Yet another useless wine gadget: Bosch IXO Vino electric corkscrew

I love useless wine accessories. I don’t actually own any myself, but discovering them and trying to wrap my head around the reasons why they were developed is where the entertainment value lies. Using them, I figure, wouldn’t be half the fun.

It seems one of the most popular accessories to reinvent in an over-complicated way and sell for an extortionate price is the corkscrew. Given its simplicity, you would think there isn’t much that can be done to improve on it – but that hasn’t stopped people from trying.

Now, if I were Norm Abram, the American carpenter of This Old House fame who seems always to have a power tool for every task, I might want my corkscrew to have a little more, er, oomph behind it.

I thought I’d seen everything, but I must have had my head under a rock for the past couple of years because nothing prepared me for the moment when I came across the Bosch IXO Vino cordless screwdriver with corkscrew adapter.

Yes, that’s right. Bosch took its cordless screwdriver, a tool whose existence is already somewhat pointless, and improved it by…adding the word “Vino” to the name and adapting what looks like a Screwpull corkscrew to fit onto its chuck.

To reassure you this is a serious oenophile’s tool, it comes in a wooden box – because that’s how expensive wine is shipped, you know.

But wait, there’s more. Just in case you thought this was a wine-specific version of the electric screwdriver, Bosch has kindly included 10 regular screwdriver bits so that they say can be used on “conventional” applications as well, making the “IXO Vino special edition a truly multi-talented tool for wine enthusiasts and for everyone who wants to improve their home.”

Retailing at £59.99 but currently priced at £40.90 from Amazon (although cheaper elsewhere), it isn’t exactly a cheap corkscrew given the fact I could buy a simple waiter’s friend for as little as £2.

But at least Bosch is offering more for your money than what you get from Campagnolo when you buy their massively overpriced BIG Corkscrew, which sells for more than £100 and makes you do all the work yourself.  Same, too, with the similar bit smaller Campagnolo Miro corkscrew, which will still set you back a hefty £61 and, shame of all shames, isn’t even electronic.

One only wonders why products like these are thought up in the first place. Perhaps it is ideal for people who are unable to use traditional corkscrews, but I can’t help but think it is a clumsy choice compared to other option out there (I’m thinking the single lever-style corkscrews).

I can only assume, then, that someone at Bosch has gone completely mad and though this would add value to their product range. With that in mind, where is the battery-powered cordless foil remover or the automated, electric pourer/decanter? Stopping at just a corkscrew attachment for an electric screwdriver screams missed opportunity to me. They should have gone for a full range of accessories no one needs.

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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