Coravin Wine Preservation System Guide

Coravin: A Useful Guide to Wine Preservation

Is Coravin worth it? (Hint: Yes! For the right wine lovers...)

Coravin essentials

Coravin is 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 to drink the next glass.

Coravin Pivot comes in four fun colors

The original Coravin models are a wine wonder to be sure, but there’s a new model called the Pivot which obsoletes the original needle-based systems for most wine lovers. If you want to pour a glass of wine today and work your way through the bottle in less than four weeks, I strongly recommend reading my Coravin Pivot Guide.

Regarding the original Coravin systems, now called Timeless, this guide has everything you need to know before you buy. The bottom line: It’s not the simplest tool in the world, but for the right customers, it’s worth the effort.

Pro Tip: If you have considered a Coravin in the past, nearly everything has changed since I first wrote this guide a year ago. The bundles have changed, old systems have been marked down for liquidation, and pricing on accessories is different, too.

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.

There are now three distinct kinds of Coravin systems: Timeless, Pivot, and Sparkling. Timeless is the name now attached to all models of the original needle-based Coravin systems.

The Timeless Coravin Wine Preservation System consists of several parts.

The Timeless Coravin System Components

A newer model, the Coravin Pivot, does away with the needles and all bottles use Pivot stoppers (no more distinguishing between screw caps and cork closures). It still uses the same argon capsules, but has its own specially-designed aerator.

The newest model is designed for sparkling wines (for which Timeless Coravin and Pivot should never be used). The Coravin Sparkling comes as a kit with the charger, CO2 capsules (instead of argon), and special sparkling wine bottle stoppers.

How does Coravin work?

The Timeless Coravin system works by inserting a specially designed needle through the natural cork, and then pouring wine, via that needle, into a glass. When a Timeless Coravin System is removed from the bottle, the cork seals itself (with caveats).

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.

In a nutshell: The level of protection against oxidation is the primary difference between a Timeless Coravin and a Coravin Pivot. When correctly using a Coravin Pivot, you will expose the wine in the bottle to a small amount of oxygen. When correctly using a Timeless Coravin you will expose none of the wine in the bottle to oxygen.

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 Timeless Coravin model with no change in flavor or quality for years — as if the Coravin System had never been used on the bottle.

A Timeless Coravin with a screw cap closure will keep your wine fresh for up to four weeks. A Coravin Pivot will keep your wine fresh for up to four weeks. A Coravin Sparkling will keep your wine fresh and bubbly for up to two weeks.

Note: Not all wine should be aged for years, and Coravin doesn’t magically make such wine last for years.

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.

Different kinds of corks

Natural cork is what most people think is in their wine bottles. It's a single piece of high-quality cork that has been cut to fit a wine bottle. 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. Wines you’ve paid a lot of money for will generally have high-quality natural corks.

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.

Technical 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.

Coravin Screw Caps on Bottles Timeless Screw Caps on Wine Bottles

Does Coravin work with screw tops?

Yes, but... Coravin makes a special cap for the Timeless models because you cannot put the Coravin needle through a screw cap (please don’t try, you’ll be sorry).

The Coravin Screw Cap $4.99 each 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.

One or two screw caps come with some Timeless bundles, but you can also buy a six-pack of Coravin Screw Caps $29.95.

If you tend to drink a lot of wine with screw caps or plastic corks, I recommend trying the new Coravin Pivot designed just for these wines at an affordable price of just $99.

Who uses Coravin?

Coravin Systems are used in professional settings like bars and restaurants, and also in wine lovers’ homes around the world.

Coravin at a wine bar Coravin in use Coravin on a table
Photos courtesy of Coravin

Professional uses include:

Coravin is also used by wine lovers who don’t work in the wine industry. A few great uses for a Coravin System for these wine lovers.

Coravin models

The Coravin wine preservation system has been in production since 2013, with periodic improvements. Recently they have added two entirely new wine preservation systems to their line-up. When the new models were released, Coravin switched from calling each Model Three, Model Six, etc. to Timeless Three, Timeless Six, and Timeless Eleven.

All of the Coravin Models

At a high level, here’s the difference between the models (I’ll go into greater detail later, including outlining the bundles currently available for purchase).

Model Three is now split into two versions, the Timeless Three+ and the Timeless Three SL. The original Model Three is exactly the same as Model Five and Model Six except for its finishes. It’s the perfect choice for someone who doesn’t care about the aesthetics of the unit (it’s nice looking enough for a gadget, but finished with simple plastics). 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, now discontinued, still doesn’t have the fanciest finishes, but it’s an upgraded, sleeker design from the 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. I’m only super enthusiastic about one of those features — the LED display turns red when it’s time to replace your capsule. A+ for utility here. The other features are “nice to have” toys for showing off to your philistine friends who don’t have their own Coravin — like connecting the unit to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can tell the unit how fast to pour your wine.

Models One and Two are discontinued. both have the “Traditional Clamps” and are discontinued. The original clamps were kinda hard to use, so they invented the “Smart Clamps” for future models. I don’t advise buying a Model One or a Model Two as they’re quite outdated. Coravin currently sells a Model Two with two argon capsules for $209.97 until they’re gone, but you can get a Model Three with a screw cap closure for just $109.97 at Coravin.com.

Side note: There is also a discontinued Model Eight from the distant past that shows up in early professional reviews of the Coravin Wine System.

All Coravin Timeless models come with the Standard Needle and the needle cleaning tool. Shipping is included on all orders over $75 at Coravin.com, so any of these bundles will ship free.

Browse Coravin Bundles Model Three · Model Five · Model Six · Model Eleven

Timeless Three (Previously Model Three)

Coravin Timeless Three SL — Wine Preservation Starter Set Buy it for $149.00
Timeless Three SL Coravin Timeless Three SL — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $199.00
Timeless Three+

The Timeless Three SL represents the new entry-level model for needle-based Coravin wine preservation systems. This “starter kit” comes with a Coravin and a single argon Coravin Pure Capsule from $5.83 each. This newer version of the Model Three has an upgraded argon dispenser button and a different handle for holding the Coravin while pouring your wine. It only comes in this medium matte gray color. Buy it for $149.00

The Timeless Three+ is all black, with the same new handle and button as the SL. In addition to the Coravin device you get two argon Coravin Pure Capsules from $5.83 each, two Coravin Screw Caps $4.99 each, and a new Timeless Aerator $29.95 which appears to be designed for the Timeless Three. Buy it for $199.00

Coravin Timeless Three SL — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $199.00
Best Choice: Model Three+

Which is the best version of Coravin Model Three?

Between the two Timeless Three models, I’d choose the Timeless Three+ — the bundle is a great value compared to the SL.

If you don't think you'll keep a bottle of wine open for more than a few weeks, check out the Coravin Pivot as a less-expensive, easier to use alternative to the Model Three or Timeless Three.

Model Five

Coravin Model Five is discontinued. You can no longer order it on Coravin.com but there is some remaining inventory out in the world. These are at Amazon and are standard Coravin bundles.

Coravin Model Five — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $230.00
Basic Bundle Coravin Model Five — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $289.95 Upgraded Bundle

The basic bundle includes three argon Coravin Pure Capsules from $5.83 each and one Coravin Screw Cap $4.99 each. This bundle lets you try Coravin for roughly 9 bottles of wine, and allows you to try it out on screw top wines, too. Buy it for $230.00

The upgraded bundle is a better value with $100 worth of useful upgrades for $60 more. It includes three argon Coravin Pure Capsules from $5.83 each and one Coravin Screw Cap $4.99 each, a Timeless Aerator $29.95, a Fast Pour Needle $30, and a Fabric Carry Case $39.95. Buy it for $289.95

Coravin Timeless Three SL — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $199.00
Best Choice: Timeless Three+

Coravin Model Three vs Model Five

Model Three and Model Five are functionally the same thing as they both have the upgraded Smart Clamps. The Model Five is a sleeker-looking package and its bundles come configured with different accessories. As the Model Three is currently heavily discounted, I would buy a Timeless Three+ because it is a better value than the Timeless Three SL.

If you don't think you’ll keep a bottle of wine open for more than a few weeks, check out the Coravin Pivot as a less-expensive, easier to use alternative to the Timeless Three.

Model Six

The Coravin Model Six has Model Five’s sleeker lines, but with shinier finishes and chrome accents. Its bundles all include the Fabric Carry Case $39.95.

Coravin Timeless Six+ — Wine Preservation Gift Set Buy it for $299.00 Coravin Timeless Six+ — Wine Preservation Gift Set Buy it for $299.00 Coravin Model Six — Ultimate Wine Journey Gift Bundle Buy it for $299.00

The Model Six is now the Timeless Six+ and it comes in four colors — Metallic Burgundy, Metallic Midnight Blue, Piano Black (not yet available), and Silver.

The Timeless Six+ is the only bundle available right now. No matter which color you choose, a Timeless Six+ includes three argon Coravin Pure Capsules from $5.83 each, six Coravin Screw Caps $4.99 each, a Timeless Aerator $29.95, and a Fabric Carry Case $39.95. This bundle lets you try Coravin for roughly 9 bottles of wine, and allows you to try it out on screw top wines, too.

Note: There are also a few of last year’s Special Edition color “Mica” running around the Internet, but the bundles cost the same amount with fewer screw caps and no aerator. Unless you just have to have that color, I'd choose one of the options above.

Coravin Timeless Three SL — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $199.00
Best Choice: Model Three

Coravin Model Three vs Model Six

Model Three and Model Six are functionally the same thing as they both have the upgraded Smart Clamps.

The Model Six is a sleeker-looking device and its bundles come configured with different accessories. As the Model Three is currently heavily discounted, I would buy a Model Three Wine Lover Bundle and add accessories as needed.

Coravin Model Five — Wine Preservation Gift Bundle Buy it for $289.95
Best Choice: Model Five

Coravin Model Five vs Model Six

Model Five (discontinued) and Model Six are functionally the same thing as they both have the upgraded Smart Clamps.

If you’re an impatient person who mostly drinks wine with corks (not screw caps), I would choose the Model 5 upgraded bundle (while it's still available). It’s a tiny bit cheaper than the Timeless Six+ but comes with the Fast Pour Needle $30 and only one Coravin Screw Cap $4.99 each.

Model Eleven

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.

Coravin Timeless Eleven — Collector Gift Bundle Buy it for $499.95

The Timeless Eleven (previously the Model Eleven Wine Collector Set) includes four argon Coravin Pure Capsules from $5.83 each, two Coravin Screw Caps $4.99 each, a Timeless Aerator $29.95, and a Fabric Carry Case $39.95.

Whether this is your first Coravin or you’re treating yourself to an upgrade, consider the effort- and money-saving features included in the Model Eleven.

The Model Eleven, now the Timeless Eleven, costs a lot more than its analog counterparts. While most of the “upgrades” are kind of superfluous, there are a couple of great features in this version.

Better argon management. As an imperfect human being, it could take a lot of practice to learn how to maximize your argon gas management in a regular Coravin. The Model Eleven manages the use of argon gas for you. Just tip to pour and the device does the rest.

Know when it’s time to replace the capsule. Alongside dispensing the right amount of argon, this Coravin model can tell you when it’s time to replace your capsule (the blue LED ring turns red). Never wonder if you’ve replaced it too soon or if you’ll run out mid-pour.

Pour the right amount. Another nice feature that’s been automated is the ability to select your pour size. 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.

Technically the Coravin Model Eleven is a connected device. You can use Bluetooth to connect it to your smartphone via the Coravin Moments app. If that’s important to you, it’s a nice feature. Since the app isn’t necessary to control the device, to me it’s extraneous. The rest of the app serves as a gimmicky partnership with Delectable and Netflix.

Where to buy a Coravin?

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. Let me 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 my Five Reasons to Buy at Coravin.com list below.

Five Reasons to Buy at Coravin.com

  1. All orders over $75 come with free shipping at Coravin.com.
  2. 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.
  3. Because it’s Coravin’s own website, they can offer discounts and specials their retailers can’t.
  4. 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.
  5. If you’re buying Coravin Pure Capsules you can join Club Coravin. You’ll get special pricing on capsules, a one-year extension on your warranty, and free shipping on orders over $50.
Shop Coravin.com

Other Places to Buy Coravin

Coravin Alternatives

I 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 I think are worth considering and some I’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).

PureWine — Not a Gadget · More Gadgets

PureWine Ad Buy PureWine

PureWine
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.

Save 20% on your first order with code WELCOME20

Gadgets Other than Coravin

There are some other gizmos on the market. They generally fall into a few types of products.

Buy Repour at Amazon

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.

Buy Private Preserve at Amazon

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.

Buy Savino at Amazon

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.

Jessyca Frederick

Guide by: Jessyca Frederick

Inspired by frequent questions from friends and family about different wines and wine practices, Jessyca writes Useful Wine Guides so that people she doesn’t know might benefit from her knowledge and desire to share information, too.