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Dec 4, 2013 02:30 PM

How effective is the Vacuvin Concerto?

Hey chowhound. I picked up a vacuvin from amazon the other day and tried it out on this bottle of red wine, but I noticed it had started to get sour a few hours after dinner when I tried it last night, and it was much more sour by this morning. I pumped it until I heard the clicks and everything, and I didn't leave the bottle lying open during dinner. The bottle has never been in the fridge.

Is this normal? I'm a beginner so I'm pretty sure that if I can taste the difference, most people can. It doesn't taste too different from when I tried this before getting a pump, but I don't /think/ I misused the device...

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  1. I have had a Vacu Vin for over 10 years and it works
    fine, as long as you drink the wine the next day.
    However, I usually put the wine in the fridge overnight,
    since cold is supposed to slow down chemical reactions.

    1. What kind of wine -- specifically -- was it?

      1 Reply
      1. Whatever was happening I'm be pretty sure it wasn't the VacuVin causing it. "Sour" is a term I'd use to describe a wine effected by brettanomyces, a yeast-related 'fault' in wine. The wine could also be corked. What's odd to me is that you didn't notice it right away.

        I'm interested in hearing other takes on this.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Midlife

          Well I might just be using the word sour incorrectly. It definitely seemed like that "vinegar" taste that people describe as oxidization, and it wasn't there when the bottle was first opened (and I'm pretty sure it got increasingly worse, whatever it was).

          1. re: eternal

            No, "sour" is akin to "vinegary" in my experience. Brett is more aromatic than flavorful, and smells like horse$#|+.

            One problem is the wine may have had high(er) levels of acetic acid to begin with. This would get worse the longer the wine is open. Secondly, the link you provided does not indicate a vintage date for the wine. If it's a non-vintage blend, then some wines used are already older and thus more likely to oxidize.

            The third "problem" is that I've never heard of the wine itself, let alone tasted it, and so have no way to directly compare your experience with the wine with mine, as I have none. ;^)

            1. re: zin1953

              But is it possible for a wine to have gone "sour" in two hours after opening?

              The OP was asking if the VacuVin was at fault........ for the 'fault'. ;o)

              1. re: Midlife

                It's doubtful it's the VacuVin's "fault," as the OP says it was being used as per directions. That's why I was asking about the wine itself, but I was thinking it might of been a Pinot Noir -- nothing saves that! ;^)

                  1. re: Midlife

                    Not unheard of.

                    Rare, true, but not unprecedented.

        2. What no-one has said is that these devices are, at best, useless and at worst harmful as they can 'scalp', flavours from the wine.

          If you'd closed the bottle with its screwcap and put it in the fridge as soon as possible it would have been better preserved.

          Why was it sour a few hours later and much more sour the next day?

          As has been said we don't know how old the wine was to start with and it may have been on its last legs -- but it may be your perception. If you had it first with dinner your palate could find it tastes better with food rather than having a glass on its own later or the next day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gussie Finknottle

            "What no-one has said is that these devices are, at best, useless and at worst harmful as they can 'scalp', flavours from the wine."

            Well..... They CAN, but my conclusion has been that the overwhelming majority of people find them completely acceptable. No question that pouring into an alternate container until full + refrigeration is better, but I'm convinced that only a very small percentage of people really have the ability to discern the difference. Just sayin' what I've said here many times.

          2. Okay, update: I tried this again with Il Grigio and the exact same thing happened (a bit worse a few hrs later and much worse the day after). So I don't think it's the wine.

            One thing occurred to me though: is storage temperature an issue? This is supposed to work without refrigeration, but maybe my room temperature is above normal, or maybe it shouldn't be kept at room temperature at all.

            6 Replies
            1. re: eternal

              Refrigerate all wines you pump with Vacu Vin. As others have noted, the lower temperature retards degradation though there will always be a discernible change...I have used this gadget since it came out (20 years ago or so?) and never let a wine sit for more than two days. It works well enough...(Older wines don't have a chance--it's acceptable for relatively young wines, in my experience.)

              Are you storing unopened bottles in a very warm place? If so, temperature affects the wine and not in a good way.

              1. re: eternal

                It leaks. All the VacuVin devices leak. The wine goes bad. It's really that simple.

                Overnight might be OK, but overnight with the cork in it would be OK, too.

                The wine described here might be flawed to begin with (sounds like Volatile Acidity), but then gets worse from faulty storage and oxidation.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  Yet another thought...especially since you get the same effect with different wines. Maybe your VacuVin is funky! Give it a good sniff. Give it a hot bath with soap & water.

                  1. re: comestible

                    Have tested many of these devices, brand new. They leak air, they leak liquid. They leak. They don't preserve wine much better than a cork.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Maria, you know where I stand on this stuff but my experience with VacuVin has been that it seems to do the job for lots of people. Of course, that means that just a cork would too.The wine still tastes OK to them. That probably says more about the wine, and the user's palate sensitivity, than about VacuVin OR corks, but it is what it is.

                      What I find different about this specific situation is that the OP doesn't notice anything until a couple of hours after opening. I usually find the opposite- wines with aroma defects that 'blow off' after opening. Too many variables to really know what it's all about, but I too don't see the VacuVin as having anything to do with it.

                      The 40-year industry veteran who owns the shop where I work was using my Argon unit to preserve bottles overnight between tasting days. He bought an Enomatic unit (which preserves with Argon) but stopped using anything at all on bottles not in the Enomatic. Never explained why, but has now begun using a VacuVin when he could be using my Argon at no cost. To me this means he doesn't think that anything really works or is necessary. That's kindof what a lot of winebar owners tell me. The reality of wine preservation in most venues seems to be that it's more for 'show' than much else.

                      I'm guessing that he feels the continuous application of Argon in an Enomatic is at least somewhat effective, but nothing will really counteract the effect of leaving a bottle exposed to air for hours at a time during tastings.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        I suspect the wine was flawed to begin with, and that the defects became more apparent when exposed to air.