Wine Technology of the Future: The Straw for Wine

“Wine Technology of the Future” is a series on The Academic Wino that features new inventions and patents that attempt to make your wine experience easier and more enjoyable.  Previously on this series, we’ve introduced the “self-aerating wine bottle”; the “corkscrew with integral intelligent thermometer”; “wine dispensing and preservation device”; “multi-stream wine aerating device”; the “wine bag carrier”, the “system and method for pairing food with wine”, the “lateral flow device for Botrytis cinerea detection”, the “wine bottle with permanent contact between the wine and the cork”, and most recently, a review of the prototype for the “multi-stream wine aerating device”, now known as the TRIbella.  Today, we’ll take a look at the “Straw for Wine”.

The Straw for Wine: Patent No. US 8636170B2

Don’t you just hate it when you are drinking a red wine you sometimes end up with what is referred to as a “wine moustache?”  Are you sick of lipstick or lip gloss on your wine glass?  Don’t you just hate having purple teeth after drinking red wine?  Well, if you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, I have just the thing for you!  Ladies and Gentleman, introducing…..The Straw for Wine!

Figure 1 from US Patent 8636170

Figure 1 from US Patent 8636170

Wait a minute.  Is the wine moustache really a serious problem for wine consumers?  Unless you’re chugging the wine like you’re shot-gunning a beer, I really don’t think wine moustaches are really much of a problem at all.  I admit I drink A LOT of wine, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a “wine moustache”.  Come to think of it, my male friends with face fur never seem to have a problem with wine moustaches either.

Now, I can understand the desire for certain individuals to leave lipstick/lip gloss off the wine glass as well as protecting their teeth against red wine stains, but really?  I can think of a million more things I’d rather spend my money on and couldn’t care less about what other people might think of my purple teeth and lip gloss residue.  Of course, if I were under “doctor’s orders” to use a wine straw for one reason or another, sure, I’d rather use that than give up the grape all together.  But to use it for the sake of maintaining my own vanity? No thanks.

My own personal opinions on the product aside, let’s just look at the specs of the device as described in the patent.

The Straw for Wine patent was first filed in August of 2012 by Jenny LaFever from Ladera Ranch, California and was approved earlier this year on January 28th, 2014.

According to the patent, “what is needed is a straw for wine that allows wine drinkers to consume wine without obtaining a wine moustache, stained teeth, and stained lips, and also to keep lipstick and lip gloss on a drinker’s lips and not on the wine glass. More specifically, a wine straw that is easy to manufacture, that is discreet, avoids the consumption of sediment at the bottom of the wine glass, and allows the drinker to consume the wine from the top surface of the liquid, where the wine has been exposed to oxygen and has been aerated, is needed.”

Figures 2 and 3 from US Patent 8636170

Figures 2 and 3 from US Patent 8636170

The Straw for Wine is basically a hollow tube that is smaller in diameter than a regular drinking straw that has a little clip fixed to the device in order to hold the straw in place in the glass without having to hold it with your own fingers.  This supposedly allows the user of the wine straw to be more “discreet”, since the physical motions of drinking the wine out of the straw would be no different to the eyes of observers than they would be if the consumer was drinking directly from the glass.  By keeping the straw for wine in one place, as the level of wine decreases, the user is required to continually tilt the glass to reach the surface of the remaining wine, just as one does when drinking directly from the glass.

While the design of the Straw for Wine does help to maintain the “natural position” and “look” of drinking wine directly from the glass, I don’t think it’s still very discrete, considering there is this plastic tube thing sticking out of the glass.  Perhaps if the top of the straw for wine was only above the rim of the glass by a little bit (enough to keep the lips off the glass), instead of a couple of inches, I might be more convinced of its discreteness.

Don’t even get me started on the use of plastic for the straw.  That’s another story all together.

The inventor of the Straw for Wine definitely had the sensory characteristics of the wine in mind when it came to designing the device, though without actually trying it for myself, I’m not completely convinced it would not alter the perceived taste of the wine.  According to the patent, the wine is consumed when the straw just hits the surface of the wine, so that the wine with the most oxygen contact is consumed instead of the “less aerated” wine at the bottom of the glass.  My only beef with that statement is:  what ever happened to swirling the glass to aerate all the wine in the glass and integrate all the aromas/flavors for a more balanced experience?  I think the depth of the straw is less important in this case than the need to swirl the wine before it is consumed.

Using a straw for wine instead of sipping directly from the glass brings to mind one possible problem.  If one wishes to taste the wine in order to appreciate all of the subtle nuances of body and flavor, the whole

Figures 5 and 6 from US Patent 8636170

Figures 5 and 6 from US Patent 8636170

mouth needs to be involved.  MyWineTutor.com sums it up well:

“To many people, tasting means taking a sip and swallowing immediately. This isn’t tasting. Tasting is something you do with your taste buds. Remember, you have taste buds all over your mouth. They are on both sides of the tongue, underneath, on the tip, and they extend to the back of your throat. If you simply take a gulp of wine and throw it down your throat, you bypass all those important taste buds.”

Wouldn’t drinking from a straw elicit this same “sending it straight back down your throat” response?  I suppose if one wasn’t very interested in actually tasting the wine and was more interested in the alcohol, then I guess this argument wouldn’t even matter.

In my opinion, however, wine is something that should be appreciated on multiple levels.  Using a device that has the potential to block some of those important experiences all for the sake of wanting to look good in front of other people, who let’s face it-probably could care less if your teeth are purple, seems a bit disingenuous if you ask me.

Again, if I were under strict doctor’s/dentist’s orders to avoid staining my teeth for some reason or another, I’d happily use the straw as a temporary solution.  However, without actually testing the device myself, I don’t see how this could be universally accepted across all groups of wine consumers as a legitimate instrument for truly enjoying that glass of wine to its full potential. I’m sure there is a market for this device, and I wish them all the best in their endeavors, however, it’s a device that I probably will not buy anytime in the foreseeable future.

What do you all think about this product?  Am I missing something and off my rocker with my opinion on the device? Feel free to share your comments with us!

Source:

Patent No. US8636170.  Accessed online 6/15/2014.

4 comments for “Wine Technology of the Future: The Straw for Wine

  1. June 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Next we’ll be decanting soda…

    • Becca
      June 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Don’t give them any ideas!! ;)

  2. June 17, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Interesting subject. This company sells them.http://www.winestraws.com

    • Becca
      June 17, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I did see these—thanks for sharing with us all! It looks like the owner of that company is the same woman that submitted the patent. Hope things are going well for her!

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