Issue # Five - Nov 2013

New Device Allows Wine to be Sampled Without Pulling Cork

Wine Business Monthly (WBM) discusses a new device manufactured by Coravin, LLC “that allows users to pour and enjoy the wine from their favorite bottles without pulling the cork.” According to WBM, the device relies on a “thin, hollow needle” which is inserted through the capsule and cork. Argon gas is injected, and the pressure inside the bottle pushes the wine through the needle and into a glass. When the needle is withdrawn, “the cork (natural or technical) reseals itself.” The same bottle can be sampled repeatedly “over weeks, months or longer without wasting any wine.” The price of the Coravin Wine Access System is $299 (argon canisters are purchased separately).

The pros and cons of the Coravin device are debated in Decanter. They quote the inventor, Greg Lambrecht, as claiming: “I drank a bottle of 1961 Château La Mission Haut-Brion with about 14 people over the course of four years.” Stephen Finch of UK merchant Vagabond points out that “avoiding oxidation” is only one issue. As the volume of wine in the bottle decreases, he states, the dissolved gas may lead to ‘deadening’. For this reason, Vagabond removes bottles from their Enomatic system once the fill is low. In short, Finch doubts Coravin’s ability to assure fully reliable preservation.

In a subsequent article, Decanter adds that the system could “enable wines to be sampled and tested prior to an auction.” On the other hand, they quote David Elswood of Christie’s, who is worried that fraudsters could adapt the technology to put wine into a bottle.

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