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

http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-new...

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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: maria lorraine

                    I agree with you and Bill . . .

                  2. 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

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Easy target. I need that.

                  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.

                                    2. All this theorizing seems off-topic to me. Either it passes independent blind taste tests or it doesn't.

                                      "Being skeptical of wine devices, I was like, 'This is too good to be true.' So we Coravin'd a wine that we had here, a Revello 2004 Barolo, and I told them to come back in three months. This was in September 2011. They came back in December 2011, and I gave them a fresh bottle of Revello 2004 to pour me blind side by the side, and I couldn't tell the difference. Then I was like, 'Okay this thing is pretty legit.'"

                                      http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/04/...

                                      1. Hey, Jason. You started this! Any thoughts? Have you used a Coravin yet?

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          Yeah, but I'm staying out of it . . . LOL

                                          Specifically: No. Haven't used it, so I'll stay out of the specifics.

                                          Generally: I have grave reservations on two levels. First, as with all "inert gases," none work perfectly, and few if any work as well as the claims made for them. In that, I agree with Robert and with Maria -- depending upon the volume of the "new" headspace (i.e.: after wine has been removed), you lose too many volatiles AND, while I won't claim to *always* be able to tell when a wine have been "gassed" over night, I can often tell. Also, I still think that nothing really works with Pinot Noir.

                                          Secondly, there *is* a potential for fraud, as has been outlined above, and that concerns me.

                                          BTW, here's another article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08...

                                          1. re: zin1953

                                            There's already lots of fraud in the old and rare wine market. This expensive gadget doesn't seem very well suited for professional counterfeiters' purposes.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              There are many professionals in the fine and rare market Ive spoken with that would agree at this point, but worry greatly about the door that it opens. K'wan might be toast, but that's a drop in the bucket for the Chinese market.

                                            2. re: zin1953

                                              Lots of "aficionados" are buying these things (at least a lot on cellar Tracker and Wineberserkers). I hope they aren't disappointed over time. My experience suggests that sensitivity to 'flaws' varies widely, except for the very experienced, so the IDEA behind this may help the quality of results (self-fulfilling prophecy). It's hard for me to understand how immediate injection of Argon + recorking/refrigeration wouldn't achieve almost the same result as Coravin, but it seems that the same people don't go to that effort, so??????? There's some legitimacy to the concept of not removing the cork that comes in play here in spite of the science (see marialorraine's posts).

                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                What do you mean "in spite of the science"?

                                                If the Dal Posto sommelier's blind-tasting experience is typical, lab tests could surely determine why it works better than pulling the cork, pouring a glass, blasting with a jet of argon, and recorking.

                                                On the other hand, if people can taste the difference, then it's just another bogus gadget.

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  What I mean is the "science" in someone like marialorraine's posts to this topic and elsewhere on this board, suggesting that all gases change wine to some degree. To me, he big difference with Coravin is that the wine isn't exposed to air because the bottle isn't opened. I'm sure that helps tremendously, but the ullage is then filled with Argon,in the same way as other systems, so it's not the same as an unopened bottle.

                                                  Beyond that, I think that a very small percentage of the wine-tasting public can taste the differences you do, or that the aficionados' enamored of Coravin can. So, I just can't help but feel there are other preservation techniques that will satisfy the average person just as much.

                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                    I don't expect anyone to take my word for it. There's a lot of research on gas preservation of wine, and other foods, and a lot of posts/threads on other boards by veteran wine tasters, some with science backgrounds, who weigh in with their opinion on gassing and on the Coravin in particular. There's a lot of both pro and con. I think it's a fun gadget, but wine gadgets come along quite often (the Vinturi, e.g.), and this one is pricey. I've already weighed in that several of the Coravin claims are plain hooey.

                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                      I'm just going to conclude that this issue, like so many other wine issues, has to do with the experience, knowledge, preferences, and palate sensitivity of whoever is expressing the opinion. There is solid science behind most of this, but it still seems to boil down to what people can perceive, and (excuse me, but) what they want to believe. After all these years I know that these things vary very widely.

                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                        "I'm just going to conclude that this issue, like so many other wine issues, has to do with the experience, knowledge, preferences, and palate sensitivity of whoever is expressing the opinion."

                                                        None of the posters here has actually tasted the results, so none of those things enter into it, except insofar as they have led people to form prejudices and jump to conclusions.

                                                        The only first-hand opinion I've found so far is Jeff Porter's. Apparently Robert Parker was impressed, but you have to subscribe to his site to get more than the brief summary in Coravin's marketing.

                                                        I'm not sure any actual customers who ordered these things have received them yet.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          Robert, I've bent reading posts (on other boards) from people who have received and been using their Coravins for almost a week. Perhaps a dozen people in total, plus a few who have been part of the testing beyond the Dal Posto situation. I have said that in other posts in this topic. Go to Cellar Tracker or Wineberserkers if you're interested. You'll have to join both, but they're free. What you are quoting is my opinion after reading mostly positive comments there as well as what I've read here.

                                                          I WILL say that that the vast majority of any negativity so far is theoretical. It doesn't seem as if there's been any real long-term testing to speak of. The possibilities some have questioned here would have to be after more than a few days for most wines.

                                                          To repeat something I also said here or there (can't recall) ...... Coravin could possibly be the best and most well-conceived device of its kind yet. It will just take some use for its full effectiveness and cost value to be fully understood and debated. Just saying'.

                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                            I searched Cellartracker and found only comments about waiting to get the ordered products.

                                                            I'm not very interested in pre-release tests since those aren't really independent.

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              I don't know how to react to what seems to be your questioning so much on this. Let's just let it drop.

                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                How about posting links to reports from actual customers? I spent a while looking and gave up, but someone who regularly follows those boards probably knows where they are.

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  I can't explain why you didn't find what I did on Cellar Tracker, but go to www.wineberserkers.com and look down the "Wine Talk" board. There are 3 or 4 topics about the Coravin and lots of posts from people who are now using them. As far as credentials: Wineberserkers is an offshoot of the Parker site board and has a very deep bench of knowledgeable members. As I said, most are in love with Coravin so far, but there are also questions along the same lines as posted here.

                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                    I find no first-hand reports there yet comparing fresh and Coravin'd wine.

                                                                    I find one post from a guy who "extracted" wine from some bottles on August 8 and plans to revisit some of them next month:

                                                                    http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/v...

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      I think I said that people are just 'playing' with the units so far and that it will take time. As I also said, let's just let this drop.

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        Really? Over 240 posts to 5 topics, and that's all you found? Sorry.

                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                          It's mostly a bunch of chitchat, speculation, and so on, like here. None of the four people who actually has one has yet posted notes on a comparison, which isn't too surprising since they've had them for only a few days.

                                                                          There's a 30-day money-back guarantee, so I expect to hear some test reports soon.

                                            3. Here's a review comparing a prerelease Coravin with four cheaper technologies after two and seven days:

                                              http://www.wired.com/reviews/2013/06/...

                                              The notes don't say how much wine he poured out. He was far more impressed with Private Reserve than I have been.

                                              17 Replies
                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                OK......... so Wired preferred a $10 can of CO2/Nitrogen/Argon to a $300 pure argon system with which you don't remove the cork? Just more proof of my belief that, except for the truly experienced, knowledgeable palate, this is all about whatever people can perceive.

                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                  The whole reason there is so much hype about this product to begin with is because of Parker's video on the Wine Advocate website. In the lengthy video Parker and the device inventor are drinking a bottle of 2003 Chaputier Le Meal white ermitage (among other bottles) that was first "accessed" 2/16/08, then again in 2010. Parker had drank out of the same bottle with the device inventor 3/10/13, and was sampling the exact same bottle for the second time in June when the video was created and posted on his website. The bottle is less than 1/3 full. He says straight into the camera "My mind is blown.....there is not a bit of oxidation." The endorsement for the product, which he repeatedly states that he has no financial interest in, goes on and on with multiple bottles being sampled. Most likely hardly anyone would be talking about this product or ordered it on pre-release if it wasn't for that video. Everyone can talk all the crap they want about Parker and how he's full of it, but if you want to know why people are making outlandish claims, that is the reason.

                                                  1. re: la2tokyo

                                                    Was the bottle in Parker's possession between the two tastings?

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      They don't say. Without them saying, I guess it's possible the guy switched out bottles, but Parker is clearly very familiar with the device and the inventor. They are in Parker's office. Parker says he has only endorsed two non-wine products in his 35 year career, Riedel wine glasses when they first came out, and the Coravin. It's not just a video of him testing the thing out in front of the camera - it is a full fledged endorsement video.

                                                      1. re: la2tokyo

                                                        Independent tests found people can't taste any difference between those Riedel and cheap generics. See "Shattered Myths" by Daniel Zwerdling in the August 2004 Gourmet:

                                                        http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s...

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          That's a terrible article that gives play to poorly-designed experiments.

                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                            The experiments were a hell of a lot better than non-blind tastings and are more than adequate to put the lie to Riedel's pseudoscientific marketing hokum.

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              Utterly disagree, but refuse to argue.
                                                              Terrible design of experiments, terrible reporting.

                                                    2. re: la2tokyo

                                                      I'm not seeing claims. Mostly just people going all GaGa over being able to get wine out of a bottle without opening it....... and what they think that means.

                                                    3. re: Midlife

                                                      Except he said, "My wife, who is a wine industry professional and seasoned taster, also tasted all the wines with me. Our marks were very similar across the board." Kind of makes me want to give Private Reserve another test, maybe they've improved their instructions.

                                                      I'd like to know which California Cabernet Sauvignon he used for the test.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        The PP-gassed wine always tastes like it has more acid -- I call it the CO2 "bite." Makes the wine taste like it has VA. More skeletel -- like the fruity fleshiness is removed.

                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                          To my palate, gassed wines always have a muted quality, kind of reminiscent of what TCA does, minus the nasty stink. It doesn't seem to matter much which gas.

                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                            "Muted quality" is the best way I've heard it described. I use private preserve on a regular basis after transferring to smaller glass bottles and then I refrigerate. Doing this, I have had wines easily last 3 weeks and be plenty drinkable. Are they the same as a fresh bottle? No way, but they certainly aren't vinegar either. The only thing missing is a portion of the flavors and most pronounced is the lack of aroma.

                                                            That said, still plenty drinkable, they just taste muted. And I say this as someone who gives an open bottle of wine 48 hours max before it tastes done to me.

                                                            The problem with a lot of these studies though ie the article against Reidel glasses (just like the experiments that find that people preferred a $10 wine to a $100 wine) is that they often use casual wine drinkers. I don't doubt that many people are not as attuned to the nuances of wine just like I'm not attuned to the nuances of a baseball game. That said, the studies achieve their shock-value, but neglect those of us who can tell the difference.

                                                            1. re: Klunco

                                                              Even highly trained tasters can perceive differences in taste that disappear when they're blindfolded.

                                                              Riedel himself admitted he's conning the public with pseudoscientific claims:

                                                              "As for the tongue map, he cheerfully pooh-poohs it as 'not scientifically sound.' So, I had to ask, why does his company
                                                              continue to cite the bogus tongue map in its brochures and at tastings as one of the key scientific reasons why the glass-
                                                              es 'work'? Because, he says, the map makes it 'easier to explain' his products."

                                                              A nice PDF version of the Gourmet article:

                                                              http://www.jancisrobinson.com/files/p...

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                The tongue map thing is stupid. But that article was written ten years ago, when perhaps there was still residual belief in the tongue map.

                                                                Like I said, terrible article, bogus experiments, reported poorly.
                                                                A distraction.

                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                  When Riedel himself said the "tongue map" nonsense had no scientific basis, his company was still using it. He's a con artist and his varietal-specific glasses are snake oil.

                                                                  That doesn't mean the Coravin is also snake oil, but it makes Parker's endorsement highly suspect since I know he's been conned before.

                                                              2. re: Klunco

                                                                Precisely.

                                                    4. Marialorraine, as people start using this device and discussions continue here (and on other boards) a big question that persists for me is this: is there any way at all to quantify the difference in perceivable oxidation/degradation between a wine under Coravin and one which has been opened, poured, and immediately injected with the same quality Argon?

                                                      I know you understand more specifically why I would ask that, but the answer is also of general interest in that I think it is a commentary on just how much better the perception of some people may be vs. others. I keep seeing statements that people are certain that no method which requires opening the bottle could be as effective as Coravin, and I guess I understand that on an intellectual level. I am in awe of people who have that acute an ability, but a part of me really wants to call 'BS'.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                        You could quantify that with a dissolved oxygen meter.

                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                          There are labs that measure organoleptic factors -- the flavors and aromatics of a wine, which is what we want to preserve.

                                                          Those would be tested with a freshly opened or never-opened bottle through needle aspiration.

                                                          Those factors could then be re-measured in various time intervals to quantify the fall-off in flavor and aromatics. You would have actual numbers.

                                                          Additionally, there are a handful of tests for oxidation. These can also be measured and quantified, at various intervals to measure preservation efficacy.

                                                          Hard to argue with the numbers, but even so, numbers don't measure everything.

                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                            "I keep seeing statements that people are certain that no method which requires opening the bottle could be as effective as Coravin, and I guess I understand that on an intellectual level."

                                                            Opening the bottle and gassing with 100% argon seems about equal in efficacy as the Coravin, which doesn't open the bottle, based on what I know.

                                                            Lab tests have quantified that 100% argon sprayed into an opened bottle removes 99.95% of the oxygen in the airspace/headspace/ullage. That assumes that there is complete filling of the airspace/headspace/ullage with argon. (You have to do a calculation based on the cc of argon released per second at your psi). Also assumes the argon used is 100% argon.

                                                            But by opening the bottle, O2 becomes dissolved in the liquid of the wine. But is that minute amount of O2 significant enough to change the flavor of the wine, over a few days or a week or more? Dunno.

                                                            That's why the organoleptic/oxidative tests are needed -- to get some numbers.

                                                            The other problem is that any gassing of wine -- with a canister of argon or with the Coravin -- pushes the flavor/aromatic molecules out of the liquid wine into the headspace, losing them, which is why it's easy to detect a gassed wine.

                                                            These molecules want to leap out of the liquid anyway at every turn, so it's easy to understand that air injected into the bottle, and certainly pressurized air, would cause them to leap into the headspace.

                                                            So, no perfect solution.

                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                              The perfect solution is bag-in-box. Or would be, if the valves were better.

                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                Thanks for that. I've yet to see anything quoted regarding organoleptic/oxidative testing (that's a scientific mouthful I know you are familiar with). I think it's the Parker reaction, combined with the apparent logic (it should work because you never open the bottle), that has everyone so excited. I also don't see references to "next best thing" (ie- injected food-grade Argon filling the entire ullage) comparisons, only much broader generalizations, so I wonder.

                                                            2. Check out today's WSJ. Charles Curtis, ex Christies wine director, says he uses the Coravin to help authenticate old, rare bottles.

                                                              31 Replies
                                                              1. re: jock

                                                                That's scary. Most of the serious users I follow on wine boards seem to have concluded that we don't know enough about the effect of this method over time to use it on bottles we won't finish in a short window.

                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                  He's offering that as an option to his clients. I'm not sure why someone who already bought a wine would want to pay to find out whether it's fake, but apparently he's making a living at it.

                                                                  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    I would suggest you read the details of the Charlie Trotter case with a magnum of 1945 DRC RC as to why some people find it prudent to have their purchases authenticated.

                                                                    1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                      If you were planning to sell or buy the wine, sure, I can see the value of hiring an expert to authenticate them, but it sounds like his customers are collectors who are hanging on to them.

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        And if they were trying to get the wine insured, which many collectors do, the authenticity of the wine needs to be verified.

                                                                        1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                          Insurance, that makes sense.

                                                                2. re: jock

                                                                  It's not possible to authenticate a bottle based on taste.

                                                                  1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                    If you read the article, taste is just one of many factors Charles Curtis uses in "verifying" a wine.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      I did, and he's just opening himself up to get sued. I authenticate for a living, and he's taking people for schmucks.

                                                                      1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                        If tasting a wine doesn't help authenticate it, what possible purpose would there be in spending a lot of money on it? Why not just drink whatever cheaper wine is indistinguishable?

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          That's not the point. You can not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt prove authenticity based on an inherently subjective parameter. Let's say for instance, that this guy says that a wine is counterfeit because it does taste like it should. If youve been sold a fake you have grounds to sue the person that sold it to you.

                                                                          The person you're suing then hires another expert saying that it DOES taste like it. Who wins? Who has better "proof?"

                                                                          Also, as wine ages it inherently changes, and the older a bottle, the more pronounced bottle variation is likely to occur within the same label. Why? innumerable reasons. Storage conditions, maybe some was shipped in bulk in barrel rather than bottle, leakage, minute differences in original ullage. On, and on, and on.

                                                                          The point is- the is NO definitive way to proof the authenticity of a bottle based on the taste of the wine. Those who profess that is true have no business being in this industry.

                                                                          1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                            I don't think there's any way to prove the authenticity of a bottle, period, and I don't see that Charles Curtis is claiming otherwise in that article. He can offer his expert opinion that a 1961 Trop Cher tastes more like a 1964 Trop Cher, or a 2011 Chateau Chunder.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              Which is inherently flawed. 1961 Trop Cher may cost 10,000 a bottle, and 1964 may cost 1,000.

                                                                              Also, it's completely naive to say that a bottle can, or can not be called authentic. Based on your logic, a banded original wooden case of DRC, bought directly from the domaine, with solid provenance showing as such, and no other history of purchase can't be certified as authentic.

                                                                              I will concede it's easier to prove a bottle is inauthentic rather than authentic.

                                                                              1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                I don't know what you mean by "inherently flawed." I've read that some people have made a lot of money by buying wine from a relatively inexpensive old vintage and passing it off as a top vintage.

                                                                                You can't get safer than buying direct from the winery, but haven't wineries been caught counterfeiting their own wines?

                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                  I mean that to say that the wine tastes like it should be from the sixties doesn't say anything, when from vintage to vintage prices vary wildly.

                                                                                  For instance:
                                                                                  1961 Lafite Rothschild- Averages at auction between 1200 and 1800.
                                                                                  1964 Lafite Rothschild- the maximum price sold for was 600 or so.

                                                                                  that's half of the price of the 61, and it doesn't take much to alter one number.

                                                                                  (source: Wine Market Journal- with results specified to only include US sales that did not occur online, from reputable auction houses i.e. NOT Acker Merral)

                                                                                  Re: counterfeits made by the winery themselves- I think you're referring to red Bicyclette? There are only two wineries in California that hold internation appreciable market value, and a Gallo product isn't one of them.

                                                                                  I don't know of any producer who is worth being counterfeited that would do that. Unless you have specific examples?

                                                                                  1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                    The point Curtis made in the article was that he might be quite familiar with the differences in taste between a wildly expensive great vintage of a particular wine and a relatively affordable minor vintage of similar age, which would be one more factor to consider in evaluating whether a particular bottle was a fake.

                                                                                    I guess I'm misremembering having heard about a winery getting caught counterfeiting its own wines. The Red Bicyclette fraud was a couple of steps removed from Gallo.

                                                                        2. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                          Plaidbowtie........since you do this for a living, I'm interested in your opinion on the Coravin in terms of the more technical issues that have been brought up here and on other wine boards.

                                                                          Certainly makes sense as a way to get wine out of a bottle without removing the cork, but I'd think that could be done with a sturdy syringe. I have to conclude that the "experts" have concluded that injecting Argon is safe, and I know that to be true over the short term............... but long term???????

                                                                          There is also the possible issue of having whatever oxygen is already in a bottle impacting a smaller amount of wine, as has been discussed here.

                                                                          These are collectors, for the most part, so this stuff is critical to them I would think. I've heard enough opinions about the perceived effect of the Argon in Enomatic machines to wonder where this is all going.

                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                            I think that the coravin has it's uses and it's faults, just like any other preservation system. I have a few wine director friends across the country who love it- they can pour high end wines by the glass and not worry about spoilage within a few days. In terms of long term storage- The only evidence so far of it's strength is Robert Parker's endorsement. He tried the same bottle over the course of (I think) 5 years, and said that it was still sound. If I were to buy it- which I won't because there's no need for it in my house, I would expect more in depth scientific analysis before accepting the hugely inflated pricetag.

                                                                            1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                              If you were to compare Coravin with injecting Winery-grade Argon immediately after pouring (then-recorking), what percentage of the aficionado/expert community do you think could tell the difference after a few days?

                                                                              I've seen wineries and winebars that use a tank of Argon for preservation. While most of them 'preserve' only at the end of the day (so the wine is exposed for a great many hours) I would think that an individual user could 'gas' after each pour (or pouring session) and achieve almost the same result as with Coravin.

                                                                              I just really wonder about what portion of the wine community has a level of sensitivity great enough to perceive the difference. Disclosure: I have a horse in this race, but don't make an issue of it here.

                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                Honestly the preservation aspect isn't my area of expertise. My concern is that there is now another tool that offers the potential to make counterfeit wine in what may become a hard to detect manner. It's not there yet, but the technology of today will be fodder for the next generation. This is a concern that has been shared by many winemakers across the world who's wine has the potential to be faked.

                                                                                Full disclosure- I have no horse in the race regarding the coravin's preservation qualities for every day drinking. I do, however have the entire equestrian lineup when it comes to its potential to be used for evil.

                                                                                1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                  No 'opinion' on whether 'super palates' are as super as they say?? Really? Ah, come on!

                                                                                  I know a rather expert taster/blogger who ran a 7 day test using the Argon cylinder method. He began with 6 bottles of the same wine (bottle variation possible of course) and opened a new one each day, gassing each bottle, and comparing all the opened ones to the newly opened one. On day 6 he was comparing 5, 4,3,2,and 1 day open bottles to a new one.

                                                                                  His conclusion was that he only began to sense any degradation at all, of the FIRST bottle opened, on the LAST day. Everyone is different, I know that, but this was powerful testimony that would make me question those 'experts' who say that Coravin (after just a couple of days) is "far superior" to any other preservation method.

                                                                                  Just sayin'. Thought sure you'd have an opinion. No pressure!!! ;o]]]]]]

                                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                                    I hold a fairly negative opinion of bloggers, so I'll just refrain from expounding
                                                                                    VBG

                                                                                    1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                      Well....... I tried! ;o))))

                                                                                      1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                        PBT, you do realize my question was about what percentage of knowledgeable people could really distinguish oxidation that well................. not about whether a blogger could?

                                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                                          I do, and I also don't know an exact percentage, and therefore don't care to speculate.

                                                                                      2. re: Midlife

                                                                                        <<His conclusion was that he only began to sense any degradation at all, of the FIRST bottle opened, on the LAST day.>>

                                                                                        That's not a sensitive enough palate to be judging, or making any pronouncements about preservation efficacy.

                                                                                        In contrast, talk to the huge numbers of people who work in winery tasting rooms, and who gas the partially drunk bottles with argon at the end of each work day. Those employees can pick out (blind) the gassed wine at first sip the next morning after a single night. Each morning when tasting room employees open up for business, they taste the gassed wines from the previous evening to see if they merit pouring. The difference between a fresh bottle and a gassed one, even one stored overnight, is obvious. Granted, the employees know the flavor profile of the wines, but the falloff in aromatics and flavor follows a standard "muting." If someone doesn't have the skill to detect the gassed wine tasting it blind, they shouldn't be evaluating preservation methods.

                                                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                          Got it! Never heard that negative an opinion on this before. But wouldn't the gas from a Coravin be just as detectable?

                                                                                          Also, for devices that inject gas jnto an opened bottle, is there any difference in the effect of the gas related to how long the bottle is open before gassing?? I'm thinking some relationship to the time of exposure to oxygen.

                                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                                            It would be an interesting experiment to open two bottles of the same wine, immediately pour a taste from one and gas and cork it, drink half the other and gas and cork it after a couple of hours, and do a blind comparison of both with a fresh bottle a day later.

                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                              Good idea. Something like this happens in wineries all the time -- several bottles of the same wine are opened at the same time or within hours of one another. Those bottles are then gassed or not gassed, and subsequently re-opened.

                                                                                              At the end of each day, many wineries allow all the employees a glass of wine, or several sips of wine, from all the partially drunk bottles opened that day. Some have been open an hour, three hours, five hours, etc., some have been gassed, and some not. The slight differences in flavor are interesting. All to say, this fall-off in flavor from gassing is quite well-known to winery employees.

                                                                                            2. re: Midlife

                                                                                              <<But wouldn't the gas from a Coravin be just as detectable?>>

                                                                                              That's kinda been my point all along. Since gassing changes the flavors of wine, the Coravin will change the flavors of the wine also.

                                                                                              <<Also, for devices that inject gas jnto an opened bottle, is there any difference in the effect of the gas related to how long the bottle is open before gassing?? I'm thinking some relationship to the time of exposure to oxygen.>>

                                                                                              The length of time the bottle has been opened will be an issue, but my guess for wineries and home is about 3 hours. In a winery with a busier tasting room, less time; in a tasting room not as busy, more time.

                                                                                              True, the wine will have slightly degraded chemically in that small amount of time. But the flavors may actually be enhanced (the wine opened up.)

                                                                                              A small amount of O2 will be dissolved in the wine from it being opened and poured. But the oxygen in the ullage will not be an issue with argon gassing. At least that's what I've read and estimate.

                                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                <<Got it! Never heard that negative an opinion on this before>>

                                                                                                Actually, I don't consider it negative at all, just what occurs all the time and more in the "fact of life" category.

                                                                          2. I'd like to do the experiment with opening, pouring a taste, and immediately gassing. Is the Purity Plus stuff sold by Alliance a good choice, and if so, which one?

                                                                            http://www.alliancegas.com/index_file...

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              I wouldn't purchase any of those argon blends on page 5 of your catalog link. They all contain about 20% oxygen. I think this type of argon -- mixed with oxygen -- is used for welding.

                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                The specs on that page say 99.998% to 99.9999% pure argon, with from 10 parts per million down to 0.15 ppm oxygen.

                                                                                How about VinAssure?

                                                                                http://vinassure.bigcartel.com/

                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                  It uses Air Liquide Aligal™ Argon #6. It's supposed to be around that same % purity. I was trying to find the data sheet for it, to ask marialorraine about this, but am not able to locate it yet. I know it is used for sparging at wineries and was interested in understanding more about her comments re the 20% oxygen. None of the gases in her list are Aligal™.

                                                                                  To be totally honest, I've been told that the 'special' difference between Air Liquide's winery Argon and some of their more 'industrial" Argon products is about "chain of custody" of the cylinders. The gas purity difference is supposedly in the .00X range, but the winery gas is certified to be in a "clean" cylinder and comes with a plastic seal over the valve. The 20% oxygen thing is new to me.

                                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                                    I posted a screen shot of the gas purity, showing about 20% oxygen in each of the argon blends on page 5 of the pdf catalog doc link you provided.

                                                                                    Argon is often blended with another gas to make it blast more (thrust) when it's used in welding and other industrial applications. Came across that often in my reading. The other gas often is CO2; sometimes it's O2. In any case, avoid the argon blends with other gases for use in preserving wine (obviously). I used Airgas as my supplier.

                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                      That screen shot is from page 3, which is for air. Argon is two pages later.

                                                                                       
                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                        Well, heck. I went to the Table of Contents, it said Argon was Page 5, so I scrolled down to Page 5, and it's actually Page 3.

                                                                                        Get the purest possible argon gas or just shy of that. The purest possible is used in microchip/tech manufacturing, or super-sterile conditions, so you don't need that (it's more $$), but the next step down is good. This is what I remember from my reading. Don't see the specs listed for what I'm speaking of -- that next step down in purity. BTW, the cylinder sizes listed on page FIVE (LOL) are far too big for home use (smallest is 80). Good luck in your search.

                                                                              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                That sounds pretty much like what the blogger did as I described in my post. marialorraine questioned his abilities based on not being able to detect the gas. To me that says that NO gas method could meet this standard. I also have to wonder, then, about the aficionados who have fallen in love with Coravin.

                                                                              3. Wow this debate is pretty academic.

                                                                                After reading about the Coravin in today's New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/04/din... I am psyched and am going to buy one.

                                                                                It sounds like a godsend to single people who love good wine. As my palate has gotten more sophisticated, I have basically stopped drinking because I can't justify opening a $50 bottle of wine for myself (much less a $75 or $100 bottle) and I have been too busy to entertain much these days. To be able to have a single glass of excellent wine with dinner and not waste the bottle - priceless.

                                                                                Apparently, according to this thread, I could go here and there and buy this and that and cobble together a cheaper system, but I am not going to because I am busy and I don't find the price of the Coravin prohibitive.

                                                                                I'll report back when I receive my Coravin.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: omotosando

                                                                                  You can't really duplicate the Coravin's trick valve.

                                                                                2. Mostly for marialorraine......... here's an opinion from a poster at another site that draws high-end aficionados and lots of industry people:

                                                                                  >>"At any normal conditions, Argon has essentially no reactions with with wine. It does dissolve slightly in water/wine, but I doubt that's noticeable.

                                                                                  However, as mentioned in one of the early discussions, whether it's filled with Argon or air, the head space allows various compounds (eg, aromatics) to come out of the wine, basically until the concentration in the head space is in equilibrium with the concentration in the wine (ie, when the concentration is high enough that the rate of the compound being re-absorbed into the wine is as high as the rate leaving). When you have a 5 mL head space, that's a small effect. When half the bottle is gone, the effect is 70 times larger. Can the change be perceived? I actually don't know, but I think it's likely that it could when a large fraction of the wine has been removed and the bottle has been allowed to sit for an extended period.

                                                                                  As mentioned before, oxygen will continue to get into the bottle (slowly), the argon doesn't keep the oxygen away from the wine for very long, and the oxygen will now be absorbed into a smaller volume of wine. If it's an old wine, it likely doesn't have much SO2 left to help protect it."<<

                                                                                  This, I think, raises 2 questions relative to our discussion here. Curious as to your reaction.

                                                                                  1. Sounds as if this refutes the premise that people can detect Argon in wine.
                                                                                  2. Includes the issue (I think I raised it here) that the major issue with these methods is that whatever amount of oxygen is in the open space is working on a decreasing amount of wine as the bottle is emptied. This posters sees that as THE most important issue. AND adds the issue that compounds come OUT of the wine which have their own effect.

                                                                                  As always........... I'm interested in your thoughts on this, if we haven't already beaten this horse to death.

                                                                                  :

                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                                    Re your #1, I don't think anyone has argued that people can detect argon in wine per se. Generally it's easy to tell if a wine has been gassed, but that's not because argon has a flavor.

                                                                                    Re #2, the limited claims the VinAssure people make for their product suggests that the Coravin's patented oxygen-excluding valve could give significantly better results:

                                                                                    "... if you inject just enough Argon to preserve the wine (as we suggest), what happens is that the Argon quickly mixes with the air remaining in the empty space and creates an 'Argon-rich' atmosphere. Except for the most discriminating palate, that's enough to preserve the aroma and taste of the wine. VinAssure™ protects the quality of wine seven days or more, depending on the wine, storage temperature, and taster's palate."

                                                                                    http://vinassure.com/How_It_Works.html

                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                      Robert, in the interest of total openness...... VinAssure is MY product. I developed it after we sold our wine shop in which we used a large cylinder with a regulator and blowgun attached. I think I've at least alluded to this before here, but just want to be clear. I don't make direct reference to it here because touting your own business is not allowed. Sounds like you Googled onto it?

                                                                                      I continue to learn about preservation all the time and have endless questions on the subject. It certainly seems that the effect of gas in the ullage is open to question. marialorraine has stated (unless I'm just not understanding) that people who work at wineries can definitely sense it in gassed bottles; a knowledgeable poster, on another board, says that's not possible. My head spins sometimes.

                                                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                                                        I was looking for argon sources and came across it.

                                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                                          I am hoping that Marialorraine is referring to sensing the effect of argon in perhaps muting flavors or something like that, not that the people who work in wineries are able to sense the argon directly.

                                                                                          1. re: wally

                                                                                            Yep, referring to the effect of pressurized argon going into the bottle, and forcing volatile esters into the ullage.

                                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                              Rethinking a bit .... I didn't mean detection of the gas itself, but detection of its effect in a specific way. I'm assuming that is by way of muted aroma and fruit ? Just not sure how that can always be from the gas I guess.

                                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                In a winery, a fall-off in flavor is apparent, even after a single night of storage. That has two components: the fall-off in flavor from the wine's exposure to oxygen from being poured and stored, and the fall-off in flavor from using a pressurized gas. It's the force of the pressurized gas that causes the volatiles to leap into the airspace. Argon is the best of the gases to use, but even it causes the volatiles to leap out of the liquid.

                                                                                                It's easy to isolate the fall-off in flavor from gassing alone, because unpoured bottles are frequently gassed also. A wine is opened, the cork re-inserted, and then it is never poured. The bottle is then gassed in the evening, and the next morning, even that wine has a fall-off in flavor from the gassing alone. Tasting room employees, especially if they're familiar with the flavor profile of a wine, can easily detect how the wine is muted from the gassing alone, or from oxygen exposure and gassing.

                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                  Yeah, there's a different change in flavor from gassed wines and leaving the same wine open overnight.

                                                                                                  When you gas a wine, it's not pressurized, it's the same pressure as the room. Or are you saying the blast across the top of the wine? Cruvinet and similar systems have the same muting effect on the wine without that.

                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                    I'm talking about pressurized gas and the force of that.

                                                                                    2. Just encountered this system at La Mer (the Halekulani) in Waikiki, HI, USA. They were pouring some "major" wines, B-T-G, because of this, or a very similar system.

                                                                                      The wines were excellent, and though I could not do an A-B between what we had, and a freshly opened bottle, we detected no flaws, in our wines.

                                                                                      While my "final jury" might still be out, my first, direct experience was positive - though somewhat expensive. Still, we were able to do some significant wines, in a B-T-G situation. Not sure if that will continue, or not.

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        Okay, Bill Hunt's comment just pushed me over the edge and I ordered my unit last night. Looking forward to it. I don't have to drink mediocre wine anymore. As a single person, I just won't' open a decent bottle of wine on a weeknight to have a glass with dinner because I know it will have deteriorated by the next day. So my choices have been (a) don't drink at all; or (b) pick up a bottle of the garbage generic overpriced California wine that my local supermarket sells and just toss it the next day. This could be a game changer.

                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                          Bill, as far as I know there is no "similar" system other than the Enomatic, WineEmotion, Napa Technology dispensing systems which require that the bottles be opened. Can you give any more info as to what you're referring to? Thanks.

                                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                                            The staff at La Mer (Halekulani, Waikiki, O`ahu, HI, USA) did not bring the unit to the table, so I cannot comment directly.

                                                                                            All that I know, is that some major Burgs were being served B-T-G, though not cheap B-T-G. They described the unit, and from that description, think that it was the same (or very similar).

                                                                                            In our case, the wines WERE fresh, and seemed to be like a freshly opened bottle, of that wine. Now, I did not have a full bottle, just opened, to do an A-B with, so who knows? Still, we were impressed at two levels:

                                                                                            Wines, that would have been very expensive, by the 0.75, with much overage, and then, somewhat normal B-T-G offerings, that might not be THAT fresh.

                                                                                            Wish that I had more to offer, but perhaps the wine staff at La Mer can provide details?

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              If they described it as a hand-held unit that pierces the capsule and cork with a needle, then injects gas to pour and replace the wine without opening ................. the only thing that does that is Coravin.

                                                                                              I guess the thing that I find somewhat puzzling is that I'd think that, given your experience, you would be quite familiar with the 'freshness' of wines in BTG programs that use other gas injection methods. What I've been trying to get at, through all of these discussions, is the comparison of 'freshness', over similar time, using Coravin and what I believe is the next best thing............. immediately injected Argon via some other device. Nut beyond that, some posters here have somewhat obliterated all of these methodologies by finding that Argon injection really changes the wine immediately, regardless of the device used. If that's true, NONE of these devices really work.

                                                                                              I may just call La Mer out of curiosity though.

                                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                Midlife,

                                                                                                Yes, it was hand-held, and attractive. The name might have been mentioned, but perhaps I did not pick up on it.

                                                                                                However, I immediately thought about this thread - and drank the wines. While the prices were "up there," just having such wines in a B-T-G option, was great. Worth the $? Not sure now, but seemed like a good thing, at the time.

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                  As a bit of a PS, the freshness seemed great to us, but we did not have the ability to do an A-B comparison of a new bottle vs one with that system.

                                                                                                  I am sure that the sommelier at La Mer will give you the full details, with make/model, etc.

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                  If they didn't bring it to the table, it was probably a Cruvinet.

                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                    The sommelier did bring it to the table, but I was enjoying my meal, my wife and my wines, so did not whip out my camera, or my notebook, and document the device.

                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      Bill, I was interested enough that I called La Mer and spoke with a Maitre d'. He confirmed that it WAS a Coravin unit you would have seen. He said that their sommelier had researched it and, in fact, a sister hotel (in San Francisco, I think) was going to be using it as well.

                                                                                                      My personal interest in this is regarding the effectiveness of Coravin compared with other gas preservation devices. I asked if they'd used any gas devices before acquiring I he Coravin and he said "no".

                                                                                                      So..... I'm still somewhat unsure as to why Coravin is perceived as being such a wonderful innovation as I'm rather certain that the opening of the bottle (as with other methods) is not likely the great difference-maker it appears to be. Because LaMer did not use a gas preservation system before acquiring Coravin I'm not sure I understand completely. I still find it difficult to believe that the difference of whether or not the bottle is opened is enough, except that it provides portability and visual presence table-side. It IS a VERY COOL innovation. I'm just a bit skeptical when most accounts don't specify what Coravin is being compared with.

                                                                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                        The chef at La Mer has a Cruvinet system at at least one of his other restaurants, so they have that point of comparison.

                                                                                                        Taking the cork out of a bottle replaces all the gas in the headspace with the external atmosphere, which is 20% oxygen. The Coravin doesn't allow any oxygen to enter the bottle. That could make a significant difference.

                                                                                                        One of these days someone will do an independent double-blind test.

                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                          This is what I'm most curious about: does not opening the bottle really make the coravin more effective than a enomatic-style wine system?

                                                                                                          After getting a btg wine the other night at a restaurant and noticing it had a definite muted boquet, I inquired if they gas their wines and wasn't surprised when they said they used a enomatic system. Personally, if a wine has been gassed, I don't find the $12 price-tag worth it. Too much of the wine has been lost. I'd rather just pass on wine or order a half bottle.

                                                                                                          At home it's a completely different story and I do use gas to preserve, but, in my mind, if I'm paying by the glass prices, I want a freshly opened wine.

                                                                                                          1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                            Klunco, that's a different, though totally legitimate thing altogether. Do you find restaurants that will open a new bottle for BTG? Or do you only do BTG when you can be guaranteed that the bottle was opened x minutes or hours ago? Isn't it related to the time under gas, or can you detect it immediately? I work for someone with what I think is a highly sensitive and very experienced palate, and he is fine with wines in an Enomatic (actually a new WineEmotion) system for several days (depending on the wine).

                                                                                                            Restaurants generally charge the majority of their wholesale cost for a glass, so they usually start to make a profit only with glass #2. Sounds like your BTG activity is either non-existent or limited to situations where you know you can trust the resto.

                                                                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                              I'll order wine by the glass when a bottle isn't an option. In the Boston area, enomatic systems at restaurants are still rare, so the majority of the time the by-the-glass bottles were opened today or yesterday and just recorked or vacuvin'd.

                                                                                                              Rarely, you can tell a bottle may have been open for longer, and it's easy enough to ask the server to exchange for a fresh pour.

                                                                                                              You bring up a very good point in mentioning that the time something has been under gas will affect flavor. I haven't had the chance to try a two week old gassed bottle vs a two day old gassed bottle side-by-side from an enomatic machine, but would be interested to see if that would change my opinion. It's quite possible that my poor experiences are simply based on the fact that a restaurant has had the wine under gas too long.

                                                                                                              Either way, after a number of disappointing experiences I'm a bit caveat emptor about the systems for now. I have a very sensitive palate to wine faults as well, which to be honest, is kind of a bummer sometimes.

                                                                                                              1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised to know how many restaurants don't do anything at all to preserve opened bottles. Pretty scary, but the reason must be that most guests can't tell the difference.

                                                                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                  I don't necessarily have a problem with a restaurant opening a bottle today and then re-corking a wine and serving it tomorrow. After that though, it should be thrown out.

                                                                                                                  I don't doubt that places keep wines around for longer than a day and it's definitely up to us as consumers to point this out. I will say that I've never had any issues bringing this to the attention of the server. Generally places that don't care, also seem to realize they don't know, and so if a consumer can tell the difference, they won't fight you.

                                                                                                                  Another thing that is catching on at better places around here is pouring a small taste of a btg wine for you to approve, just like with a bottle, and then assuming you approve it, pouring you a glass.

                                                                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                            Robert, that's certainly the factual argument. My question has to do with the impact of that oxygen exposure in a system like Cruvinet compared with Coravin. The exposure lasts only as long as it takes to get the bottle in the unit and purged.

                                                                                                            There's certainly no argument that a 'portable Cruvinet' is a major innovation but I'd be surprised if the difference doesn't vary by taster (at least the perception of it). As a "non-super taster' I have trouble imagining it.

                                                                                                            BTW, the Maître d' used the example of a $68 glass of d'Yquem in describing the value of Coravin in their BTG program. I'm sure that showing the bottle with the cork still in it adds greatly to that. I'm just not sure the wine itself is really that better preserved.

                                                                                                          3. re: Midlife

                                                                                                            Midlife,

                                                                                                            Thank you for doing that bit of research. As I was there, and they were using it for some of our glasses of wine, I should have gotten clarification on the exact device. I guess that I was too busy gazing into my lovely wife's eyes, and enjoying the meal - I let "the team" down."

                                                                                                            Sorry,

                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                            PS - My guess on the San Francisco hotel/restaurant would be Taj Campton & Campton Place. Their sommelier is Richard Dean, and holder of Master Sommelier status. They are also a Leading Hotel property, like the Halekulani is.

                                                                                                3. Does the Cruvinet system or competing similar systems purge the atmospheric gases from a newly opened bottle when you attach it?

                                                                                                  My impression from watching people operate them is that gas is pumped into the bottle only to replace the wine that's removed.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                    I can check pretty easily, in the next day or two, if nobody here posts about it. I work with a WineEmotion system (the newer company formed by ex-Enomatic people), and have seen bottles placed in it, but don't know for sure if a gas purge occurs immediately. From the level of sophistication of the system I'd be surprised if they hadn't thought of that. It would certainly be very simple to do, given how it works.

                                                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                      As I thought, at least the newer WineEmotion system does inject Argon when a new bottle is first inserted. It's automatic and occurs as the base below the bottle lifts the bottle into position. As it reaches the end you can hear the gas going in. I can't speak for Cruvinet, Enomatic, or Napa Technology, but I'd be surprised if they don't work the same way.

                                                                                                  2. I did order my Coravin, but haven't received it yet. I was a bit daunted by this review (which I saw after I ordered it) which said it is hard and messy to pour using the Coravin. http://www.wired.com/reviews/2013/06/...

                                                                                                    The review also claimed that the Vacu Vin works flawlessly for two day storage. I can't stand to drink a wine the next day that has been Vacu Vined - I can taste the difference. Makes me wonder about the reviewer.

                                                                                                    1. The Press Club in San Francisco has around 30 expensive wines by the glass using a Coravin:

                                                                                                      http://www.pressclubsf.com/sites/all/...

                                                                                                      Some of the prices are kind of wacky. $40 for 2005 Rieussec when I could get a 750 for $60?

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                        The text refers to "proprietary" Argon gas being used by the Coravin. I believe I've read that the gas 'capsules' are proprietary, but what could be proprietary about the gas itself?

                                                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                          They're just scrambling content from Coravin's marketing materials. The actual claim is that a proprietary seal prevents leakage from the capsule.

                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                            OK. Thanks.

                                                                                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                          I might also take issue with the heading "Unique and Rare" given the options

                                                                                                          1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                                            We'll the BTG prices for the wines under that 'unique and rare' heading are certainly in the 'rarified zone.

                                                                                                        3. We just dined at CityZen, Washington, DC, and they WERE using a Coravin. They were pouring some pretty "special" wines, B-T-G, and all were excellent.

                                                                                                          Now, I did not have an A-B comparison, to go by, but all that we had in a 10-course Sommelier's Pairing, were very fresh, and I could detect zero flaws.

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                          1. The Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills is selling the Coravin for $299.
                                                                                                            http://beverlyhillswinemerchant.com/?...

                                                                                                            Unfortunately, I already ordered mine from the manufacturer for the full price of $335. Haven't yet had an opportunity to try mine out, but I'm looking forward to it.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: omotosando

                                                                                                              All my info has the retail price pretty well fixed at $299. Unless it varies, their wholesale structure us not very favorable to the retailer compared with most 'hardware' products common to wine shops. More like wine margins.

                                                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                Sigh - I guess I got snookered by ordering it directly from the manufacturer. That extra $36 could have bought a decent bottle of wine!

                                                                                                              2. re: omotosando

                                                                                                                Coravin's direct price is $299 and UPS ground shipping is free.

                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                  You must be right. I thought I had paid $335, but I just checked my credit card statement and it was $325.92, which must have included tax.

                                                                                                              3. Oliveto in Oakland, CA, is using a Coravin to offer a rotating selection of wines by the glass from its cellar of aged Barolos, Barbarescos, Brunellos, and a few others.

                                                                                                                http://www.oliveto.com/ourcommunity/w...

                                                                                                                1. From Jon Bonné in the San Francisco Chronicle:

                                                                                                                  "I road-tested Coravin for about two months, primarily on upmarket red wines from California. It worked almost entirely as promised. Several Cabernet-based wines and Pinot Noir retained their original flavors a full month after the needle was first plunged."

                                                                                                                  On the other hand, "The inert nature of the process leaves some wines just that - slightly inert, in need of an airing out in the glass to show their full flourish. It can help to decant the wine as an interim step."

                                                                                                                  http://www.sfgate.com/wine/thirst/art...

                                                                                                                  1. I purchased a Coravin recently, and just tried it out on a bottle of '12 Chateau Turcaud Entre Deux Mers Blanc, an inexpensive but tasty white Bdx that I happened to have in the fridge.

                                                                                                                    Inserting the needle through the capsule and cork seemed to take quite a bit more pressure that it should, based on the videos I watched online. But the Argon injection and pouring of a glass of wine was easy enough.

                                                                                                                    Whereupon I removed the device and set the bottle on its side in the fridge...and proceeded to watch the wine start to quickly drip out through the cork...

                                                                                                                    $300 for this??? @#$A%!!!

                                                                                                                    LOL, I did subsequently remember that this wine has a plastic cork, so I guess I'll give Coravin another chance...

                                                                                                                    [Note: Coravin specifically says it will not work on synthetic corks, which don't reseal well when the needle is removed.]