Holy Grail or Gimmick – The Coravin Wine Access System

The Coravin Wine Access System is simply put either the Holy Grail of wine conservation or just another gimmick. Created by Greg Lambrecht, an inventor of medical devices, the Coravin allows wine to be accessed and served without introducing oxygen into the bottle. Oxygen is both boon to and bane of wine. Oxygen can be essential in the production of wine; yet once a bottle is opened, oxygen can quickly lead to a degradation of the wine inside. In the past, other methods of preserving opened bottles of wine have come up short. With Coravin, the bottle is never opened. Instead a needle-like device is inserted through the cork, next argon, an inert gas, is injected into the bottle to pressurize it and the wine can then be poured through the needle that is subsequently removed. The wine never has contact with oxygen until it leaves the bottle. For those who don’t want to drink an entire bottle at once, the system is ideal – according to the Coravin press release. Or perhaps it isn’t: frankly only time will tell. The recent market release of  the Coravin sparked a roundtable of email conversation among the Wineaux at WineDineWithUs. What follows is an edited record of our back and forth.

Eleni was first to respond to the PR campaign which began with an article in the Boston Globe, an article not located in the Food Section but rather in the Business Section. Her initial email was simply the link to the article with the query had we seen this –  http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/07/28/don-pull-cork-just-pour-wine/h1zOTLmaqStIbTQz9njGwO/story.html?event=event12 .

Rodney responded –  “Had read about it but hadn’t seen the video (part of the Globe article) until now. While quite geeky cool, and you all know how much I like geeky cool, not sure I’m running out to get one of these. I never have a bottle sitting around for more then two nights and with some high end wines, we all know, the second night the wine has gotten better. Anyone buying one?”

Eleni – ” Tempted.  Very tempted.”

Katrin next added her view – ” Love it! The Coravin device is a brilliant idea. My hope is that it will become common in bars and restaurants, allowing them to offer a wider selection of wines by the glass. And its usefulness in wineries goes without saying. That said, I probably won’t be buying one immediately given my wine consumption patterns; I don’t think that I would use it enough to merit the $299 price tag plus argon gas.” (Note – The argon gas is available as a 3-pak for $29.95.)

Eleni concludes the discussion – “(I’m tempted) because I hoard good wine.  I sat on the wine we bought in Oregon, waiting for the right time to open it.  I would love to have “Open That Bottle Night” more often and this could be the route.   I am thinking dessert wines, in particular, as well.  I don’t often have enough interest to open one unless have fellow drinkers. I love the idea of stepping down the spiral staircase into my cellar and rooting to find whatever tempts me that day.  Okay, so no spiral staircase or the like yet.  But you get my point.  How exciting! (Note – Eleni’s plan is to one day have a wine cellar under her kitchen accessible by a spiral stairway.)

As for myself, I neither collect nor cellar wine. My interest is in wines that are ready to drink. This isn’t a gadget for me. However, I do see the value to those with a wine collection if the device reliably performs as touted. Ditto for Katrin’s comment about the value of Coravin to restaurants and bars, though in its present configuration, it might be too cumbersome in those settings. Yard sales tables and the shelves of Goodwill are stocked by kitchen gadgets that just didn’t deliver. Could this be the case with Coravin? Holy Grail or gimmick?

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply