No Corkscrew Needed

One interesting thing about the holidays, you see lots of commercials for neat little gadgets. Many are relatable, even if you don’t feel the need to rush right over to the computer and order it from Amazon, some are truly headscratching, a few just make you smile (Chia Golden Girls anyone?) and a small few make you go “Huh, how cool is that?”

This year’s moment of intrigue came from an ad for Coravin. According to the commercial, this miraculous device will allow you to pour wine from a bottle without removing the cork. Just you and your wine glass and a desire for a small sip but you hate the idea of opening an entire bottle? No handy cans of House Wine? Never fear, you can use the Coravin to pour a glass without pulling the cork from the bottle.

Well, this definitely had our attention. Every wine drinker has dealt with this dilemma. The problem, of course, is that as soon as you pull the cork, the air begins to interact with the wine, altering its taste. You can make it through a meal without any real problems, but after a couple of days, that perfect red begins to taste more like a nice bottle of vinegar. The Coravin solves the problem by using a small needle to pierce the cork. An attached canister of argon replaces the air/oxygen that might be in the bottle with argon to prevent any reaction. Tip the bottle and the wine pours out. When you’re done, pull the needle out. The cork will seal itself and the argon in the bottle remains behind to help protect the wine.

A little research was clearly in order. Turns out, Coravin was created by a nuclear engineer whose first job is designing complex medical devices. The designer, Greg Lambrecht, spent over a decade perfecting his design, and made initial sales in 2013. Many of the original buyers were restaurants, wine bars and the like. To be able to offer a really nice wine by the glass without worrying about the rest of the bottle going bad had a huge appeal for those in the industry. Not to say that you couldn’t buy it for home use, but it was a bit pricy for most consumers.

As with most technology, a few years later and a need to expand the market has brought the price down. Coravin now offers a lower-priced basic model as well as a fully automatic, blue-tooth enabled super-pricey version. And best of all, a fellow oenophile who has been known to drop by with a bottle or two, received one as a Christmas gift this year. It was time to test the Coravin for ourselves.

Deliberately leaving wine in a bottle is a hard thing to do, but in the name of scientific experimentation, we did it. And we can happily report that the Coravin worked as advertised. We had two bottles that we used, removing a glass or two from each using the Coravin. Two days later, we opened both to finish the bottles. The wine still tasted as fresh and lively as the first glass we poured.

True, we didn’t have a control sample and we didn’t put the Coravin to an extreme test. Coravin itself claims that their system will allow you to keep an “accessed” bottle for years without experiencing any change to the wine. The humans have been hatching plans to put this to the test, but no bottle has yet been set aside for more than a few days. Should that change, we’ll be sure to post an update.

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