Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, marking the official start of the holiday season. That means family gatherings, dinner parties and get-togethers are sure to be filling up your calendar ... and your wine glass.
This year, the entrepreneurial duo behind one unique wine bottle stopper is encouraging safer sips this holiday season.
Mitch Strahan and Laura Bartlett, a mother-and-son team from Texas, are the designers of the Wine Condom, a wine bottle stopper designed to work just like the personal health care item. Each Wine Condom is made from food-grade latex and comes in a gold foil wrapper. The tuxedo black Wine Condoms roll over the stem of the wine bottle, sealing it completely and protecting against spills.
One of the more functional benefits of the Wine Condom design is that it fits flush with the rim of the wine bottle. Traditional corks and wine stoppers add between 0.5 and 1.5 inches to the wine bottle height, making it difficult to store the open bottle in the fridge.
The wine condom was developed after Bartlett returned from a friend's house with a half-filled bottle of wine. Her friend had lost the cork and instead wrapped the bottle top with cling wrap and rubber bands. When Strahan saw the contraption he told his mother, "it looks like a condom."
It was a joke that quickly became a million dollar idea.
A crowd funding campaign launched the Wine Condom brand and social media helped to give the product the exposure it needed to generate growing sales. Since then, the product has been featured in a number of print and online publications and led to some of the more uncomfortable moments on local and national television shows, including "Today" with Kathie Lee and Hoda.
If the product makes you chuckle, it's supposed to. Bartlett, a stand-up comedian and one of the founding members of the Dallas-based, all-female stand-up comedy troupe called Four Funny Females, said she appreciated the humor of behind the idea from the start.
"Our mission," Bartlett said, "is to make even the most uptight wine snob smile."
Since their launch several years ago, Wine Condoms' global sales have surpassed the $1 million mark. This year, the company expects to sell around $750,000 worth of Wine Condoms.