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Published on November 6th, 2012 | by Greg

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Cre­ative Danes MENU: Classy Norm Wine Gear

Scan­di­na­vian de­sign doesn’t have to be ex­pen­sive. And it doesn’t have to be IKEA ei­ther. Ear­li­er this year at the New York In­ter­na­tion­al Gift Fair, we stopped by the booth for Cre­ative Danes, a Unit­ed States dis­trib­u­tor of in­ter­est­ing prod­ucts from Nor­way, Swe­den, Fin­land, and- of course- Den­mark. We look at lots of oth­er nifty house­hold and kitchen prod­ucts, but some of our fa­vorite items in­volve wine. Af­ter all, a great bot­tle of wine is on­ly made bet­ter with the ap­pro­pri­ate glass­ware, and pop­ping the cork should be done with class.

To­day, we’ve got a few pieces from the Menu NORM col­lec­tion. It’s an odd name, to be sure, but the de­sign­ers Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen & Kasper Rønn take a tra­di­tion­al col­or scheme and add an ap­proach­able qual­i­ty with new ma­te­ri­als or quirky touch­es. And the prices are in­cred­i­bly rea­son­able.

The first of the trio, the NORM Wait­er’s Corkscrew, wasn’t a great in­tro­duc­tion un­for­tu­nate­ly. The look and feel is quite de­cent- small, er­gonom­ic, and rub­ber-coat­ed- and it folds up tight­ly in­to a cute and small pack­age. But a good corkscrew should do one thing well- un­screw a cork- and this one was pret­ty tough to use. The screw it­self didn’t seem par­tic­u­lar­ly sharp, and the sin­gle-lev­el met­al flip-out that adds lever­age was wonky and a lit­tle slip­pery. There is a foil cut­ter in­clud­ed, and the end is a bot­tle open­er, but it just didn’t de­light. At $20, it’s a good-look­ing de­sign, but sac­ri­fices us­abil­i­ty.

Luck­i­ly the Wine Breather Carafe is re­mark­ably bet­ter. It makes a great ini­tial im­pres­sion- a love­ly shape, the met­al and black ac­cents- but al­so of­fers a fair­ly unique fea­ture that sets it apart from oth­er ways to let your vi­no open. All you need to do is tilt the bot­tle ver­ti­cal­ly over the de­canter and set it down on the lip, be­ing care­ful to pour it in slow­ly at first and then let­ting it stand and drain. This way, you get ev­ery last drop out of the bot­tle, and it looks sharp while do­ing so. You can then re­verse the op­er­a­tion af­ter it’s aired a bit, pour­ing it eas­i­ly back in­to the bot­tle thanks to the tight seal. We were ner­vous about pour­ing it back from the carafe to the bot­tle, but it worked! You can al­ways pour di­rect­ly from the carafe as well, though it’s not quite as drip-proof or easy as we might’ve liked. But the NORM Wine Breather Carafe is jus­ti­fi­ably a de­sign award win­ner, a showy piece, built well, that ma­tures your wine in two min­utes or so- and is on­ly $50.

Fi­nal­ly, NORM al­so of­fers the Blade Vac­u­um Pump and wine stop­pers- avail­able sep­a­rate­ly or in a set with the afore­men­tioned corkscrew. Pre­vent your wine from ox­i­da­tion by seal­ing the bot­tles with the pair of in­clud­ed caps, and then suck­ing out the re­main­ing air with the pump. If you al­ready have a sim­i­lar sys­tem, this one won’t be com­pat­i­ble- and if you don’t, this one is a bit hard to find. But if you on­ly need two ‘corks’, or want to give a gift to an oc­ca­sion­al wine drinker, this pump is love­ly . Avail­able in red and lime as well, ours was black, and fea­tured a large hold that you use to grasp the han­dle for pump­ing. It’s a bit more dif­fi­cult than oth­er sys­tems that use a two-fin­ger grasp han­dle, but works sim­i­lar­ly and the re­sults were equal­ly snug. $25, avail­able on­line.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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