Weekend Wines

Weekend wines: Would you stick a straw in it?

Feb. 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM ET

WineStraws /

It’s fair to say that for most people, the straw and the wine glass have no business together. Isn’t enjoying wine all about swirling it around, breathing in the aromas and taking gentle sips? Why on earth would anyone want to insert a plastic tube into the ritual as with some newfangled cocktail or a humble soft drink?

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The answer comes from a company called – no surprise here – WineStraws, which has invented a solution to a problem I’m not sure many people knew they had – or cared about. The problem is teeth stains from red wine. The clear plastic straws are shorter and smaller in diameter than a typical straw “so the flow of wine into the mouth is just like sipping it from a glass,” according to a press release, which says the straw – and this is the key point – “delivers wine directly to the back of the palate,” thus bypassing the teeth and reducing the potential for those ugly purple stains. They cost $2.99 for four or $6.99 for a dozen and can be washed and reused.

So how did my tasting with a straw go? For me, enjoying wine is about the full experience, the interaction of hand, glass, nose and mouth, and that’s harder with a straw, especially when it comes to breathing in the aromas. As I sipped – sucked, really – from a glass of red wine with one of the straws, I couldn’t help but think that I was holding a frozen margarita or some other drink for which a straw is a more natural fit. I also found myself drinking the wine faster than I usually do. And, while the wine may not have come in contact with my teeth at first, I tend to swish wine around in my mouth, so there was still some discoloring, which a little Crest took care of before I went to bed.

And so, I’m neutral on this one. What about you? Let’s take a “straw” poll with your comments. What’s more important? The wine “experience” and no-stain, no-gain? Or, as the WineStraws logo says, “drink red, smile white”?

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.