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May 19, 2007 02:52 PM

decant or ?

does anyone have any experience with the Vinturi device?

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  1. I asume you mean the contraption in this link:

    I've no experience with it whatsoever, and I'm convinced I'll stay that way for a long time.

    7 Replies
    1. re: RicRios


      I am interested in hearing what makes you so "allergic" to this device. To be sure it seems a little gimmicky but at $40 it doesn't strike me as an absurd toy to play with.

      I have my share of pointless wine tools so it may just be the gadget-lover in me that is saying this but I would like to hear your take.

      1. re: ellaystingray

        Somehow I can't associate wine with turbulence.

        Smooth flow, peaceful old fashioned decanting is the way.

        1. re: RicRios

          IMHO, wineries make the wine in the gentlest way possible with gravity flow, hand harvesting and sorting . careful racking. It makes sense to decant gently.

          Again IMHO, only wines that have had this "gentle handling" are the ones that need decanting.

          1. re: chickstein

            "only wines that have had this 'gentle handling' are the ones that need decanting."

            Can't agree. I decant wines in two instances, neither of which has the slightest thing to do with whether they were handled gently before coming into my possession. Gentle decanting is recommended for old wines, especially port, that have thrown a sediment, to prevent the sediment from being stirred up each time the bottle is tipped. Decanting, even vigorous decanting aka splash decanting, can also be a good idea for younger, closed-up and/or tannic wines that become more expressive after one or two hours' exposure to air. There are even decanters with ridged interiors meant to create turbulence and enhance aeration.

            I once organized a tasting attended by one of Quebec's top importers; the guy was formerly a big league sommelier and is now someone who specializes in "natural," minimalist intervention wines. He brought one of his private imports with him to the tasting, a very tight red Burgundy. After his first sip, he surprised the rest of us by covering the glass with his palm and shaking it vigorously for a half minute or so. Confronted with our dropped jaws, he shrugged and said it wasn't any harder on the wine than the vigorous swirling in the mouth it would be subjected to momentarily.

            Anyway, my issue with the Vinturi device isn't the turbulence but that you can accomplish the same effect with no cash outlay by splash or double decanting. Or by covering the glass with your palm and shaking. ;)

            1. re: carswell

              "you can accomplish the same effect with no cash outlay by splash or double decanting. Or by covering the glass with your palm and shaking."


              1. re: carswell

                re the glass shaking: read about Peter Cargasacchi supposedly pulling a cork, pouring a bit of wine into a glass, putting cork back in and shaking the bottle for aeration

        2. re: RicRios

          Seems gimicky. I'll stick with traditional decanting, but whatever pops your cork - - do it!

        3. Ric - ordinaily I'd be totally on board with you but I've seen a lot of positive reports. It almost seems like when to venturi vs. not as opposed to using it vs. not.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ibstatguy

            Yeah, so I can see this could quickly go into a discussion of when to decant and when not to, when I "THINK" this is more about aeration--which is only one reason why you would decant. For instance, it doesn't appear the the Vinturi would do any good with an old wine that needs to be decanted less for aeration, than for sediment reasons.

            Second as far as gentle handling/gravity flow etc. This is another slippery slope but my understanding (don't want to "pull rank" here but I have worked for--directly been employed by--wineries who do gravity flow or get close) is that during the process of making wine, it is more vulnerable to rough handling. However, once you have a finished wine, it is a comparatively much more stable. For example, even the most "gentle" racking process is pretty darn "rough" in terms of shaking the wine around. So I don't mind getting a little rough with a young wine that needs a little aeration. Again, just to be clear, an old wine with potential sediment issues is a totally different story.

            So, for me, it isn't so much about being rough on the wine, but if this $40 gadget is a more elegant way to accomplish aeration of a nice young wine--as opposed to shaking a wine glass around like you were making a martini--I am game. And frankly, I don't like cleaning decanters or having to lick my palm clean after doing the aeration dance.

            Now, what is my reservation price for this tool? $50? I'd still buy it. $60? Maybe. $75? Forget it.

            1. re: ellaystingray

              if this thing was under 30$ i'd buy it in a heart beat, it looks good for young wines that you can violently decant =P

              1. re: clayfu

                I bought mine at a restaurant that regularly uses the Vinturi on young reds. It was $28. At home, we've performed blind tastings with males and females, with maybe 80% finding a superior experience with the Vinturi. The wines were poured blind.

          2. I love the page on the vinturi site with the math equation !!!

            it really makes it a serious tool !!!

            yeah, ok, I'll pass and decant the old fashion way.

            BTW, it LOOKS cool; for $40 it can be a cute gadget to give out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Maximilien

              hum. this arrived in the mail today. I played around with it and its actually kinda nifty. It holds the liquid in the top part for not even a second and suddenly it flushes down with a large *WOOSH* sound and shoots a jet of liquid into whatever you want to shoot it into.

              Sorry no test for wine yet, but i'll do that tomorrow and give you guys an update. But its an incredibly cool looking device!

            2. 1) The device is ridiculous -- EVERY wine funnel ALREADY does this! In fact, every liquid passing through every funnel does this . . . .

              2) >>> only wines that have had this "gentle handling" are the ones that need decanting <<< Uh, no.

              3) >>> you can accomplish the same effect with no cash outlay by splash or double decanting. Or by covering the glass with your palm and shaking <<< Exactly! If I had the proverbial nickel for every time a winemaker, wine writer, wine buyer, or someone else I knew put their palm over the glass and shook it up at a professional wine judging and/or tasting for a wine magazine . . . .

              4 Replies
              1. re: zin1953

                no every wine funnel doesnt do this haha. you have to see the item for yourself.

                1. re: clayfu


                  Unless the spout of a funnel is specifically designed to have the liquid flow down the side of the container . . .

                2. re: zin1953

                  Yes, before attending a serious tasting, not only do I refrain from using any sort of after-shave, but I wash my hands with unscented soap. Little is worse that covering the glass, giving it a big healthy swirl, and then sticking you nose under your hand, to get a strong scent of... Dove!


                  1. re: zin1953

                    "1) The device is ridiculous -- EVERY wine funnel ALREADY does this! In fact, every liquid passing through every funnel does this . . . ."

                    Sorry to ressurect this old topic again, but I've been selling the Vinturi for a few months now and use it in tastings essentially when someone finds a wine (ususally a red) too strong or too tannic. It seems to help in most instances. I prefer to experience wine the way it comes from the bottle but sometimes the experience can use help.

                    But the point I am curious about in Jason's (zin1953) is the assertion that the device works like any funnel. Funnels, especially the ones with multiple small holes at the bottem of a closed-end tube, do spread out the wine and help aerate it, but the Vinturi very aggressively draws in air and what comes out is very frothy (similar to heavy agitation). The conclusion I come to is that the Vinturi releases gases in the wine by replacing them with air 'injected' through the side air tubes, thus softening some wines.

                    Jason, here's the section from the Wikipedia page you referenced on the Venturi effect that explains what this thing does: "A venturi can also be used to mix a fluid with air. If a pump forces the fluid through a tube connected to a system consisting of a venturi to increase the water speed (the diameter decreases), a short piece of tube with a small hole in it, and last a venturi that decreases speed (so the pipe gets wider again), air will be sucked in through the small hole because of changes in pressure. At the end of the system, a mixture of fluid and air will appear."

                    I'm not saying there aren't several ways to accomplish a similar result, but this device seems to be effective in a clean, simple and rather fascinating way.

                  2. I'm a member of the Cline Cellars wine club. The primary reason why is b/c they have semi-annual Harvest Celebrations where they have a nice buffet and tastings of everything. The most recent one a couple of weekends ago is where I saw the Vinturi device being used for a pouring of a 25th anniversary meritage offering. Since the wine was way too young and tannic to be consumed without some serious decanting, the winery folk were using Vinturis.

                    Reading the various responses here, some of you folk have to look beyond your own little world and see the bigger picture. A Vinturi does not have universal application, but it does have its value (unless you want someone pouring you some wine, picking up your glass, sticking their hand over it, violently shaking it, then passing it back to you to consume).

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: Eugene Park

                      Why don't YOU cover the glass and shake it? Why have someone else do it?

                      1. re: zin1953

                        Zin1953, you should seriously read what you just wrote, and consider what a silly question that is. There are plenty of occasions where I'd rather not have to be wiping down my hands every time I have a glass of wine. Especially situations where I am:

                        1) Touching other things
                        2) Shaking hands with other people
                        3) Dressed nicely

                        The analogy for why a Vinturi is useful is akin to this - when entering someone's home, you could wipe your shoes off yourself using your own hands, or you could use the thoughtfully provided doormat to accomplish the same task. Why the heck would I be conducting an activity that forces me to clean up after myself, when with a single gadget I could avoid all of that entirely?

                        1. re: Eugene Park

                          It's incredible but true: wine-lovers, even ones in formal settings, have managed for centuries without Vinturi doohickeys. Or Riedel varietal glasses, for that matter.

                          1. re: carswell

                            Wow, some real crusty sorts in here. Tradition is fine....sometimes. Innovation has been embraced by the wine producing industry, esp. in the new world. What's worked for some of you for so long doesn't mean that you're right and everyone else looking for a new and improved method is wrong. That's what got the French winemaking and American automaking industries in scramble mode in the '70s and '80s.

                            Shake my wine or have it served to me thru a Vinturi? That's a silly question.

                            1. re: carswell

                              ... or cars, refrigerators, computers, stainless steel tanks, ... or any other modern "doohickeys."

                            2. re: Eugene Park

                              Several years ago we went on the tour at Beringer, and at the last stop, they had everyone (like 25 people) cover their glass and shake. I still laugh when I think about it! (and yes, I stood at the back and laughed instead of getting wine on my hand!)

                          2. re: Eugene Park


                            Did you, by some chance, have the opportunity to try the Cline before (straight from the bottle) and after (post-Vinturi)? I'd be interested in hearing your tasting observations.

                            BTW, Cline is a "class-act," and I do appreciate their production of single-varietal wines, most of which are very good.

                            Just curious,

                            1. re: Bill Hunt


                              I did not get the chance to try the Cline straight from the bottle, and now I wish I did. Next time I run into a wine being poured thru a Vinturi, I'll be sure to ask for a taste straight from the bottle.

                              Cline gets short shrift by many that think they're just zin & syrah. I agree they do have some very interesting varietals that you don't commonly run into. It'll be interesting to see how good their Jacuzzi line will become as they expand those offerings.



                              1. re: Eugene Park

                                even the most newbie of wine drinkers can taste the difference with a vinturi. (aka my mom and my brother), especially with a cab, the flavors are far less muted

                                1. re: Eugene Park

                                  >>> Next time I run into a wine being poured thru a Vinturi, I'll be sure to ask for a taste straight from the bottle. <<<

                                  Please do. That's the key right there. For me, it does nothing. Then again, I've only had wine poured this way once -- at a trade show -- and I didn't see anything to get excited about. To do a controlled, side-by-side comparison -- blind (not knowing which wine was which) -- with several wines . . . THAT will tell you a great deal!

                                  1. re: zin1953

                                    I just had a side by side tasting using the Vinturi device of a very good merlot at AlphaOmega winery in the Napa Valley. I was impressed with the difference enough to purchase one! plus i recieved a 30% wine club discount... :) Even for the entertainment value at personal wine tasting or event it is worth the price I paid. I am sure many of you have paid more for a bottle of wine that you knew could use some furter improvement in the the tasting...

                                    1. re: NapaGrill

                                      I may have to buy one if only for the fact that I can do a controlled experiment myself.

                                      1. re: zin1953

                                        Talk about your insidious marketing schemes, eh?

                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Hey Hunt, we rarely disagree but we do here on Cline wines. I've never had *anything* from them that wowed me, and I've tasted through their line many times over the last 16 years on my drives in/through Sonoma. Not once have I had a wine from them that struck me as well-grown or well-made. I do like the idea that they make some unusual single-varietal wines, but they are poorly executed, especially in comparison with other wineries who make excellent versions of those varietals. I don't think a Vinturi would help much on Cline wines, though help is needed.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    I knew that it had to happen sometime! I've had nothing but good, albeit not great, wines from them. I will admit that it's been awhile, since I have sampled their wares, but, unless there's been a big change, I would not expect them to diviate from my tastes. Next trip over, I'll definitely sample the portfolio and see how things are going there. If I have to "eat," or "drink" my words, I'll do so.


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Aw heck, not looking for anyone to eat crow, unless it's tastily prepared with a nice demi-wine reduction sauce. I know they changed their fruit sourcing/farming a little while back, and that seems to be a partial reason for the drop in flavor since the early 90s. The other seems inattentive/uninformed winemaking. So many other wines in their price range are much more flavorful. Cline is not at all on my radar anymore, though their new museum on California missions at the winery is rather interesting. Next time you're coming to this neck of the woods, Hunt, give me a heads up (email on profile) and we'll coordinate some nice tastings.

                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        Thanks for that offer. I'll definitely follow up. We normally do two trips to SF/Sacramento per year, and I do various wine country tastings, while my wife is in meetings. Don't have anything on the books right now, but it cannot be too long.

                                        As for the sourcing of the fruit - yes, that can make a world of difference. Maybe it's just been too long since I did most of the Cline portfolio. Need to see what has happened. Thanks for the H/U.


                                    2. re: maria lorraine

                                      Cline wines are what they are. Good fruit forward wines with some fun aspects. Unlike a lot of wineries, they dont aspire to be what they arent. Opposite end of the spectrum....ravenswood chick badmouthing their cuvee in favor of super tannic single vinyard zinfandel...LOL.

                                      1. re: chrisinroch

                                        Re: Cline -- I wished I liked them more. Other wines at the same price point and with equal accessibility are so much better. And equally fun.
                                        I always get the idea Cline aspires to be more. And they could be much more. They need a better winemaker, someone more skilled. At least, that's my impression -- was there for an event not too long ago.

                                        Re: Ravenswood chick -- sigh. just a single human rooting for the home team and ungracefully denigrating another winery in the process.

                                        Cheers, happy holidays...

                                        1. re: chrisinroch

                                          Was the Ravenswood chick badmouthing RAVENSWOOD cuvee? I presume you're describing something that happened at the winery? I've had a few Ravenswood single vineyard Zins that were really good, like Monte Rosso, Teldeschi and Baricia. Still wouldn't think a tasting room employee would badmouth their cuvee, maybe saying the SV's are better????? Really??