It’s always fascinating to see what new products are being invented and patented in regards to wine technology. Previously on The Academic Wino, I presented the “Self-Aerating Wine Bottle” in the first installment of “Wine Technology of the Future”. Today’s featured patent comes to us by the inventor Debra Harris Fogel, and is named the “corkscrew with integral intelligent thermometer”.
The patent for the “corkscrew with integral intelligent thermometer” (US8235591) was first filed in October 2003 and was finally issued in August 2012. Briefly, this corkscrew was designed to not only open the bottle of wine, but to also inform the consumer what temperature the wine currently is, as well as what wines would be best at that temperature. The device is designed in such a way that this information may be transmitted by audio and/or visually by a digital display. Temperature is measured either from a probe on the outside of the bottle (think a probe in the handle of the corkscrew) or via the screw itself once it was inserted into the cork.
Note: This figure illustrates the corkscrew with integral intelligent thermometer. Temperature probes are located at #2 and the corkscrew itself.
Why was this device invented?
According to the inventor, this corkscrew with the integral intelligent thermometer was designed to assist consumers in determining the proper temperature at which a wine should be served. Studies have shown that different wines have different optimal serving temperatures, which are dependent upon a variety of factors, most notably the color of the varietal (red, white, or rosé). For the inexperienced consumer, who makes up a large number of the consumer population, the knowledge of exactly what temperature (or temperature range) a particular wine should be served is not part of their memory banks. By having a corkscrew tell one at what temperature they should be serving their wine, it eliminates the stress and worry that they might not be serving it properly.
The author also cites the entertainment value of the device. According to Harris, having a corkscrew talk to you and tell you what temperature your wine is, or what temperature your wine should be, it provides a level of entertainment that will encourage the consumer to use it over and over again. To be honest, while I think it’s a novel idea and probably “fun” the first few times I used it, I would be more likely to be entertained each and every time if I could change up the voice that calls out the temperature to me. Just imagine some celebrity like Mr. T telling you what temperature your wine is: “It’s 2oC! I pity the fool who serves their wine so cold!” (Mr. T. pictured below)Harris also made mention of the fact that having a device give you the temperature of the liquid within the bottle without actually opening the bottle would be optimal. I completely agree, as if one opens the bottle and finds out it’s the wrong temperature, it’s harder to get back in the refrigerator without risking leakage from the cork (ok, it’s actually not that hard, but one does run the risk of leakage if the bottle is placed on its’ side). By having the temperature probe on the arm of the device, the temperature is able to be read through the side of the bottle. Similarly, by having a probe on the screw itself, the temperature inside the bottle can be measured without breaking the seal of the corkon the sides of the neck (though now there is a hole in the top of the cork…).
Note: This figure highlights the digital screen where the temperature readout would be located.
Would you buy it?
In general, I think it is a pretty neat little gadget, and may be useful for technology geeks that want to be certain they are serving their wine at the correct temperature either to truly taste the wine at the temperature it was designed to be served at, or to just impress their friends at their next dinner party. I technically wouldn’t need this device, since I have a wine refrigerator by which I can set the precise temperature to store my wines, however, it would be useful if for some reason I wasn’t sure if my refrigerator was accurately reporting temperature anymore, or, if I just wanted Mr. T to yell at me to warm up or chill down my wine. OK, OK, Mr. T’s voice is not available on this device, but I would buy it in a heartbeat if it were!
What do you all think of this new device? Would you buy it? Is it just a marketing ploy that people don’t REALLY need? Do you think it helps or hurts the wine business? Please feel free to leave your comments!
Source: US Patent: US8235591 http://ip.com/pat/US8235591 Accessed 11/11/12