Head to any restaurant that’s rather proud of its wine list and chances are you’ll spot a quirky looking gadget by the side of the bar. This is Coravin: a needle-based wine preservation system that allows you to pour a glass of wine without pulling the cork. Pretty nifty, no? Coravin has revolutionised the way we taste wine in bars and restaurants as establishments can now offer a tasting sample of something really rather expensive and special without worrying about wasting the rest of the bottle. For consumers, this works well; it may allow them to taste a Screaming Eagle Cabernet without having to splash several thousand pounds on a full bottle. That tasting sample may still be £100 for 25ml, but at least it’s a little more attainable…
How does Coravin work?
The Coravin was invented by Greg Lambrecht: a surgeon from the US with a true passion for wine. Like most wine lovers, Greg found tasting many different bottles a pure joy, but hated having to wait for dinner parties full of people to pop the corks and not waste the bottles. One day, he brought his experience with spinal tap and chemotherapy needles to the table. He developed a device that allowed a thin needle to pierce a cork and displace the wine with inert argon gas while it was being poured. The addition of argon gas meant that the wine left in the bottle would not oxidise, but the genius bit was working out that the cork would reseal itself immediately (or after a few seconds if very cold).
When to use Coravin at home
“A Coravin is a wine bar in your house. You are only limited by the amount of different bottles you have. Why not have a great wine on a wednesday!” - Greg Lambrecht
The first cry from wine drinkers when presented with this funky little gadget tends to be ‘but we drink the whole bottle!’ I confess, this was me until I realised that we could taste six (or more) different wines in one night. It’s also the perfect way to check whether a wine you have been laying down is ready to drink. Just pour yourself a sip and put it back if its not ready. The latest version, model 11, also comes with a little shower attachment to aerate your wine.
“Faster, easier more fun than opening a bottle…”
Coravin model 1 is the original, analogue version that comes in white. You can upgrade your colour and feel with the model 2 elite, choosing from rose gold, steel blue or even, bright red amongst others. If you really want to go to town, then the model 11 is for you. Fully automated and rechargeable, you can hook it up to bluetooth. It has an LED display that lets you know when to charge it or replace the capsule. You can also sync it up to the Coravin Moments app (iphone only currently), to match wine to music, food or anything else.
What about Screw Caps?
Believe it or not, there is now a screw cap attachment for the Coravin. It looks like quite like a regular screw cap, but with a silicon seal that reseals itself after the needle has pierced it. You do need to quickly replace the first screw cap with this, so a small amount of oxygen gets into the bottle then, but the wine can still last for several weeks if kept cool and on its side. Each Coravin screw cap can be reused up to 100 times.
Our verdict? It’s a wondrous thing and a great conversation piece at a dinner party. No wine lover should be without one.
See more at coravin.com
Buy Coravin Elite 2 here on Amazon. RRP £257.66
Buy Coravin Model 11 here from Wanderlust wine. RRP £845
By Helena Nicklin