World, say hello to the next hot thing in wine gadgetry, the Coravin wine access system. After years of testing and impressive demonstrations for wineries, collectors, restaurants and critics alike, the Coravin is poised to revolutionize the world of wine, a statement not made lightly. While gadgets and novelty wine tools abound, so to, for the most part, does their uselessness. Other than the logically simple Durand – a combo ah-so/corkscrew opener that has revolutionized my personal consumption of aged bottles – the Coravin system seems to be the only other new wine related product that has legs. Conceived with the perfect balance of technological/engineering saavy and wine appropriate knowledge, the system was created by Greg Lambrecht a nuclear physicist developer of high-tech medical devices and wine collector.
“Made from stainless steel and aluminum, the device does not open the bottle. Instead, a thin, hollow, Teflon-coated needle pierces the cork (and foil). When the thirsty drinker lifts the bottle, the wine travels down the needle and out to a waiting glass, but no oxygen gets in. At the same time, the device injects argon into the bottle – an inert gas that displaces the wine that is taken out. When the needle is removed, the cork reseals itself, allowing the remaining wine to stay in pristine condition.”
The implications for the Coravin as related to collectable wine are, as I mentioned, revolutionary. Never having to open a bottle means that by-the-glass menus at exclusive restaurants can expand into the world of fine wine, auction houses can sample and guarantee the authenticity of rare bottles and collectors everywhere can check in on their prized possessions, all without having to take that final destructive step past the point-of-no-return. The icing on the cake? Much to the chagrin of counterfeiters this device cannot be reversed and used to put wine back into an empty bottle.
(currently available for $299 plus an additional $9.95 for replacement argon capsules)