Northwest-made TRIbella solves wine decanter hassle

By on May 13, 2015
TRIbella is an easy-to-use wine aerator.

The TRIbella aerator instantly opens a young red wine by introducing oxygen as it is being poured. (Photo courtesy of TRIbella)

For young red wines, decanting should be considered an essential. Yet few wine consumers do that, primarily because of the hassle factor.

First, you need a decanter. Second, it needs to be handy. Third, it’s one more thing to wash after dinner. Fourth, if you don’t finish the wine, then you need to either pour it back into the bottle or store it in a decanter.

Lots of hassles, so lots of decanters collect little more than dust.

A new product, called the TRIbella, removes all barriers.

Why decanters?

Wine decanter.

Decanters are a great way to help a young red wine open up, but they are a hassle to clean and store. (Photo via Flickr/click for credit)

Young red wines in particular can be tightly wound when they are bottled, then they are locked up in the bottle until we come along and pop the cork or twist the top.

Thus, when you pour that bottle, the wine often isn’t showing its best. It needs a bit of air to open up and reveal what it truly has to offer.

Older red wines often are decanted because as they age, they throw off sediment that can end up looking like coffee grounds in the bottom of your glass. Nobody wants a glass of wine that requires flossing afterward.

Typically, white wines are not decanted, particularly aromatic varieties such as Riesling, Viognier and Gewürztraminer. When decanted, they can actually be robbed of some of their best qualities. However, some richer whites, such as Chardonnay or Semillon probably can benefit from decanting.

Testing TRIbella

The TRIbella was invented by a Portland man.

TRIbella was invented by Skip Lei of Portland. It was introduced a year ago. (Photo courtesy of TRIbella)

TRIbella is a fairly new aerator that was invented by Portland, Ore., entrepreneur Skip Lei, a former product creator at Nike. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign a year ago (which took all of three days to fulfill), the TRIbella was launched. It retails for $40.

TRIbella is different than most aerators and decanters. Like most aerators, it doesn’t require the wine to be poured into a second vessel, such as a glass decanter. Instead, it slips into the uncorked wine bottle, and you start pouring.

Using a TRIbella, the wine comes out in three tiny and elegant streams, providing visual beauty – and a conversation starter – as you pour. It comes with a carrying case that looks a lot like a hard-backed case for a pair of glasses, and it is simple to clean.

We put the TRIbella to the test, and it showed its immediate worth. We tried it on a bottle of young Pacific Northwest Merlot that was under screwcap. Here were the results:

  • The un-aerated wine showed an initial hit of sulfer dioxide (S02), a gas that is used at bottling and acts as a preservative. On the palate, the young wine revealed classic flavors of cherry, vanilla and cocoa powder, but it was all backed by aggressive tannins.
  • The glass that was poured through the TRIbella showed no signs of S02, though it did take a moment for the aromas of cherry and mocha to come through. On the palate, it offered rich flavors backed by round, luscious and approachable tannins.

The difference between the two wines was stark, and under blind conditions, most wine professionals likely would be unable to tell they were the same wine. If the wine had been poured directly from the bottle (sans TRIbella) into a glass and left there for 30 minutes or so, it probably would have loosened up with some assertive swirling.

TRIbella is easy to use, simple to clean and small to store or take with you to a restaurant.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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