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New technology launched to 'taste wine without pulling the cork'

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  1. If it really works there are some very interesting possibilities.

    1. I should state my bias that, although I love gadgets and electronics, I have a preference for simplicity, efficiency, and saving money.

      $400 is what the Coravin costs in the first year alone. Part of the total (high) cost of the Coravin are the mini-canisters of argon you need to keep buying in order to use the device (the Gillette pricing strategy).

      For $275 less money, you could buy a baby cylinder of argon gas, keep it in your pantry and be set for almost 20 years. Plus, you can uncork the wine, and preserve not only one open bottle (as with the Coravin) but many. Just keep the baby argon cylinder in a cabinet or pantry always ready for use. It's about 14" tall. Easy.

      What is also doubtful about the Coravin's function is if the blast of argon from the mini-capsules shoots enough argon into the bottle to stop oxidation. The amount needed is about twice as much as was previously thought. BTW, the lab studies also said argon works far better than nitrogen or other inert gases to preserve wine or other foodstuffs.

      So, just buy the baby cylinder of argon, the regulator and the tubing. Once you make the investment, you're set for quite a stretch.

      12 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        I agree with marialorraine that this is a very expensive solution. I think the idea is terrific but I can't see any but the most well-heeled oenophiles shelling out that kind if money.

        And...... the unit uses a very small gas cylinder which makes it an unlikely solution for commercial users.

        I really can't get too deeply into this because I sell a product whose use is the same. A slightly different approach, but similar in purpose. I can't begin to count the number of potential users who respond with a simple: "what do you mean....... leftover wine??????". ;o]]]]]]]

        1. re: Midlife

          Midlife,

          I hate to break into this interesting discussion, but have a question for you - but your e-mail profile is not working for me, even with a change to @ and . I am not getting through.

          Back in 2007, you posted a thread on trash compactors, back in 2007. I had a few questions about such, and because of the date of that old post, worry that you might never see it.

          At your convenience, drop me an e-mail, or comment in that CH thread.

          Thanks, and now back to the Regularly Scheduled Program.

          Hunt

        2. re: maria lorraine

          "I drank a bottle of 1961 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion with about 14 people over the course of four years', he added. " I admit I'm just not the market for this--I buy all my wine to drink to finish, but in my opinion what this gimmick affords is not a life of worldly pleasure, lived among humans in real time, but one of obsessive and slightly creepy score-keeping. I'll start counting the bottles I can buy, open, and share over a good meal with friends for the price of one Coravin. Sorry.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            The most interesting possibility that I see is testing for TCA on a new case purchase that is intended for long term cellaring. If a bottle showed TCA it could be opened and returned to the merchant for another bottle or credit. That way you wouldn't faced with a wipeout ten or twenty years later when there would be no recourse. Just sayin'. If it's DRC or Lafite you're buying the cost becomes insignificant.

            1. re: jock

              Can the presence or absence of TCA always be determined early on in a long cellaring period?

              1. re: Veggo

                I believe so. AFAIK the contamination is almost immediate but I'll defer to ML if she says otherwise.

                1. re: jock

                  Yes. Immediately apparent, but gets worse over time.

                  1. re: jock

                    My personal, non-scientific observations indicate that if there is TCA contamination, it shows instantly.

                    Like ML, I have seen it increase over time, and also exposure to heat. However, that affects the perceived levels, but not the original contamination.

                    Just observations,

                    Hunt

                2. re: jock

                  A ha! Now I see an application for this. To sell high-end wines -- to be able to offer a taste without opening a bottle. It's not for home use.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Yes, but then is the price adjusted? After all, you would be buying 740ml (or 730, 720, 710, or 700ml) rather than the full 750! ;^)

                    1. re: zin1953

                      I was thinking the Coravin would be attached to the sample bottle.

              2. Love this new technology. Soon we'll be able to make babies without....oh, nevermind.
                What ? You say we already do?.....

                6 Replies
                1. re: Veggo

                  Soon, we will have equipment that drinks our wine, and then does a printout of how good it was...

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Oh, lord, I've had that same nightmare . . . .

                    Leo McCloskey started it when he claimed that if he could use a GCMS to analyze a 1945 Château Latour, and then replicate a wine with the same GCMS printout, it would taste (he claimed) exactly like the '45 Latour . . . .

                    1. re: zin1953

                      There was also a Japanese lab, IIRC, that claimed about the same thing. The statement was that all properties of revered bottles of great wines (the ones about which leather-bound books are written) could be sampled, and then recreated in the lab, and no one could tell the difference. I have not seen a followup on that, but could be out there?

                      Hunt

                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      Isn't that what Parker is for?

                      1. re: jock

                        Jock,

                        You just HAVE to throw a few stones, don't you? [Grin]

                        Hunt

                  2. I received mine today. I have to say I'm surprised at the negativity - I understand that most of the time a bottle is not that much to drink, especially if it's over the course of two days. It's true, I rarely drink less than a half bottle in one sitting. But I also buy a lot of half bottles for when I'm alone, and my drinking fun is often limited by half bottle selections. If I want one glass of something and I can't drink the rest the next day because I'm working late, I end up with waste that costs a lot more than the $1 it would cost me to preserve my wine. I guess it depends on how much one spends on wine and the quantities you drink it in. My best friend never drinks less than a bottle even if he's by himself, and he was laughing at me for buying this thing.

                    Mostly I bought this for use in the restaurant I work in. If it works as well as they say it does (they being masters of wine, winemakers, Parker, etc) there should never be any excuse for serving oxidized wine by the glass. Now I can serve anything by the glass, and we can do wine pairings with fragile wines. I can pour old wines for a single customer and not worry about waste. Regular customers can have an extra glass of whatever they want, and drink the rest of the bottle the next time they come in. If it works it is revolutionary. All of the cruvinet systems I have used have not worked as well as one would hope. They cost thousands, keep a bottle for a week, maybe two, but IMHO an expert can sense oxidation after a few days, definitely after a week. To me the biggest problem is that the nose of fragile white wine diminishes noticeably after a few days. I have seen many experts testify that the Coravin can preserve a partially drank bottle of wine for years. Time will tell, but if the Coravin works, I think most wine drinkers deserve to see by-the-glass programs improve significantly at the high end, especially in small restaurants. Once the system is purchased, the argon per glass costs a restaurant about $0.65. If you order a $18 glass of wine and tastes like it was just opened every time you order it, to me that's not a bad investment. I always worry about when something was opened when ordering something that's $20 a glass or more.

                    Of course if this thing breaks in the next year I will be extremely irritated! Construction seems very good though.

                    25 Replies
                    1. re: la2tokyo

                      The negativity, at least from me, has to do with the high cost, when other far cheaper -- and *more effective* -- ways of preserving wine with argon exist.

                      In short, you're wasting money, and not preserving the wine as well as you think you are.

                      In addition, your understanding of the device seems faulty to me. There is no way the Coravin "can preserve a partially drank bottle of wine for years."

                      Or that, with the Coravin, "I can pour old wines for a single customer and not worry about waste. Regular customers can have an extra glass of whatever they want, and drink the rest of the bottle the next time they come in."

                      Argon *is* the best gas to preserve wine, but it works for a short time, not weeks, certainly not years. Any claims that a bottle will be preserved for years is hogwash.

                      Fragile wines are evanescent; they exist for a brief moment in time, then they are gone. Coravin will not help you with these.

                      You'll need a Coravin for each bottle you open. And the usage costs you've written are about half the actual cost, at least $400 per year per Coravin, probably closer to $500 by the time you buy a year's worth of cartridges.

                      Add up the number of Coravins you'll need, multiply that by $500, and you'll get an idea of what you'll need to spend. Ridiculous.

                      As you may have guessed, I have spent considerable time researching argon (and other gases) and wine preservation: flavor, aromatics, color, etc.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        My understanding of the advice is what I have seen in demonstrations and what has been claimed by the manufacturer, along with multiple sources in the wine industry who have claimed that Coravin bottles have been preserved for years without any more degradation than they would have had had they been stored in the same cellar unsampled. I don't want to criticize anyone else for what they claim to know about how well it works, but Maria is telling me that I need one for every bottle I own, which shows that she doesn't even know how it works. I can't say if it works or not because I just started using it. I hate to use Parkers name, because I don't care about his scores, but he went out of his way to post a 30 minute video about his amazement with this product on the Wine Advocate website, in which he testifies that delicate bottles which had been tapped multiple times over five years tasted the same to him as bottles that were just opened. Those are his words, not mine. He also said explicity that he has no financial claim in the company. Just because he likes high alcohol wine doesn't mean that he has a motive to lie to promote someone else's product. As I said before, there are masters of wine and winemakers who have agreed with him. But I guess I should just shut my mouth because someone who has "spent considerable time researching argon" seems to know more than I do about a product that I have in my hands, even though she doesn't know how it functions? This is not the same as opening a bottle, pouring a glass, filling with Argon, and then recorking. Ambient air never reaches the wine.

                        1. re: la2tokyo

                          The device has only been around three years even in prototype-mode, so this comment is certainly inflated: "Delicate bottles which had been tapped multiple times over five years tasted the same to him as bottles that were just opened."

                          To address your comments, first, the amount of argon injected into the bottle by the Coravin is not enough to fill the ullage in the bottle, or preserve the wine.

                          Second, that argon, contrary to popular myth and what some Coravin people are saying, does not form a laminar, blanketing layer against the level of wine, protecting it from oxidation.

                          The argon mixes with whatever gases are already in the bottle -- usually nitrogen, which is injected during bottling. But it's not uncommon for there to be other gases in the ullage also, if they're allowed to enter during bottling or though errors in storage.

                          Third, even though nitrogen is inert, it's one of the least effective inert gases in retarding oxidation, and that is what the argon is mixing with.

                          So oxidation will still occur.

                          Fourth, Coravin makes this preposterous claim that the bored hole in the cork will "reseal" itself. No cork, especially synthetic cork, has that capability.

                          Fifth, wine leaks out the hole in the cork, which means oxygen can get in and the argon/nitrogen can get out. So again, oxidation will surely occur, though at a slower rate than opening the bottle regularly.

                          Sixth, even if the Coravin were permanently attached to a bottle -- to forestall oxidation as long as possible (what I was referring to if desiring to keep a wine for years) -- the wine would still decay. From too little argon injected at the beginning, from the lack of oxidation protection from the nitrogen already in the bottle, from the decay from any other gases in the ullage in addition to nitrogen, from the lack of additional argon to fill the larger ullage as wine is drunk, and because all wine decays over time.

                          So, when you combine the ineffective technology, the dubious claims, the extraordinary high cost, that the device only works on corks (not screwcaps), and that wines must be stored upright after Coravin-ing, the product isn't a good idea.

                          Bear in mind, the Coravin is simply a nebbish-looking cylinder of argon gas in slick packaging. Just like a cylinder of argon, the Coravin has a chamber of compressed gas, a regulator, and instead of a hose, a needle. That's it.

                          But the price per volume is astronomically high, thousands of times more expensive that the actual cylinder of argon.

                          The small canisters of industrial argon gas work fine in a restaurant or at home. They're about 16" tall, and you'll need to purchase a regulator and a hose. But then you're good for years and years and years for $200.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            The ullage in the bottle would be there regardless of the Argon. This does nothing increase or decrease the ullage. The cork reseals itself. The bottle can be laid back down immediately. The prototype has been tested for ten years.

                            1. re: la2tokyo

                              Just adding my 2¢..............

                              What marialorraine is saying is that there is a specific amount of Argon being injected into the bottle by the Coravin. Unless that amount is equal to the volume of the wine poured, the only other thing that could fill the ullage is the original gas (Nitrogen, Argon, whatever) plus whatever air has crept in through the cork and/or will creep in after 'Coravining'. The ullage has to be kept as least as neutral as it was before opening for the claim to be valid.

                              If the Coravin injects a volume of Argon equal to the volume of wine being poured, then the concern I'd have is with the amount of seal......... I mean does the hole the Coravin leaves allow air to get in and Argon to leak out? marialorraine says it does, you say the cork seals itself. Only one of you can be correct.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                Turn a Coravin-ed bottle upside down. You'll have your answer.

                              2. re: la2tokyo

                                In the movie (and play), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," there's a line uttered by Big Daddy that always comes to mind when I hear dubious product claims by manufacturers: "I smell some mendacity!"

                                When I hear, "Delicate bottles which had been tapped multiple times over five years tasted the same to him as bottles that were just opened," and "the cork reseals itself" and "argon forms a blanketing layer," I smell mendacity too.

                                I'm all for la2toyko having fun with the Coravin. I like gadgets too. It's just that the hype, the claims that defy science, are, um, malodorously mendacious.

                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                  Ah, but ML, maybe if you were to hang some of those "magic magnets" on the bottle... ?

                                  Hunt

                              3. re: maria lorraine

                                "Just like a cylinder of argon, the Coravin has a chamber of compressed gas, a regulator, and instead of a hose, a needle. That's it."

                                There's also a valve that switches between gas going in and liquid coming out:

                                http://www.google.com/patents/US20120...

                                That would be tricky to kludge at home.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Here's what I'd do instead of buying a Coravin or can after can of Private Preserve. (Sorry, these are US prices.)

                                  Go to Airgas or another gas company, buy a small 20-size cylinder ($84), have it filled it with argon ($18), purchase a regulator ($75), get the hose with the proper fittings ($14), and have them attach a snazzy black "blow gun" handle ($14) to stick into the wine bottle. $205, before tax, and you're set for **years**.

                                  *I like this verb "kludge." Never heard it before. No need for a switching valve with a cylinder.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    "Coravin'd" bottles do not leak wine when turned upside down. Even a cork with a corkscrew passed through the bottom of it will not leak wine if it's re-inserted in a bottle, so that doesn't really seem like it means anything. The question for me is whether or not wine blanketed in pure argon will oxidize faster than one oxidized with argon and a percentage of ambient air leaked in, and how much faster both of those oxidized compared to a regular bottle of wine. Maybe I'm an idiot, but for $300 I'm willing to find out. Sadly I have to admit that compared to my drinking $300 is a drop in bucket at this point. If it preserves a bottle for a couple months I'll be happy. If not I will feel like I got ripped off.

                                    On the other hand, even if I had all the stuff listed above, how would I get the wine out of the bottle without exposing it to ambient air? That's the problem with all argon systems that I know about and the problem that the Coravin seems to negate. If I open a bottle of wine, tilt it to pour the wine out of, air will flow in and begin oxidizing the wine. Even if I try to blow it out the residual air with pressurized argon, some fraction of the air that went in will remain, and get absorbed into the wine. That is different from the Coravin, which pressurizes the wine bottle with argon and forces the wine out through a needle in the cork without allowing ANY ambient air in. I could buy all the stuff listed above, buy a needle to pressurize the bottle with Argon, then put another needle in the cork (while it's tilted upside down), let the wine pour out of that needle, and then pull both needles out of the bottle, thus resealing it. That would accomplish the same thing as the Coravin (with essentially free argon), but that's not the same as blanketing the wine after you pour out a glass. If the wine tastes the same as a bottle of wine opened and then blanketed with argon, then the product is worthless because the argon is too expensive.

                                    1. re: la2tokyo

                                      <<The question for me is whether or not wine blanketed in pure argon will oxidize faster than one oxidized with argon and a percentage of ambient air leaked in,>>

                                      This has been discussed extensively elsewhere, but there have been many studies done by food packagers in regards to organoleptic deterioration under different inert gases, compared to ambient air. I have them in my files, but if memory serves, some are found on Google Scholar with search terms: packaging "inert gas" organoleptic.

                                      <<If it preserves a bottle for a couple months I'll be happy. >>
                                      The Coravin can't help you with that, I fear.

                                      Adding pressurized argon to a bottle using the gas cylinder or argon spray bottle works extremely well. It forces the ambient air out, but how it really works is to reduce the amount of O2 inside the bottle to such a low level that oxidation is dramatically slowed.

                                      BTW, argon does not "blanket" or create a layer. It mixes with other gases.

                                      Leakage: Take the foil off and prop a Coravin'd bottle upside down over a bowl overnight. Try a corkscrewed bottle too.

                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        <<Adding pressurized argon to a bottle works fine. It forces the ambient air out, but how it really works is to reduce the amount of O2 inside the bottle to such a low level that oxidation is dramatically slowed.

                                        BTW, argon does not "blanket." It mixes with other gases.>>

                                        This is where I lose you. The Coravin directs pure argon through an airtight needle into the bottle. There is no other gas to mix with besides the ullage that already exists in the bottle. There is zero O2 or ambient air added to the bottle because it's never opened. The only O2 in the bottle is the O2 that's already in there due to ullage. Unlike shooting argon in with a hose after you pour a glass out of the bottle, there's no mixing. With another system that just sprays argon into the bottle, if only 5% of the remaining gas is ambient air and the rest is argon, that's still a significant amount of air and a big problem. 5% of a glass of wine is almost 10 CCs, which essentially triples the ullage.

                                        1. re: la2tokyo

                                          maria will answer for herself, but I have to tell you that she is not the only person who's told me that the Argon 'mixes' with WHATEVER other gases are in the space into which it is injected. This info came from scientists at both UC Davis and Air Liquide (on of the 3 largest gas suppliers in the industry).

                                          So.............. I'm assuming that the big advantage of Coravin must be that it injects an amount of Argon EQUAL to the volume of wine it then pours out (I presume that is what "pressurized" refers to on their site). I don't know enough about gas science, though, to be sure that the pressurization (given your point that the only other gas in the bottle is the original ullage content) doesn't force some Argon into the wine. Wish I'd paid more attention in class.

                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            Ok. I'm not trying to get in the last word. This is the last thing I'll say. With a Coravin, the only thing introduced into the bottle is argon. The only thing it mixes with is the ullage. There is no O2 inadvertently added to the bottle. There is no ambient air that gets in the bottle. There is no leakage. That is a big difference between using pressure to force out O2 that you have inadvertently let in doing it another way, which any other system does when the cork is removed. Once you let air into the bottle, as Maria says, all you can do is force something else into the bottle to lower the concentration of O2 in the bottle before you seal it, but you can't get rid of all of it. In that case the amount of O2 is increased regardless of how good of a job you try and do to force out the air with argon, and that residual O2 will spoil the wine.

                                            If you look at the two methods of preservation side by side, coravin and ordinary pressurized argon system, the difference is pretty clear. One is a closed system and the other isn't. I have a degree in biochemistry. I spent the first half of my life calculating the levels of contamination that residual gas and liquid made in lab results. (That part of my life sucked by the way.) I can't tell you how a wine will age when it's in contact with pure argon, but I can tell you that the amount of O2 a Coravin introduces into a bottle of wine is minuscule compared to methods that remove the cork before introducing argon into the system. It's obvious as soon as you see it used.

                                            1. re: la2tokyo

                                              You seem very emotionally invested in all the great qualities your new toy the Coravin claims to have. Great!! Use it! Enjoy it!!

                                              You don't need to explain argon or inert gases to me, or O2, or oxygen ingress, or closed systems, gas miscibility, or wine preservation devices. I've seen the Coravin used (and laughed at) by others in the wine biz. I work in wine analysis and chemistry and have sent other wine preservation systems to the lab for testing against manufacturer claims, along with the wines the devices were used on to gauge preservation efficacy across a range of organoleptic factors and oxidative markers. I've uncovered lie after lie by preservation system manufacturers about the actual type of gas used, the actual blend of gases, and the actual amount of gas released per "squirt." I didn't just fall off the turnip truck.

                                              You still have serious misunderstandings in your text, about residual O2, how much or how little O2 will cause oxidation, ullage gases, the amount of inert gas needed to retard oxidation, and the deterioration of flavor and aromatics using even the best inert gas preservation system -- among other things. And yet you're saying I don't know. Please don't ask me any more questions or ask me to comment.

                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                Staying out of the more sophisticated part if this, which is way above my pay grade.

                                                I DID, however, post to another board asking people who are trying out their new Coravins about leakage. So far 3 or 4 people have inverted a dozen or so bottles and said they've detected no leakage. Not a test with a lot of formal parameters but it is what iit is. That's only a part of this debate, but I thought it only fair to report that observation.

                                          2. re: la2tokyo

                                            la2toyko and midlife,
                                            Yes, the Coravin injects additional argon into the bottle after a pour.

                                            "Adding pressurized argon to a bottle works fine" using the gas cylinder or spray bottle -- see the edit.

                                            My suspicion (based on tests of other devices with a lab) is that the volume (in cc) of argon injected is probably less than claimed, less than what is needed to fill the ullage, and probably inadequate to stave off oxidation. It'd be great to test to the total volume of argon released from one capsule. I also have questions on the grade and purity of the argon in the capsules.

                                            And many more questions about the deterioration of the fruit and aromatics of the wine with even the best inert gas preservation: The wine is changed. It is not the same wine as one newly opened.

                                            However, I cannot spend any more time unpacking what else you've or anyone else has written and correcting the misunderstandings in your text. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be disrespectful or duck your comments. I hope you enjoy your device.

                                      2. re: maria lorraine

                                        kludge has been around a long time. Just out of curiosity, and possible interest, where did you get a regulator for a lecture bottle?

                                        1. re: wally

                                          The gas company provided everything, and assembled the whole deal. It was easy. I called and asked for an estimate, and was emailed prices for two different-sized cylinders -- the 20 and the 40, and I went with the 20. About 14 inches tall. You just use the handy trigger -- a good long spray -- and you're set.

                                          The 20-size is good for preserving anywhere from 700 to 1400
                                          750 ml bottles (depending on how much wine is left in the bottle).
                                          Average: 1000 bottles.

                                          Pure argon (no other gas).
                                          Cost again: $205 (before tax).
                                          Cost per bottle: 15 cents to 20 cents
                                          Cost per bottle with refill of gas: 1 to 2 cents

                                          Coravin Cost per bottle: $2.80
                                          Coravin Cost for 1000 bottles: $2800.

                                          It's the Coravin capsules that kill ya.
                                          Again, it's the famous business-school maxim called the Gillette pricing strategy: It's not the cost of the razor, but the blades that generate profit.

                                          Cost is based on price of device ($300) plus price for Coravin capsule ($9.50). That's the best price (I checked with owners). Each capsule is good for 15 glasses, about 3 bottles. ($2.50 per bottle about is being generous for comparison's sake.)

                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                            Sheesh, maria! No fair giving away all the secrets. :o[

                                            A 40 lasted me 6 months in our WINE BAR!!!! My unit uses 12s (1.3cu.ft.), which last (as you know) 700 uses or so.

                              4. re: la2tokyo

                                There's also some negativity being talked about among the industry. With technology like this, it's one step closer to being able to refill bottles that have never been opened. Seems ridiculous now, but when counterfeiting technologies are growing more sophisticated in the wine world, it causes some unrest.

                                1. re: plaidbowtie

                                  Never thought of that. Interesting. The hole in the cork is pretty obvious though.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    It is, for now.. Once technology exists it becomes infinitely easier to modify it to fit a determined person's whims

                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                      I've seen pictures of the hole in the capsule, but none of the cork. Is the hole in the cork as obvious??? It was suggested, in other forums, that re-capsuling is what could make this very much a problem because the cork would re-seal to a great degree.

                                2. I can easily distinguish wines that have been gas-blanketed overnight from fresh, the fruit and acid are muted. If this works as promised (which seems unlikely) it's an improvement over existing technology. I'm very curious to hear impartial real-world reports.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Since the Coravin "blankets" wine (actually the argon mixes with whatever else is in the space), how is it different?

                                    1. re: Midlife

                                      If it works better, some of the details in the patent make a difference.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        "Works better"? What are you comparing it to?

                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          None of the existing gas-blanketing technologies work very well.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            You DO know that the gas doesn't blanket.............. right? The effectiveness of the gas injection solutions is directly proportional to how much gas you inject. Filling as close to 100% of the empty space does the most effective job. [Of course, it is also influenced by how long the bottle stays open before gassing and closure.]That can get rather expensive with low pressure units. That's why mine is high pressure, holding a lot more gas.

                                            Hopefully we'll get some documentation as to whether or not the Coravin'ed bottles leak when inverted. I was really encouraged by what I've heard about Coravin until I read marialorraine's comment on that issue above.

                                            1. re: Midlife

                                              I don't worry about theory, I just know none of the existing gas-system wine preserving technologies work very well.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                The problem with wine preserved with gases, inert and otherwise -- and please document this by reading elsewhere -- is that volatiles leave the wine and go into the ullage/headspace. There's a sizeable falloff in flavor and aromatics even with the best gas, argon.

                                                Each gas used in preservation (nitrogen, argon, CO2) affects the flavor of the wine differently. The blend in some gas preservation systems is often far less of the good stuff (argon) than claimed, and far more of the non-inert gas (CO2) than claimed. Many gases labeled Argon (and nothing else), even gas cylinders by the gas companies, are actually a blend of gases so you have look very closely at the specs, until you find the cylinders that are 99.95% pure argon.

                                                What this all means is deception in wine preservation systems is rife.

                                                The claims of the number of bottles of wine you can preserve, or the number of sprays you get, is usually quite exaggerated.

                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                  That's consistent with what I've tasted. None of them work that we'll and some are worse than others.

                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                    Maia, I hope you see this. I've been thinking about your comment that volatiles leave the wine and mix with the Argon. I'm curious as to whether this is just a natural result of wine having been removed from the space it used to fill in the bottle or if the Argon draws it out somehow.

                                                    One other thing I'm curious about: does this have anything to do with the pressure of the gas source. The psi in a typical larger cylinder can be 1800 psi or so. The regulator in the system reduces that, but is the release of volatiles effected by the force of the gas injection? When I spec'd out my unit's regulator I set it at 7 psi so there is no visible disturbance of the surface of the wine during injection. I've realized that I have no idea if injection pressure is that low in other systems.

                                                    Also..... When I was calculating the instruction on injection time for my product I ran a displacement test in which I captured Argon in a plastic bag to relate the injection time to the physical volume of gas injected. This can't really be exact, but I do think my unit, if used judiciously, can fill the majority if not call of the head space.

                                                    So, I am still looking for reasons why a properly calibrated Argon injection product, which requires opening the bottle, can't work as well as anything else available..... Including Coravin. As I've said before, I don't think I'm sensitive enough to competently assess the muting effect of Argon, but the rest seems more logic-based.

                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                      Opening the bottle (1) loses the gases that were in the headspace and (2) lets some oxygen in.

                                                      If independent blind taste tests show that wine from a previously Coravin-extracted bottle is indistinguishable from wine from a fresh bottle, then one or both of those must be signficant.