First off we have to confess the more serious wine lovers in our editorial team bristled at the idea of putting wine and hacks together in the same headline. They’d prefer we use wine tips but that doesn’t quite capture how brilliant some of these ideas are from our favourite sommeliers, famous winemakers and wine loving travel writers. These are each honed from years on the road and a dedication to enjoying great wine and hence we stand by our claim that these are the world’s best wine hacks.
- We start first on the plane. If you’re flying economy (shudder) you need to stock up on wine. Red wine will help you sleep better than white wine. That’s just science; well maybe pseudo-science. We do know that the skin of red grapes contains melatonin which helps to regulate your circadian rhythm so the thinking goes that red wine in moderate quantities helps people to sleep. As a bonus tip we suggest smiling nicely at the FA when they first bring the drinks and asking for a couple of those mini bottles of wine, “to save them having to come back.” This won’t always work, but a please and thank you goes a long way.
- If you’re in business or first most airlines will offer a sparkling wine before take off but have champagne available once the flight is airborne. This has to do with taxes and the cost of pouring a pre-departure drink which might not be consumed. If you didn’t like the sparkling wine, don’t dismiss the idea of enjoying a better bubbly, consult the menu or ask the FA as there will usually be a champagne available. And let’s face it, champagne pairs very nicely with lay flat seats.
- When we’re staying on property for a few days we often try to leave a bottle with two glasses left for the sommelier and staff after a dinner. They will be appreciative and remember you, especially if it is a nice or unusual drop. The next day you’ll get impeccable service. Trust us, this gesture is always appreciated. And to be honest, if you drink three of the five glasses in a bottle of wine, that often pays for the bottle when compared to ordering wine by the glass.
- A related hack is to always ask the sommelier or wait staff for a recommendation on what to drink. If you’re in a region with indigenous wines where you may not know the producers or even the varietals, this can be a great way to find a new favourite pour, or at least to avoid a bad decision.
- Most hotel rooms will have a corkscrew even in the age of twist tops, if not room service will be happy to send you up one or at least open the wine for you. But if you’re on a picnic and realize you don’t have a corkscrew relax, you aren’t corkscrewed. Watch this YouTube video and see 10 ways of opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew.
- Next if you want to chill white wine quickly in your hotel room you have a few options. An ice bucket is the best choice, especially if you add water to the ice. Turn the bottle frequently while chilling to make sure that all of the wine cools evenly. Naturally the wine on the wall of the bottle will cool faster as it’s in touch with the cold water and ice outside. Turning it makes sure all the wine comes into contact with the cold. If you have to use the minibar, unload everything (unless it’s one of those annoying ones that charges you when you move an item) and lay the wine on its side. Wine on its side will chill twice as fast as wine standing up as more area is in contact with the chilling surface.
- Never be afraid to check wine unless it is a bottle of Screaming Eagle or a rare vintage. We have brought wine home from six continents without incident. The trick is to wrap bottles in your t-shirts and underwear or even a spare towel or pair of jeans. As an extra precaution it’s good to put the bottle in a plastic laundry bag first and then wrap it. This is not full-proof but it’s never been a problem.
The wine hacks are road tested and passionate wine lover approved. And they’ll help you relax and enjoy a better glass of wine, whether while eating out or relaxing in your room. Cheers.