At the Wine Blogger Conference we were given a free tote bag with all sorts of goodies inside, one of which was an intriguing gadget with the name of Vino Chapeau. What was inside this little case? By coincidence, at the closing luncheon, I sat next to the inventor and owner of Vino Chapeau, Randy Cunningham. Randy is an engineer, a wine judge, and he calls himself a “burgeoning winemaker.” Randy showed our table how to use the device, which he also calls a wine concentrator. You place the top over the wineglass and swirl the wine for five seconds. Then you wait ten seconds and slide the plastic, exposing about half the glass and smell. Wham, the aroma is definitely intensified. I tried it several times at home and the gadget really works. Randy does not expect one to use this every time you open a bottle of wine. The idea is to use it to educate yourself, using the device so you can begin to learn many of the subtle aromas in wine.
Which leads me to the next aroma gadget that I happened to stumble on the same day. I was thinking if you use the Vino Chapeau and are able to better smell the aromas in a glass of wine, the next step is to be able to identify the aromas. Well, that is where this next gadget comes into play.
After the conference I drove north to the Alexander Valley to Stryker-Sonoma Vineyards to pick up a wine shipment. Stryker had on display the Wine Bouquet Kit available from the Wine Enthusiast and other online stores. The kit comes with 36 vials, each a different common wine aroma. Here is how Stryker was using the kit. They placed a wine glass over the open vial and alongside it the small card that explains each aroma. The card was facing down hiding the aroma information.
You turn the glass over and smell as though wine were in the glass. The aroma is much stronger than you would find in a glass of wine. We went through and identified about 50% of the aromas. If you practice with the aroma kit and then use the Vino Chapeau you could turn yourself into a champion wine taster and an expert at identifying wine aromas. Or, you could be like us and just sit back and enjoy a good glass of wine.
You can get more information on the Vino Chapeau Website and the Aroma Kit is available from the Wine Enthusiast or places like Amazon.