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Coravin: any wine, any amount, any time

Coravin: any wine, any amount, any time

by Great British Chefs 28 October 2019

Coravin’s revolutionary technology is dragging wine out of the past and into a glorious new future. Take a look at how this revolutionary technology allows you to taste the contents of a bottle without removing the cork, ensuring it doesn’t spoil for years to come.

How often do you open a bottle of wine with good intentions, then abandon it half-drunk in the fridge door? If you tend to dine alone or with your partner and enjoy a glass of wine with a meal, chances are this is a common occurrence (especially during the week). We’ve come to accept it as part and parcel of enjoying wine; if you can’t finish the bottle that evening, it becomes ‘cooking wine’, or worse – it goes down the plug hole.

From the moment you uncork a bottle of wine, it starts to react with oxygen in the air. This isn’t immediately a bad thing – letting a wine ‘breathe’ is important when you first open the bottle as the oxygen helps to open up the aromas of the wine. Oxygen helps to soften the tannins in wine too; open a young red and drink it straight away and it’ll be stiff and rather austere – allow it to breathe a little and it mellows, becoming easier on the senses.

However, beyond that initial ‘opening up’ stage, oxygen contact is bad news for your vino. It reacts with phenols and anthocyanins in the wine, degrading the flavour and aroma properties as well as the colour (hence why oxidised wines start to brown over time). It’s the exact same reaction that happens when you cut open an apple – oxygen reacts with polyphenols in the flesh of the apple and it begins to lose colour and flavour. That simple chemical reaction has coloured our wine drinking habits for centuries, forcing us to drink by the bottle rather than by the glass. We share bottles of wine, regardless of individual preferences, and we buy cheaper wines to lessen the cost of potential wastage. But what if you could drink wine from a bottle without removing the cork? Coravin allows you to do just that, allowing you to enjoy a glass of your favourite wine whilst preserving the rest of the bottle for years to come.

Coravin allows you to pour yourself a glass of wine without removing the cork from the bottle, preserving the wine for years to come
Alongside home users, restaurants have been quick to adopt Coravin, as it allows them to serve fine wines by the glass as well as by the bottle

With a background in nuclear and mechanical engineering and medical innovation, Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht isn’t immediately obvious as the founder of a company that would revolutionise the wine industry. After finishing his masters at Massachusetts Institute of Technology he invented a number of medical devices, including a chemotherapy implant that required the use of a small subdermal needle, designed specifically to enter the skin whilst causing minimal damage to the tissue. That needle would eventually become the inspiration behind the Coravin system; Greg had always been passionate about wine, but he was frustrated at the idea that he had to open a bottle just to enjoy a single glass. He repurposed his innovative needle design to penetrate a cork instead, allowing for the transfer of wine from bottle to glass, through the cork itself. It took a full ten years of research, development and testing before Greg was ready to unveil the very first Coravin product, but when the Coravin 1000 System arrived in the US in 2013, it had an incredible impact on how wine was served in bars and restaurants. Now it’s starting to appear in the homes of wine lovers too.

How it works

The Coravin system isn’t just about the needle – it also utilises argon, an inert gas, to ensure the wine never degrades. Before you pour, a small trigger on the device allows you to pressurise the bottle, replacing the oxygen inside with argon – an inert gas that doesn’t react with the wine. The pressure from the argon then pushes wine through the needle and out into your glass. Once you’re done pouring, remove the needle and the cork will spring back into place, resealing the bottle with the argon inside.

It’s an ingenious system, and one that has been wholeheartedly embraced by the wine industry. The ability to drink from a bottle without having to finish it is a genuine game changer. Wine producers all over the world – including famous French chateaux like Château Haut Bailly, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Château de Pommard, Château de Meursault and many more – adopted Coravin as a way to display their wines to potential customers without the problem of wastage. Hundreds of Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe have adopted Coravin as a way to open up their extensive wine cellars and serve fine wines by the glass, not just by the bottle. And for keen wine drinkers at home, they can enjoy any wine they want, in any amount, at any time.

The Coravin Model Eleven takes the company's incredible technology to amazing new heights, automating the entire procedure
It even connects to a standalone app called Coravin Moments, which allows you to customise your experience and track all the wines you've enjoyed

Even now, Coravin continues to test its wines with connoisseurs and tasters, proving that the system preserves wines many years after they have first been opened. Greg still has wines in his cellar that were opened by prototype Coravin Systems as early as 2003 that taste as fresh as they did over fifteen years ago. When Greg tested Coravin with the great Robert Parker – widely regarded as the most trusted authority in the industry – he called Coravin ‘a transformational device for the preservation of wine’.

Today’s products have evolved somewhat since 2013; the Coravin Model One and Model Two that you can buy today are tweaked versions of the original Coravin 1000 System, with the same key functionality at their core. There's also the Model Two Elite – an upgraded version of the Model Two that comes in eight different unique colours, with chrome accents and a metal clamp. In September 2018, Coravin introduced the Model Eleven, which takes the groundbreaking technology to a whole new level. Attach the Model Eleven to your bottle of wine, push down on the metal part of the device and it will automatically penetrate the cork and manage the transfer of gas when you tilt the bottle. You can select on the device itself or on the app whether you want a glass or a tasting pour, leaving you with the easy task of pouring yourself a glass. The entire process is automated and controlled via the dedicated Coravin Moments App, which connects to your phone via Bluetooth and allows you to manage every detail of your wine experience, from monitoring your argon gas usage to cataloguing all the wines you’ve enjoyed.

The wine industry has always been flush with gadgets, from vacuum bottle sealers to fancy aerators, but Coravin is one of those rare moments where a genuine flash of ingenuity comes along and changes everything. We are no longer bound by the restrictions of glass and cork – with Coravin, you can enjoy any wine you want, in any amount, at any time.

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Coravin: any wine, any amount, any time


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