Gadgets – everybody likes a good gadget, and the wine world is not immune to the inventive zeal of gadget makers. Now, inventiveness has yielded up the Coravin – truly something you didn’t know you needed until you found out you needed one – far far more than mere wine gadget, this is a real game changer, very different from the array of innovative corkscrews, aerators, devices for pouring, storing and cataloguing wines, all terribly clever but rarely entirely necessary.
Greg Lambrecht worked in the medical device industry. Inspired by the desire to drink more than one type of wine of a night whilst his pregnant wife abstained, he hit upon an idea using his knowledge of medical grade needles. Ten years of development later, the Coravin 1000 was released to an intrigued world.
If you’ve ever gazed upon a particularly special bottle in your wine rack and thought how good it would be to pop a wee glass out of it, but leave the rest for another occasion at any random time hence – well, now you can.
How does it work?
The Coravin is, essentially, a teflon-coated needle that is driven through the cork into the bottle; inert and harmless argon gas is then injected into the bottle and wine is driven out. You can pour as much or as little wine as you like, but all of the wine you pour is replaced with argon. No oxygen or air gets into the bottle. When finished, you withdraw the needle; the cork, being natural and elastic, will reseal absolutely.
“I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this – with the technology and how well it works. I could not believe the results.” Robert Parker
Once you have poured your glass of wine, you’re bottle of wine is still completely sealed and can be returned to its resting place until you want to try it again – that can be the next day, the next week, the next year. The wine inside the bottle remains unaffected by the process, there’s just a bit less of it, that’s all.
It really is this simple.
Who is it for?
Whether you’re a vinophile with a desire for constant variety; or feel the need to check on the evolution of wines in your cellar from time to time; or, perhaps, you have a particularly special bottle that you don’t want to demolish in one sitting. Whatever reason you have to desire access to a bottle without actually opening it, the Coravin is the thing for you.
It extraordinarily simple to use and, despite the medical grade needle, extremely (and quite cleverly) safe. It’s really compact and very stylish. Quite a piece of design.
What a great gift for somebody terribly winey who seems to have got everything already. What a great gift for yourself.
The Coravin costs £269, coming with two argon gas capsules and the standard needle. Spare capsules and needles are also available. Also available are alternative needles either for more fragile older corks or for faster pouring via a wider needle.
If you are on the Lea & Sandeman mailing list you can claim a further 2 Argon capsules FREE OF CHARGE with your purchase of the above.
To see the Coravin in the flesh, call into one of our shops where they’ll be happy to show it off or simply buy on-line here:
One personal experience
Speaking to a fellow wine enthusiast who has already bought a Coravin he explained the joy he gets from it. Nowadays it is not unusual for him to have 4, 5 or 6 bottles ‘on the go’ at any one time. Tasting and drinking wines side-by-side is a great thrill and the ability to simply do a tasting of 5 different vintages of a wine can really be fun and incredibly interesting – this is not something you could do before Coravin – but is so simple now.
As a way of trying a bottle to ‘see where a wine is’ in terms of its evolution, this is brilliant, and will save many a bottle in my cellar from being opened too early. If you have a case of a wine and want to know when to drink it, you can try one bottle several times over a considerable period – this takes the guesswork out while preserving the bulk of your stock.
As argon-filled space in the bottle gets bigger, you have to use more gas to get out the same amount of wine. Going much more than two-thirds of the way down a bottle before pulling the cork and finishing it off is probably not very cost-effective. So have the odd glass during the week, and when you next have a dinner-party, pull the corks and finish off the remainder.
The needle can go straight through the capsule as well as the cork, but it might be an idea to take the top off the capsule anyway so you can keep track of which bottles in your wine rack you’ve had a go at. Do not attempt to use the Coravin on bottles with screw-caps or glass stoppers!