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Nov 25, 2009 08:22 PM

Wine Hounds: does this exist? A wine thief that works with bottled wines...

Does such a device exist?

Wine thiefs are commonly used to take barrel samples of aging wines via a wine barrel's bung in order to assess it's development over time. What I'm picturing is a device for a similar purpose but for already bottled wines that might be in one's own wine collection. As the Holidays approach it makes me want to sample some of the "bigger wines" that I've laid down, wondering if this is the year to finally open them (or if I've waited too long!).

I'm picturing a wine thief that can extract a small tasting sample from an aging bottle of wine in a way that does not harm the remaining wine by exposing it to fresh air. What I'm imagining is something akin to a syringe that's thin enough to allow the cork to reseal behind it.

If we can inject air into a bottle to remove its cork, than we must already be halfway there. Any leads on such a device?

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  1. Simple physics would not allow you to do it. You're trying to extract liquid from a pressure-sealed environment. The syringe would not draw without outside air being introduced.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      I think it would just be harder to draw, not impossible. Physics should allow.

      10cc syringe, long thin and strong needle, hold bottle upside down, poke through cork - i could see it working. If there's a problem, it would be in finding a needle that will work.

      1. re: ferret

        If anything I'd bet that the ullage in a bottle is just filled with air, not a vacuum.

        In any case I don't mind introducing small amounts of air into the bottle in exchange for an equivalently small sample of wine. Otherwise if I were really concerned I'd pursue a standard re-corking solution with inert gas instead. I just didn't want to deal with the hassle of doing that.

        Any ideas or solutions out there?