A Useful Guide to the Coravin Wine Preserver
Is Coravin worth it? (Hint: Yes! For the right wine lovers...)
Already familiar with Coravin or just want a quick overview and advice?
What is the Coravin wine system?
The Coravin Wine Preservation System is a group of components which allow you to access wine without exposing the contents of the whole bottle to damaging oxygen. Its purpose is to enable its users to enjoy wine by the glass and conduct wine tastings without having to open a whole bottle, potentially wasting wine.
The Coravin Wine Preservation System consists of several parts. The main unit (the device) attaches to the wine bottle during pouring. Needles, of which there are a variety, are screwed into the device and are the mechanism by which the wine is extracted from the bottle. Recyclable capsules contain 99.99% pure Argon gas and are used to protect the wine in the bottle from oxygen. Screw Caps are available to substitute for metallic screw tops so that the system can be used on screw top bottles, too. Coravin has also developed an Aerator attachment for their systems. All of these accessories are available for purchase and most are available in different bundles for purchase with Coravin Systems.
The All-New Coravin Pivot
There is a new Coravin system called the Pivot. It works similarly to the original Coravins, except that it doesn’t use a needle to access your wine.
This new model is designed for pouring everyday wines, likely to be finished within a few weeks of opening. You still get the benefit of argon-preserved wines, without the precision-engineering of the needle and the clamps.
Learn more about the new Coravin Pivot.
How does Coravin work?
Functionally, Coravin Systems work by inserting a specially designed needle through the natural cork, and then pouring wine, via that needle, into a glass. When the System is removed from the bottle, the cork seals itself (with a few exceptions).
The secret to the smooth pour and preservation is the Coravin Pure Capsule. These capsules contain 99.99% Argon gas which pressurizes the bottle allowing wine to flow through the needle, and prevents oxygen from damaging the remaining wine. The inert gas doesn’t impact the wine, and it continues to age in the bottle, just as it had before you used the Coravin System to access it. Side note: when a wine is damaged by oxygen, we say it has oxidized.
How long will Coravin keep my wine fresh?
Your mileage may vary, but under ideal circumstances — a natural, non-composite cork in good condition, flawless use of the system, and proper cellaring — a bottle can be accessed via a Coravin System with no change in flavor for years — as if the Coravin System had never been used on the bottle. Note: not all wine should be aged for years, and Coravin doesn’t magically make such wine last for years. Learn about wine aging at WineFolly.
What kinds of corks does Coravin work on?
Coravin works best on high-quality natural cork. High-quality natural cork is ideal for wine preservation and will yield the best results with a Coravin System because natural, whole cork is self-sealing (a super important part of how your wine stays fresh). Wines you’ve paid a lot of money for (at least $30) will generally have high-quality natural corks.
If you’ve never given much thought to the cork in a wine bottle beyond whether or not it’s a screw top, then here’s a little Cork 101 for you. The primary classes of cork are as follows: natural cork, agglomerated cork, synthetic cork, and plastic. Within each category there are quality differences.
Agglomerated (sometimes called Technical) cork is like the particle board of cork. It’s made from real cork, but from the leftover pieces of natural cork production which have been glued together in the shape of a cork. These corks have many of the same properties of natural cork but are not intended for long-term aging. They are mostly intended to provide the appearance of cork and the experience of opening a wine bottle in the traditional manner. Since these corks contain natural cork, you can use your Coravin System with them and should expect the same length of preservation.
Synthetic corks and plastic corks are not self-sealing and the Coravin needle will leave a hole in them. Do not use your Coravin System with synthetic or plastic corks. If you're not sure of the type of cork in your bottle, don't use the Coravin on it. Try one of these Coravin alternatives instead.
Does Coravin work with screw tops?
Yes and no. No, you cannot put the Coravin needle through a screw cap. Please don’t try, you’ll be sorry. Because Coravin wants their system to be pretty universal, they’ve invented a way to enjoy the preservation benefit of their signature system with screw cap bottles — they call it the Coravin Screw Cap.
This cap is a replacement for the one that comes on the bottle, and when used properly allows you to continue to access a bottle of wine for three months. It is available for purchase in six-packs, and it comes with some bundles.
Heads up! If you tend to drink a lot of wine with screw caps or plastic corks, we recommend trying the new Coravin Pivot designed just for these wines.
Who uses Coravin?
Coravin Systems are used in professional and home settings around the world. Professional uses include:
- Coravin for wine tastings — This is a great way for wineries, wine stores, and wine distributors to offer smaller wine tasting events without opening a whole bottle.
- Coravin for restaurants and bars — Who doesn’t love to order wine by the glass at a restaurant? Have you ever ordered a glass and it tasted off? I have. I annoy the server by asking them when the bottle was opened, almost always to find out it wasn’t the same day they served it to me. They were trying to save a buck, but all they did was irritate a customer. With Coravin, they can offer a big wine by the glass list and never worry about serving oxidized wine to discerning customers.
Coravin is also used by wine lovers who don’t work in the industry. We can think of a few great uses for a Coravin System for these wine lovers.
- People who want to enjoy wine by the glass at home
- Couples who like different kinds of wine and don’t want to each finish a whole bottle
- Wine collectors who want to explore a wine as it ages — either to enjoy as it ages or just to check in on its progress
- Entertainers who want to offer their guests a variety of wines without worrying about finishing every open bottle during the party
Which Coravin model should you buy?
Coravin has been producing its wine preservation system since 2013 and in the intervening years it has undergone periodic improvements.
At a high level, here’s the difference between the models (we’ll go into greater detail later, including outlining the bundles currently available for purchase).
Model Three is what Coravin calls the “Essential” model — as in, the essence of Coravin. We call it the “basic” model. Functionally, it is exactly the same as Model Five and Model Six. Cheaper finishes keep the cost down a bit. All of the accessories (except those designed specifically for Model Eleven) work with Model Three.
Models Five and Six are basically the same. If you like shiny things (and who doesn’t?) then you should be looking at Model Five or Six. Model Five doesn’t have the fanciest finishes offered, rather it is an upgraded (sleeker) design Model Three. Model Six comes in colors and has chrome-looking finishes.
Model Eleven is a different animal altogether. It’s the first electronic version of Coravin and it has bells and whistles. At first we weren't super enthusiastic about this model, but as we dug in and did our homework, we realized there are lot of smart upgrades in this version.
Models One and Two are discontinued. There is remaining stock both at Coravin.com and other stores, but these models lack the upgraded SmartClamps™. If you're looking to save money on a Coravin, we suggest purchasing a Model Three instead.
Browse Coravin Bundles
The Coravin Model Three is the base model. You get every one of the benefits of the Coravin System and you’re not paying for any bells and whistles.
Best Deal for Model Three. The Model Three Wine Lover Pack is the same as the basic bundle, but includes a Coravin Aerator. The bundle costs only $50 more, but the retail price on the aerator is $69.95, so if you think you want one, this is a good upgrade to buy. Personally, we advocate decanting most wine, and the aerator is the equivalent of decanting your wine with the Coravin Wine Preservation System.
The Model Three Wine Passion Pack is the same as the Wine Lover Pack, but it also includes a Classic Base and five additional screw caps. Upgrading to this bundle saves you around $5 overall, and unless you know you plan to have a lot of screw top wine open at one time, we can’t see why this bundle makes sense.
The Coravin Model Five is a newer model that has sleeker lines, a rubberized grip and a slightly nicer finish than the Model Three. The upgrade is purely aesthetic.
Best Deal for Model Five. The Model Five Wine Aficionado Pack is the same as the basic bundle, but it also includes the Premium Pedestal, a Coravin Aerator, and two Fast Pour needles. The bundle costs only $100 more but the value of the additional accessories is $186.53. Even if you don’t care about the display stand, you’re getting good value out of the aerator and the extra needles.
The Model Five Wine Education Bundle is the same as the basic bundle, but also includes the Classic Base, a Coravin Aerator, six Coravin Screw Caps, a Three Needle Kit, and eight Coravin Capsules. The value of the extra accessories does not come to $249.95 so this is not a good deal. If it goes on sale for more than $30 or 10% than it becomes a deal. Until then, pick the Wine Aficionado Bundle or even the Basic Bundle and buy the right accessories for your use a la carte.
The Coravin Model Six has sleeker lines, a patterned rubber grip, chrome accents and nicer finishes than the Model Five. The upgrade is purely aesthetic, and comes in three colors — Metallic Red, Silver, and Piano Black (it’s shiny).
Model Six bundles come with a Carrying Case. If you think you’ll be bringing your Coravin to parties or on vacation, consider upgrading to Model Six.
The most basic configuration costs $399.95 and includes three argon Coravin Pure Capsules and two Coravin Screw Caps, and the aforementioned Carrying Case. This bundle lets you try Coravin for roughly 9 bottles of wine, and allows you to try it out on screw top wines, too.
The Coravin Model Six is also available in two other bundles.
Best Deal for Model Six. The Model Six Ultimate Wine Lover’s Pack is the same as the basic bundle, but it also includes the Premium Pedestal, a Coravin Aerator, a Premium Needle, and three additional argon capsules. The bundle costs only $100 more but the value of the additional accessories is $236.80. This is a great value all the way around and we like that it offers an upgraded needle and only two screw caps.
The Model Six Ultimate Wine Journey Pack is the same as the basic bundle, but it also includes the Premium Pedestal, a Coravin Aerator, a Three-Needle Kit, four additional screw caps, and nine additional argon capsules. The bundle costs $100 more than the Wine Lover’s Pack, but the value of the additional accessories is $99. If you’re giving it as a gift or you want all of the stuff that comes with this bundle, go for it. Otherwise it’s not a deal and we recommend buying the basic bundle and whatever accessories you want a la carte.
Model Six — 2020 Limited Edition in Mica
A special, limited edition Model Six has been released for the 2020 Holiday season. This new, neutral color called Mica, is versatile and the bundles they're offering are solid deals.
The same price and configuration as the standard Model Six basic configuation, it includes three argon Coravin Pure Capsules and two Coravin Screw Caps, and the aforementioned Carrying Case. This bundle lets you try Coravin for roughly 9 bottles of wine, and allows you to try it out on screw top wines, too.
Only available at Coravin.com, the Model Six Mica Gift Set is Coravin's holiday gift bundle for 2020. A generous gift, this bundle is fairly priced for its contents.
The Coravin Model Eleven is the first and only electronic model. It is powered by a rechargeable battery, charged via an included USB power cord.
The Model Eleven has an “automatic pour” function. With all previous models, you have to manually pull a little trigger toggle in order to begin pouring, making the use of a Coravin a two-handed job. In Model Eleven, the unit will automatically begin pouring when the capsule is higher than the pour spout.
This feature actually has a second benefit which is perhaps even more important — the system itself controls how much argon gas is released into the bottle, not the operator. This will lead to long-term savings on argon capsules.
The LED display has a battery icon which communicates when the battery needs charging, is charging, and is charged. The “light ring” is blue when the system is ready for use, green when the SmartClamps are properly engaged and the system is ready to pour, and red when it’s time to replace the Coravin Pure Capsule (this is our favorite feature).
A super cool feature also appears on the LED display. You can choose between a “sip” which is a 1-2 oz pour, and a “glass” which is a 5-6 oz pour (¼ of a bottle). These different modes use argon gas differently, as does changing the pour speed. Coravin provides tips on how to optimize your use of Argon gas in their User Guide.
The last element of the Coravin Model Eleven is that it can connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone and the Coravin Moments app. There are two aspects to the app — one is that it communicates with your Coravin Model Eleven, and the other, available to anyone whether they own a Coravin System or not, includes pairing ideas for food, music, and movies.
We find the pairing aspect of the app to be contrived, and we’re not quite sure how we feel about turning the Model Eleven into a connected device — there is little information on their website (or in the app) about the features available in the app if it’s not connected to a Model Eleven.
We find the pricing on the Model Eleven very confusing. We’re just going to take everything at face value and make our recommendations accordingly.
The Model Eleven Wine Collector Set retails for $499.95 and includes 4 Coravin Pure Capsules, 2 Coravin Screw Caps, an Aerator and a cloth carrying case. Whether this is your first Coravin or you're upgrading, this is a solid deal because of the effort- and money-saving features included in the Model Eleven.
Best Deal for Model Eleven. The Experience Bundle was the first Model Eleven offering, previously priced at $999.95 which is an absurdly high price for the included accessories, but it’s also currently 44% off, making it a great price at $559.95. These kinds of games are maddening for the price-conscious consumer, but the bottom line is what matters and this deal rocks.
What are the different Coravin accessories?
The Coravin Wine Preservation System is just that — a system. The Device itself is very flexible in that it can handle many different attachments, optimizing your use of the system for how you drink wine. Here is a breakdown of what is available in the accessories department.
The needle is a core component of the Coravin wine system. The needles are color coded to be easy to distinguish among them if you opt to have a variety of them. All units come with what they call a Standard needle.
Coravin also produces a variety of other specialized needles, from left to right: Vintage needle, Standard needle, Fast Pour needle, Premium needle. These are the needles for all models except Model Eleven.
The Standard needle has the black band (making the band hard to see, but still easily distinguishable from the others). Its pour speed is 25-29 seconds for a 5-oz. pour. Note, if you have an older Coravin System, this is a newer version of the Standard needle and is ~20% faster than the older version. For most uses, the Standard needle is what you need. You can purchase a two-needle pack of Standard needles for $49.95 (regular price is $59.90) or as part of the Three-Needle Kit for $69.95.
The Fast Pour needle is a slightly wider needle and has a red band. It pours a 5-oz. glass of wine in 19-25 seconds. Like the Standard needle, this needle has been upgraded and if you have an older version, you’ll find this needle is ~20% faster than the original Fast Pour needle. The whole benefit of this needle is to save 6-9 seconds every time you pour a glass of wine. It can be purchased as a three-pack for $69.95 (regular price is $89.95) or as part of the Three-Needle Kit for $69.95. It is also a part of the Wine Journey Kit along with a Coravin Aerator, six Coravin Screw Caps, and two Coravin Capsules. The kit is on sale for $99.95 (regular price is $147.80) and is a good value at this price.
The Vintage needle with a silver band is specially designed for older bottles with older corks (at least 5 years, but more like 10+ years) and is slightly narrower than the Standard needle. The pour time is significantly slower at 53-57 seconds for a 5-oz. pour. The Vintage needle can be purchased on its own for $29.95 or as part of the Three-Needle Kit for $69.95.
How often do I need to replace Coravin needles?
Under normal usage, most of the Coravin needles are long-lasting. When the black Teflon coating on the bottom of your needle starts to wear away, you’ll see silver showing through. That’s when it’s time to buy replacement needles. Proper care, storage, and usage — or lack thereof — will impact longevity.
Coravin Pure Capsules
Branded as Coravin Pure Capsules, these are the workhorse of the preservation system. As you pour wine out of the bottle, the Coravin pumps argon gas from the capsules in, pressurizing the bottle so wine can flow freely out of the system, and then protecting the remaining wine from oxygen. Like everything in life, there are different levels of quality of argon gas, and Coravin’s capsules are called Pure because they undergo a proprietary purification process (say that one five times fast!). You can only use Coravin Pure capsules in a Coravin system.
How long does a Coravin Pure Capsule last?
According to Coravin, each capsule pours approximately 15 5-ounce glasses of wine (or 3 bottles of wine). One of the most common complaints among owners of a Coravin system is that they go through capsules much faster than this. There are varying reasons for this, but it’s definitely important to note that your mileage may vary and you can’t operate your Coravin System without the argon capsules.
Important tip for all Coravin Models! If you’re planning to finish the bottle, remove the Coravin and uncork the bottle as you normally would. This is a huge opportunity not to waste argon gas.
From Coravin Models Two through Six User Guides:
“DO NOT unscrew Capsule Cup until Capsule is empty. Unscrewing Capsule Cup will cause remaining gas to be quickly released and wasted. Press trigger quickly to check for gas. If a hissing sound is heard, Capsule still has gas.
Before use, always check that Needle is tightly screwed in place.
To reduce overall use of gas, press Trigger quickly while pouring, repeating only when pour slows. Holding Trigger down for long periods of time wastes gas.”
From the Coravin Model Eleven User Guide:
“On average, each Coravin Pure Capsule will enable you to pour about fifteen 5 ounce glasses of wine. Model Eleven allows you to switch easily between sip and glass modes to help you optimize the use of your Coravin Capsules. You can also adjust your pour size and speed directly from the Coravin Moments App. It is important to remember that sip/glass modes are not the same thing as measured pours. Based on your selections, the System will utilize Argon gas differently - when you increase your pour speed or size, more Argon gas will be used and when you decrease your pour speed or size the System will utilize less gas.
To get the most out of each Coravin Pure Capsule, we recommend setting your slider to a slower pour speed. If you hear a hissing sound when you stand your bottle up after pouring you are using more Argon gas than is necessary for your pour. Consider decreasing the pour size to ensure better optimization. And, don’t forget, it takes more Argon gas to pour when you get down to the bottom of the bottle, so pull the cork if you know you will be drinking the rest of the bottle that day.”
How much are Coravin capsules?
As is common in retail, the more you buy the more you save. Coravin’s pricing on its capsules is static and rewards both bulk purchasing and automatic delivery (a subscription). Prices range from $2.50 per bottle to $2.99 per bottle and the argon capsules are sold in packs of 3, 6, 12, and 24.
Coravin Screw Caps
You can’t use the Coravin needle on a screw top wine, so they invented a replacement cap that works great with the needle.
When you’re ready to access a bottle (that’s Coravin’s way of saying “use the Coravin System”) you’ll first quickly replace the bottle’s screw top with a Coravin Screw Cap. These specially-adapted caps screw right onto the bottle and allow you to use the Coravin on that bottle for up to three months.
Coravin Screw Caps come in several of the bundles they offer, but they can also be purchased as part of six-packs. Both are $29.95 and essentially enable you to have six different screw top wines under Coravin at a time.
Choose a six-pack of all “regular size” screw caps or the Variety six-pack with four “regular size” screw caps and two “large size” screw caps for larger bottles. We recommend the second option because you'll be prepared for any wine bottle.
Each Screw Cap can be used for up to 50 insertions.
It’s sort of ironic that a system designed to keep oxygen out of your wine offers an accessory for getting oxygen into your wine. Of course, that’s the whole point — let oxygen improve the wine in your glass while keeping it out of the bottle.
If you currently decant your wines or have an aerator like a Vinturi, you’ll know the value of this aeration process. If you don’t use a decanter for your regular wine consumption, we’ll quickly explain the decanting/aeration benefit.
What exactly is aeration?
The parts of wine that we enjoy the most are the aromatics — that which we can smell and taste. These compounds “come alive” when exposed to oxygen (a chemical reaction), allowing the wine to “develop” over time. Decanting and aeration accelerate this development process which would happen much more slowly if the wine was left in the bottle and merely swirled in a glass. There is not consensus nor consistency about how much oxygen any given wine should be exposed to, so it’s worth experimenting with these processes yourself.
What is the Coravin Aerator?
The Coravin Aerator is a small attachment for the pour spout. It’s aeration is achieved by pushing wine through carefully placed and sized holes which create small jets of wine. These jets expand the surface area of wine exposed to air, thereby rapidly aerating the wine as it enters the glass.
Using it is equivalent to decanting a wine for 60-90 minutes. This is a must-have feature and highly recommended for use on all of your wines, but most especially young reds and heavy-bodied whites suitable for aging.
You can purchase a Coravin Aerator at Coravin.com for $69.95, but it is also a part of many of the Coravin bundles.
Coravin Display Stands and Travel Cases
What happens to your Coravin System when you’re not using it probably isn’t the first thing you’re thinking about when choosing which one you want to buy. Luckily, Coravin has thought about this for you.
When not in use, your Coravin System will probably live in a drawer. Unless of course your bundle includes a carrying case or a display stand.
There are two Coravin cases. One is for Models One through Six ($39.95) and the other is for Model Eleven ($99.95).
There are two types of display stands available for Coravin Systems — the “base” which comes in metal ($39.95) and plastic ($29.95) and the Premium Pedestal ($69.95). These stands are sometimes available in Coravin bundles, but can also be purchased on their own or as part of an accessory bundle.
The Coravin Pivot
Coravin has just released their all-new Pivot. This new model is designed for pouring everyday wines, likely to be finished within a few weeks of opening.
The Coravin Pivot works similarly to their screw cap solution. You open the bottle of wine as you normally would and quickly put a Pivot stopper into the bottle. This part of the process will expose the bottle to a small amount of oxygen. Then you pop the top of the Pivot stopper and insert the Pivot device.
At this point it works just like a regular Coravin — you press the button, pour your wine, and the Pivot replaces air in the bottle with Coravin’s 99.9% pure Argon gas.
Some things to know about the new Coravin Pivot:
- Pivot is slightly more efficient at using Argon gas! In addition to saving money with its $99 price point, you also can preserve around 33% more wine per capsule (roughly 20 5-oz pours per capsule vs 15 with the regular Coravin).
- At present, you can’t buy replacement stoppers. The Pivot comes with two stoppers which are expected to last about a year with proper care (they are not dishwasher safe). Replacement stoppers should be in inventory at Coravin.com by early 2021.
- At present there is no aerator for the Pivot. One is in the works and is expected to be available by mid-year 2021. You might consider their by-the-glass decanter while you wait.
- The Pivot comes in fun colors!
Where to buy a Coravin?
Okay, now that you’ve decided which Coravin System you want and which accessories you’ll need, you need to figure out where to buy your Coravin Model. Let us make this easy for you – buy it at Coravin.com. Seems obvious, but before you say “everything’s cheaper on Amazon and I get free shipping,” read our Five Reasons to Buy at Coravin.com list below.
Five Reasons to Buy at Coravin.com
- All orders over $75 come with free shipping at Coravin.com.
Coravin uses the MRP pricing model (this means their retailers all agree to charge the same price as a condition of being allowed to sell Coravin). This is common practice with many well-known brands — like Apple, COACH, and Ralph Lauren. It also means you can shop till you’re blue in the face and you won’t find better prices from an authorized seller than on Coravin.com.
The Coravin bundles are standardized. Other retailers don’t have different bundles available. The caveat here is that retailers may have older inventory still available that Coravin doesn’t sell on its website.
- Because it’s Coravin’s own website, they can offer discounts and specials their retailers can’t.
- If you buy your Coravin System at Coravin.com, you get a 30-day money back guarantee. Good luck returning a Coravin product to some discounter that offered you a better price against the rules.
- If you’re buying Coravin Pure Capsules, Coravin offers a subscription model where you save an extra 10% off the retail price.
Coravin Essentials — The Quick Read
- Coravin is a system designed to do something that was impossible before they invented it, pour a glass of wine from virtually any bottle you own without thinking about when you want the next glass. It’s not the simplest tool in the world, but for the right customers, it’s worth the effort.
- Coravin should never be used with Sparkling wine like Champagne or Prosecco.
- Coravin is best with natural cork and can also be used with screw top wine bottles. We don’t recommend using Coravin with cheap wine — each use has a cost associated with it (because of the argon). To preserve cheaper wine, look at the Coravin Alternatives section below.
- Buy from Coravin.com instead of a third-party. They offer free shipping and the best prices — plus a 30-day money back guarantee.
Which Coravin model is right for you?
- If you want a model that looks as good as it works, choose a Model Six package that works for you.
- If you just want the basics, buy a Model Three basic system and some extra capsules.
- If you want the electronic Model Eleven, the Experience Bundle is a great deal — currently 44% off.
- If you tend to drink a lot of wine with screw caps or plastic corks, we recommend trying the new Coravin Pivot designed specially for these wines.
We hear this persistent rumor about something called “leftover wine.” This isn’t something we experience in our house, but clearly it occurs. As many wine lovers seem to be plagued with this onerous burden, there are many wine preservation products on the market.
Here are some Coravin alternatives that we think are worth considering and some we’d avoid. To be clear — the problem is that wine left in a bottle that has been exposed to air starts to “go bad” very quickly due to exposure to oxygen. These products are all designed to deal with excess oxygen (oxidization).
If you’re not so hot on gizmos and gadgets, we recommend trying PureWine. It was designed to remove the elements of wine which cause headaches and other side effects of drinking wine — histamines and sulfites.
It does those things, but it also removes oxidized particles from the wine. Really, you should go check out this product. They offer a “by the glass” version called The Wand, and a full-bottle product called The Wave.
When you order through DrinkPureWine.com you can try one box at a time or join their subscription service and save 15% on your purchases.
Gadgets Other than Coravin
There are some other gizmos on the market. They generally fall into a few types of products.
Category One: Oxygen-removing products. Two options in this category include Repour and Sello. These passive products are bottle stoppers which filter out oxygen when in use.
Repour has fanatical following of wine professionals, especially restaurant and bar managers who use it in their By the Glass programs. They like it because it’s quick, easy, and effective. Note: it is a single use item (one Repour per bottle), though it is made of recyclable plastic.
Category Two: Air-removing products, otherwise known as vacuum pumps. These buy you — at most — an extra day for whites and extra two days for reds. I’d say with products like Repour on the market, the only reason to stick with a vacuum is a preference for reusable components.
Category Three: Pump your own gas. There are products where you manually pump in your own gas (via pressurized can). You still end up exposing the wine to oxygen, so if you’re looking for the argon solution, you should stick with Coravin.
Category Four: Minimize future oxygen exposure. There are products like Savino and Eto which essentially float a cover on the wine in a custom decanter. By the time you’ve got the wine in the decanter you’ve exposed it to oxygen, so the results really won’t be much better than a vacuum pump solution.
Category Five: Coravin-on-steroids countertop appliances. You put the bottle into an enclosure which acts as an argon-gas preserver and dispenser. These are sometimes cool-looking, but in general they’re just expensive versions of Coravin, they take up a lot of space, and they consume a lot of energy. Plus, you still have to replace your argon source. Eurocave Wine Art and Plum are the most popular of these.
Buy Wine By the Glass
The need for all of these products would be eliminated if you purchase your wine “by the glass.” There are some great options for single-serving wine on the market. We'd start here: Usual, VineBox, In Good Taste, and wine in cans.
Usual Wines offers six-ounce bottles shaped like a flask, containing good quality wine.
Their line-up includes: a North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine, a Santa Barbara Rosé, and a Sonoma County Red Blend. We’ve tasted the red and the rosé and if we were on a strict by-the-glass regimen, we’d be delighted for these to be our daily drinkers.
You can get a subscription box ($96/12 glasses) or order one-time boxes ($80/12 glasses) in multiples of 12. You can choose a mixed line-up or just one color.
VineBox (Usual’s sister-company) offers a quarterly selection of nine 3-oz glasses. This is geared more toward wine tasting than drinking by the glass, but it’s fun to open two or three tastes of wine a night.
These wines are not an everyday sort of selection. Sommelier Tyler Kennedy chooses wines from all over Europe that would not otherwise get imported to the US. Unique grapes and regions make this an interesting wine journey in a box.
You can order a one-time box to try it out (prices vary) or get a subscription for $79 per box.
In Good Taste
A newer company offering another take on wine by the glass, In Good Taste is a California-centric wine adventure, 5.5 ounces at a time.
Their Wild Child flight contains eight bottles from around California including a mix of red, white, and rosé. Grapes as diverse as Dolcetto and Viognier represent regions from Russian River Valley to Napa Valley to Paso Robles and beyond.
Their newest flight is called “United Grapes of America” and is the first time we’ve seen a company purposely show off some of the country’s lesser-known regions — New York, Texas, Virginia, and Arizona show up alongside Washington, Oregon, and California. Too bad they missed out on Idaho!
The brand is fun and you can buy full-size bottles of what you love. But then you’ll still need one of those “leftover wine” gizmos ;)
Wine in a Can
We have seen a strong embrace of wine in a can from adventurous wineries and wine lovers at the same time some people are saying, “Wait. Wine in a can?!” Yes, we can!
We’re big fans of the can around here. It’s super recyclable, it blocks all UV light (also damaging to wine), has a lighter carbon-footprint than glass (because it’s actually lighter), and you can take it places you can’t take glass (like public parks).
Some great wineries producing wine in a can you should try: Underwood, Field Recordings, and West + Wilder. Keep an eye on the size of the can — Underwood offers 375mL cans which is 1/2 of a bottle!