And today in odd and unusual things that I didn’t even know existed, let alone needed, we have this: Wine Condoms. What are Wine Condoms, exactly? They’re not what you probably think they are — and what’s more, they actually sound rather useful. They’re not, you see, condoms that are… I don’t know, infused or flavored with wine or whatever the cool kids are doing these days; indeed, they’re not even that kind of condom at all. What you do is roll them over the tops of open bottles of wine to keep them sealed properly between drinks. Genius? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely.
Created by mother and son duo Laura Bartlett and Mitch Strahan, Wine Condoms were originally conceived (sorry not sorry) as the result of a household hack: When Bartlett lost the cork belonging to an unfinished bottle of wine, she sealed it off with plastic wrap and rubber bands instead, according to a press release. The two of them joked that it looked like a condom — and then they realized that the idea, beyond being funny, also had a lot of potential.
So, in January of 2014, they launched a Kickstarter campaign aimed at bringing the Wine Condom, as they called it, to market. By the beginning of February, they had met their original fundraising goal of $7,500, and by the time the campaign wrapped up on Feb. 16, they reached $9,285 — just shy of the campaign’s $10,000 stretch goal. The original batch shipped in the late spring and early summer of 2014 — and over three years later, business is booming.
The way they work is simple: If you’ve opened a bottle of wine, but haven’t finished it by the time you decide you’re done for the day, all you have to do is unwrap a Wine Condom and roll it over the top of the bottle — like so:
What’s more, they actually solve a lot of wine-related issues that pop up when you don’t finish a bottle immediately. For one, wines that need to be kept chilled will likely fit better in your refrigerator due to the lack of additional height often caused by corks, avoiding what Bartlett and Strahan refer to as “Pain-In-The-Ass-Leans-To-The-Side-Which-Never-Quite-Fits-In-The-Refrigerator’ syndrome”; what’s more, if the bottle tips, it’s a lot less likely to spill or leak. And — perhaps most importantly — it’s a really effective way to keep your wine fresh.
Indeed, they’re likely more effective at keeping opened wine fresh than actual corks are, largely due to the fact that the seal they create is pretty much airtight. When exposed to oxygen — as is wont to happen when you uncork a bottle to, y’know, drink it — wine has a tendency to change. The change isn’t always bad; as PopSci points out, “Expensive red wines, in particular, are said to improve in the decanter and in the glass over a short period. Some white wines oxidize in the bottle over years, producing a rich rather than sour quality.” But generally speaking, wine and oxygen don’t get along — and when wine goes bad, it’s usually too much oxygen that’s to blame.
The issue is that jamming the old cork back in the bottle doesn’t necessarily create a great seal (and what’s more, a half-finished bottle is already filled with air with a lot of surface area exposed to oxygen, anyway). There are fancy devices that let you pour wine from a corked bottle without actually uncorking it, which keeps the seal intact; however, they’re a little pricy, so unless you’re willing and able to spend a couple hundred bucks on something like that — something that’s probably only worth it if you drink a lot of really expensive, really good wine — that’s not a viable option. Wine Condoms, on the other hand, effectively seal the tops of open bottles for cheap — a pack of six will only set you back $10. (It’s true that they don’t get around the whole half-a-bottle-of-air issue, but if you feel like putting in a little extra effort, you can always transfer the wine into a smaller bottle, too.)
The latest version of Wine Condoms has just been released; the new design is made of “food-grade latex rubber with improved stretch properties,” according to a press release, which means it fits over a greater variety of bottle sizes now. (Go ahead and make whatever penis joke you’d like here. Go on; I’ll wait.) You can snag them on Amazon, or at the official Wine Condoms website. The winter holiday season is already upon us, so goodness knows they’ll come in handy soon!