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Aveine's Sensible Wine Aerator is a giant improve for wine lovers – and it may add some new ones too

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Perhaps you have a good reason to indulge in a wine kick right now – along with the rest of the country – so maybe it is time to check out the Aveine Smart Aerator, a French startup device that offers variable, instantaneous ventilation and a connected app platform to determine just the right amount of aeration a particular wine you are drinking needs. The Aveine Smart Wine Aerator is a premium price, but you'll be surprised what a difference it can make.

The basics

The Aveine Smart Wine Aerator began life like many other startup devices – as a crowdfunding project. The France-based team ended its campaign in 2018 after exceeding its funding target and worked on completing, producing and shipping its design for the next several years. The Aveine Smart Wine Aerator can now be ordered in the original version with full power for 449 US dollars as well as in an "Essential" version launched this year that provides half the maximum aeration time (12 hours versus 24 hours) for $ 299 (see here)).

They both work the same way: you place them on the bottle that you want to ventilate after opening, and they connect via Bluetooth to your phone and the Aveine app, available for iOS and Android. The app allows you to take a photo of the label of your wine and an attempt will be made to match it from the growing database in order to automatically set the Aveine to the optimal aeration time.

Credit: Aveine

In practice, I found that most of the wines I tested were not in the database – which is what Aveine expects. For this reason, it offers a simple survey that you can fill out to get an approximate best aeration time by providing information such as vintage, grapes used, region and whether the wine is organic or biodynamic. You can also manually adjust the ventilation and sample small amounts to find your preferred amount.

Aveine contains a soft carrying case for the Smart Aerator and a charging station that can be connected to any standard USB wall plug or via micro USB. The built-in battery is designed for a standby time of approx. 12 hours and is occasionally ventilated during watering if it actively injects air into the flow with the help of a built-in motor.

Design and performance

The Aveine feels quite heavy and it is clear that a lot of care has been taken to ensure that all of the smart internals fit comfortably into the relatively small device. It easily fits over most wine bottle caps and grips when pouring without the need for a special fastening process. The touchscreen activates when you swipe and displays the adjustable ventilation screen in plain black and white.

Getting started with Aveine is easy and doesn't require the app at all. Just set the scales to the degree of ventilation you want and pour them. Aeration starts automatically when you tilt the bottle and you can hear it work as the motor injects air as the wine flows through it. When using the app, you will be prompted to plug in the fan (if you woke the device by waking the display, it should appear in the app's device list immediately if it is within Bluetooth range of your phone).

If you have a wine in the Aveine database, a recommended aeration time will be returned when you photograph the label. If you are connected to the aerator, the ventilation time of the aerator is automatically set to this value. As mentioned earlier, you can also answer some questions about the wine if it's not in the database to return an estimated aeration time. This is also set automatically when you are connected to the device.

Credit: Aveine

Now let's talk about the performance: let me say I understand the sticker shock when you see the asking price for the Aveine – I had the same thing. However, using the Smart Aerator is a long way off to prove itself. The effect is immediate and ambiguous: it makes almost every bottle of wine taste much better without you having to decant it and leave it for hours in advance.

While my tests are not scientific, I have interviewed a large number of friends and families who have enjoyed bottles vented on socially distant visits via the Aveine and all of them have had tremendous improvement between pre and post tastings Ventilation noted. At least one even went out and immediately bought their own Aveine based on experience.

Sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation to get the ventilation right, adjust levels, and do contrasting taste tests – but that's actually part of the fun too.

Bottom line

Aerator equipment is plentiful, and is often purchased cheaply at the local wine store checkout for well under $ 100. But the Aveine is the first one I've tried and it makes such a clear and demonstrable difference that it can convince beginners and professionals alike of its effectiveness. It's a high price, yes, but in return you get a device that will consistently improve the lives of wine lovers – and turn skeptics into some new wine lovers too.

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Katherine Clark