Here is a device that I believe will have us talking for many years to come. A truly revolutionary invention that will transform how fine wine is opened, enjoyed and sold. Just launched and introduced to the US Market last March (2013) by Greg Lambrecht, a medical device inventor with a passion for wine.
In case you haven't heard, Coravin is a new wine dispensing/preservation system that seems perfectly capable of making a huge impact in the way wine is consumed in this country, at least fine wine. By penetrating the cork in the bottle with a fine needle, Coravin is able to displace as much of the wine as you'd like to try by introducing inert gas in the bottle to take the liquid's place.
Can you imagine being able to enjoy a glass of wine from any bottle in your cellar, without pulling the cork? Over the last few decades wine aficionados have heard every pitch from every angle regarding wine preservation systems. Some of the previous pitches use pumps, others use gas, some go to extremes such as encasing a bottle in a wine coffin, using pebbles and stones to fill the remaining void left in partial bottles of wine, or expensive bottle preservation machines. All in all, any and all of these inventions have only been proven to preserve an open wine for only a limited time, until now, because now the Coravin has arrived. This new technology is very straightforward and seems so simple, yet was only thought of in the last 12 years by its inventor – Greg Lambrecht. The process is easy, and the results are astounding. A small needle is inserted into the cork of any bottle; the bottle is then pressurized with inert gas, allowing the wine to pour freely, and as the needle is removed, the cork reseals itself with the argon gas left in place of any added oxygen, and that is it, as simple as that. It is, honestly, one of the best technologies I have seen emerge out of the wine industry, and to watch the process before my eyes with a bottles that were first tasted using a Coravin, months earlier, has made me a believer.
My own quality test was conducted entirely in-house, using three bottles of the same wine, and one that I have tasted on several occasions before, thus knowing how this wine should properly taste, if served fresh: (Ogier 2011 Heritages Cotes du Rhone). The first 2 bottles were initially tapped, poured and tasted thru the Coravin system, one in October 2013 and the second in December 2013, the last bottle was only opened on the last day of the experiment. Last month, (April 2014), all three samples were presented to me in 3 unmarked glasses, each containing a pour of each of the 3 bottles opened at different stages. Each of the three bottles had different amounts of wine left in the bottle, purposely, yet to my astonishment all three tasted nearly identical, meaning I could not detect a difference between the freshly opened bottle, the one partially empty bottle opened in October and the now nearly empty bottle opened in December! The Coravin device, although initially sounded too good to believe, had really surprised me!
The possibilities for using Coravin are really neat indeed! Being able to offer expensive or rare bottles of wine by the ounce or taste, without fear of the wine spoiling, or imagine not having to open a young bottle of wine to test for maturity; instead just having a glass at a time (Coravin's creator attested to tasting the same bottle over ten years). Or imagine being able to have ten wines up and ready to taste at any time in your home, you choose what strikes your fancy, every day.
Athough Coravin stands strongly behind their product, even stating that mature corks are completely safe to access with a Coravin, I am sure there will be instances where faulty corks will be problematic, but that issue would not be due to the Coravin itself, as imperfect corks will fail, and it should be clear that the Coravin works under the principle that a wine's cork has created a good seal, so you can't hold them accountable for an inferior cork.
In the end, I believe that Coravin is the next evolution in wine preservation, and although the proprietary argon gas capsules are pricey ($30 for 3 capsules, each one capable of 12-14 servings), I felt that the sturdily built unit ($299 for a full system) is a good investment for wine enthusiasts that want a preservation system that is truly a paradigm shift, especially when it comes down to different ways to enjoy a bottle of wine.