

13 thoughts on “My choice for wine’s most useless accessory

      • Hmm… you make a good point. I do like the idea of having some kind of bike mount for a bottle of wine though; surely you could fashion something out of leather and mount it like a bar / saddle bag… that’d be sweet.

      • If you think campag corkscrew is is a useless accessory you are very wrong. I am cyclist and engineer and use my corkscrew on a regular basis – very much a talking point and a great xmas present plus a great piece of imaginative engineering from Campy. I am a wine expert also, so rather than waste money on overpriced wine, but the corkscrew – you wont regret it.

  1. Pingback: Yet another useless wine gadget: Bosch IXO Vino electric corkscrew « Geordie Clarke dispatches on wine

  2. This is simply one of the most pointless articles I have ever read on the internet and an insult to both wine, inspiration, engineering, and the spirit of which this opener was created.

  3. I would disagree, and if its a pleasure to use it will obviously add to the experience. It looks like a beautiful piece of engineering(although not a fan of the bronze version) You could argue spending more than £20 on a bottle of wine is a waste to when there are so many great wines for less, but you would look equally stupid!

  4. It disturbs me that anyone with a road bike hasn’t worked out already that the circumference of a typical wine bottle is almost exactly the same as that of a bidon. I regularly stop off on the way home, buy a bottle of wine and carry it in the bottle cage of my bike.

  5. I find it hard to believe that someone who claims to have owned racing bicycles with campy components doesn’t really “get” this product. For anyone who was, or is into cycling, Campagnolo is the equivalent of Ferrari. Sexy as hell, with the price tag to match. Back when cycling was mostly a European sport, Campy parts were the pinnacle because of their reliability, beauty, and the legend of their creator. I spent many years of my youth paging through cycling catalogs, lusting over anything Campagnolo. Is this corkscrew any better than the $5 two step corkscrew I got from the grocery store? Still to be determined. Do I want one? Hell yes! If you need an electric corkscrew, your a bitch. If you need a Campy corkscrew it’s because it touches a passionate part of your cycling heritage, and brings you one step closer to Le dolce vita. By the way, my heart belongs to Campagnolo, but my bike and my wallet belong to shimano.

    • Au contraire. I will use something if it works and does not seem obscenely priced. Campagnolo drivetrains work, suit my needs and aren’t as obscenely priced (at least not in the UK), when compared with Shimano. And so I use them. I never got the whole passion side of things. I get the passion about riding and loving a sport, but not when it comes to pieces of metal and plastic.

      No, the corkscrew. I’m sure it is built to a high standard. But so is a very simple Screwpull Waiter’s Friend. Except it offers considerably better value for money. Put your money into glasses and a decanter. Don’t spend over the odds for something that never needed reinventing.

    • Yes, invented after old, expensive bottles of wine were ruined by inferior openers. As a wine lover I think you can understand that? As someone else wrote, this is kind of like a Ferrari. While there are plenty of “Toyota” wine openers my cavatappi never fails to be a tool that is a pleasure to use. As long as you don’t lose it or someone steals it, over the course of a lifetime (and it’ll certainly last that long!) the cost is rather small.

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