“That’s Bernoulli’s equation!” declares my better half, pouncing on a leaflet which features an action shot of my new Vinturi Wine Aerator on the front, and the mathematical symbols that have caught his eye on the back. “Bernoulli’s principle states that when the flow of liquid or gas is faster on one surface than another, there is a net pressure difference,” declares BH as though he put down his applied maths textbooks yesterday. Finally he notices my blank stare: “It’s what makes planes fly!”
Okay, that’s pretty exciting, but I’m still not sure what it has to do with wine. Fortunately BH doesn’t need any encouragement to demonstrate, selecting a bottle, opening it, and assembling the Vinturi on its Perspex stand in one fluid move. He then instructs me to close my eyes while he pours two glasses of wine, one the old-fashioned way, the other through the Vinturi – where Bernoulli’s principle explains the air being sucked up into the wine even as it gurgles noisily down.
“Now keep your eyes closed and tell me which is which,” says BH. And I do. The aromas are definitely more pronounced in one glass than the other; the flavours richer; the mouthfeel smoother. And I guess – correctly – that this is where Bernoulli’s principle has been applied. Making all those slurping noises, the Vinturi may not be as elegant as a decanter of wine breathing gently on a sideboard for an hour or two – or, for that matter, an aeroplane soaring above the clouds – but it certainly appears to work if you want your wine thoroughly aerated in no more than the time it takes to pour a glass.
As the Vinturi leaflet puts it, “Decanting is time-consuming, cumbersome and inconvenient. Vinturi draws in and mixes the right amount of air for the right amount of time, allowing your wine to breathe instantly.” But this begs the question: when should a wine breathe? Particularly when you consider how much effort winemakers put into protecting their wines against the dulling, browning effects of oxidation.
Most people only bring out the decanter for special, aged wines, the irony being that these have probably had more than enough exposure to oxygen over time (through their corks), so decanting should be as gentle as possible, simply to filter away any sediment. Vinturi is probably better for young wines years away from their peak; the perfect device for those of us who can’t wait.
Inventor Rio Sabadicci’s intention was to enhance the wine experience by combining form with function, and by and large he has succeeded. Now available in SA, a “deluxe” Vinturi set (with Perspex tower) retails for R795, while the handheld Vinturi (with table stand), retails for R495.
Note: This review originally appeared in horizons, formerly the in-flight magazine for BA (Comair), no longer published.