Coravin is an amazing invention for “accessing” and simultaneously preserving wine, developed by Greg Lambrecht, an American nuclear physicist who specialises in high-tech medical devices. With his new invention you can actually pour yourself a glass of wine without having to open the bottle and expose it to oxygen.
As a wine buff, Greg wanted to drink great wines from his 1,500-bottle cellar without committing himself to one bottle. The initial concept began out of necessity, he says.
“My wife became pregnant and stopped drinking. I still wanted to enjoy great glasses of wine, but didn’t want to commit to whole bottles. I tried preservation systems, but found I still wasn’t able to drink what I wanted, when I wanted, without sacrifice. Each time, once the cork was pulled, oxidation started and I was locked into that bottle.”
Made from stainless steel and aluminium, a thin, hollow, Teflon-coated needle pierces the cork (and foil). When you lift the bottle to pour the wine, it travels down the needle and into the glass, without any oxygen getting in. Simultaneously, the device injects argon, which is an inert gas to displace the wine that is taken out.
When the needle is removed, the cork reseals itself and the rest of the wine in the bottle stays in pristine condition. Ingenious! And it’s not a gimmick. Lambrecht tested it for over 10 years using a total of 600 bottles of wine.
Coravin was named “Innovation of the Year” at the annual awards of France’s leading wine publication La Revue du Vin de France (LRVF). Robert Parker called it “a killer device” and transformational, which it is in a way.
Restaurants can now serve rare and expensive wine by the glass without wasting the wine. And wine collectors can drink the wines in their collection, glass by glass, without committing to any single bottle. Coravin can also be used in the authentication of fine and rare wines.
The Coravin retails online at $299, while the argon capsules cost $9.95 each and must be replaced after about 20 glasses of wine have been poured.
News item from the print edition of SI Issue 1, February-March 2014