The Coravin wine access system, which wine writer Robert Parker predicts will revolutionize the way the world drinks wine, is finally here.
The small, hand-held Coravin device was unveiled in Napa Valley last evening at a reception at Bardessono, in Yountville.
Nearly 200 local winemakers and members of the press were present as were Greg Lambrecht, inventor of Coravin, and Nick Lazaris, Coravin’s CEO.
Although it’s said “Necessity is the mother of invention,” in the case of Coravin, Motherhood was the necessity of the invention.
“My wife got pregnant with our second child and I lost my wine drinking partner,” explains Coravin inventor, Greg Lambrecht.
“I quickly tired of pouring out a half-bottle of wine each night so I turned to my medical technology background to solve the problem of wasted wine.”
It helps that, professionally, Greg, 44, has invented surgical needles for spinal taps.
With these skills, Greg invented Coravin, a device that enables you to draw wine from a bottle without peeling off the foil or pulling the cork.
“The key was figuring out how to remove wine from the bottle without introducing oxygen -- so that wine remaining in the bottle would continue to age as it would have, had no wine ever been removed,” Greg explains.
Although Coravin appears to be an overnight success, it has taken Greg 14 years of development to bring the device to market this month.
An ultra-thin, surgical-grade, stainless steel, Teflon-coated, hollow, bullet-shaped, needle passes through the foil and cork to access the wine.
Pressing a trigger releases argon gas into the bottle. Argon, an inert gas, is the third most populous natural gas we breathe (after nitrogen and oxygen).
The pressurized argon pushes wine out through holes in the side of the needle, causing it to flow out a spout, into your glass. At no time does oxygen enter the bottle.
Once the needle is removed, the cork naturally reseals itself, and the remaining wine continues to evolve naturally.
Cork, with 220 million cells per square inch, has highly elastic properties. The cork, which was the closure when you bought the wine, remains the closure, conserving wine remaining in the bottle.
To be clear: Coravin is NOT a preservation device. It is a device to ACCESS wine. It’s a whole new way to get at your wine – one glass at a time, without having to commit to a whole bottle every time you’d like a fresh glass of wine.
What do local winemakers say about Coravin?
KR Rombauer, head of Rombauer Vineyards, whom I call “Captain Coravin,” can be found many nights in a local restaurant, his trusty Coravin in hand, accessing many different bottles of wine. Here’s what KR has to say about Coravin:
“This incredible device permits me to taste wines months – even years! – after a bottle has previously been accessed. It’s the first time in the history of winemaking that we’ve been able to do this!”
“Every glass from a previously Coravin’d bottle tastes like the first glass you would pour had no wine ever been removed from the bottle!”
Here’s what David Duncan, President and CEO Silver Oak Cellars, has to say about Coravin:
“Coravin is great for people who want to enjoy a glass of wine, or even more exciting, have a taste of several wines at once.
Now we can truly enjoy wine the way it was meant to be enjoyed - one glass at a time!”
Here’s Chuck McMinn of Vineyard 29 waxing poetically about Coravin:
“Coravin is going to dramatically change the way fine wines are enjoyed by removing the ‘all or nothing’ choice as to when you might open a bottle. Now you can have a glass of wine from any one of those great bottles in your cellar – anytime.”
How Napaman discovered Coravin
Lest readers forget, napaman was the first journalist anywhere to break the story of Coravin – last January, after I discovered it in a beta trial at Del Posto restaurant, in NYC.
At Del Posto, using the Coravin at tableside, they have been able to serve much more expensive wines without the fear of spoilage that comes from conventionally opening bottles. As such, using the Coravin, they now offer many wines by the glass, ranging in price from $50 to $500 a glass. That’s right, I said $500 A GLASS.
I saw the Coravin in use and decided that not only did I want to buy the device, but I immediately also thought about buying the company! Or at the very least, a small part of it.
Which is what I was able to do. I am now an investor in Coravin. So please understand that despite my unbridled enthusiasm for Coravin, I have a potential gain to make by yapping on about it here.
I have had free use of a Coravin demo model for three months in my home and it has changed the way my wife and I drink wine.
Now every bottle in our cellar is available by-the-glass. I playfully conduct my own vertical, or horizontal, tastings for just the two of us.
When friends come over for dinner, I can offer them tastes from any wine in the cellar; some nights, we “access” a glass from six, or seven, different wines and put the bottles back in the cellar. If I revisit these bottles in a year, there will be no change in the wine.
And nights when Carol, my wife, wants a glass of white and I desire a glass of red, we no longer throw out the remains of two unfinished bottles; we simply “access” a glass of white and a glass of red from their respective bottles and I don’t worry about spoilage – we can return to these bottles another night... another week... even a year later. That’s the beauty of Coravin’ing your wine.
“Every night is now Friday night in our home,” says Carol. “Now we drink our best wines every night; we’re not distressed about losing wine from opened bottles.”
How Coravin came into being and how it was used in trials at Del Posto:
After a year of trials at Del Posto, refinements were made to the Coravin device, which are included in the just-released model called the Coravin 1000.
Over this period, Greg and Joe Bastianich struck up a relationship, which is apparent in this short clip. For the record, restaurateur Joe Bastianich has become an investor in Coravin.
A GIFT FOR NAPAMAN.COM READERS!
As I am connected to Coravin, I wanted to reward anyone who had the curiosity – and time! – to read this far down into my Coravin story.
As such, I’ve arranged with the Coravin team to offer napaman.com readers a special gift: if you order the Coravin Wine Access System ($279 without capsules) and input the special code “napaman” at checkout, you will receive, absolutely free, a 3-pack of argon capsules, which have a $30 value.
If you purchase additional units in the same order, the “napaman” code, input once, will automatically add another free 3-pack of capsules for each Coravin unit you have placed in your cart.
The promo code is time sensitive!
This promotion is good from Friday morning, August 9, through to 9 pm PDT Monday, August 12.
To order your Coravin, or for more information, go to coravin.com.
Wanna see a 30-second clip of the Coravin in action? Go here: