Coravin Pivot Guide

Coravin Pivot: A Useful Wine Guide

Is the Pivot the right Coravin for me? Probably!

Coravin overview

Coravin — the company that invented an industry-standard wine preservation system — has expanded their product line, adding an affordable version called The Pivot and a special version for sparkling wine and champagne.

Coravin Pivot comes in four fun colors

It used to be that new models retained the same basic functionality of the original — insert a needle through cork to access wine while preventing exposure of oxygen to the wine. These new models mostly featured upgraded finishes, shiny colors, improved clamps, etc. making shopping for a Coravin kind of confusing. The Pivot is a whole new approach to the Coravin concept.

My original Coravin Guide will help you sort through the variety of available Coravin systems, as well as help you decide which Coravin is right for your wine habit, but this guide is designed to highlight the new Pivot specifically. Compare Pivot to existing Coravin models or jump ahead to read my review of the Coravin Pivot.

What is a Coravin Pivot?

The Coravin Pivot is a simpler preservation experience designed for “everyday wine,” likely to be finished within a few weeks of opening. The Pivot allows you to open a bottle of wine with minimal oxygen exposure and then easily pour a glass or two. When you’re done drinking for the day, you put it in the fridge and access that same bottle up to four weeks later.

My black Coravin Pivot

How does the Coravin Pivot work?

The Coravin wine preservation system replaces oxygen in a wine bottle with 100% pure argon. The older models use a needle which punctures the cork to access the wine, but The Pivot works a little differently.

How to use the Pivot. First, you remove the cork from the bottle and quickly replace it with a Coravin Pivot Stopper. Then you pop the top of the stopper, insert the Coravin unit into the stopper, tip the bottle over, press the button, and start pouring. When you’re done pouring your wine glass(es), you remove the Pivot and close the stopper in the bottle. That’s it!

Remove the cork
1. Remove the cork Insert stopper
2. Insert the Coravin stopper Insert Coravin Pivot
3. Insert the Coravin Pivot Pour your wine
4. Pour your wine

Bonus: Because you remove the original cork or screw cap completely, the Coravin Pivot works with any kind of wine bottle (but not sparkling wines, you need this for that).

What are Coravin 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 protect 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!). The Coravin system requires you to use Coravin Pure capsules (there are no capsule alternatives).

My black Coravin Pivot

How long do Coravin capsules last in a Pivot?

Interestingly, the Coravin Pivot is more efficient at using gas than some of its more expensive counterparts. Your mileage may vary, but you can expect to pour roughly 20 5-oz glasses (approximately four standard 750mL bottles) of wine per capsule.

Tips: Extend the life of your Coravin Capsules. Only use Coravin when you’re specifically planning not to finish a bottle and don’t use the Coravin Pivot to pour the bottle’s last glass(es).

Learn more about Coravin Capsules in my Coravin Accessories guide.

Four bottles of wine
Photo by Thomas Hawk found at Flickr

Compare the Pivot to other Coravin systems

The primary differences between the Pivot and other Coravin models are twofold: you can preserve wine longer with the needle-based models, but the Pivot is easier to use and more practical for most wine drinkers. The other major difference between the Pivot and Timeless models is that the Pivot is 33% more efficient in its use of argon, reducing the cost of capsules over time.

If you plan to age wine at home and want to check in on it as it develops over time, or if you plan to drink very expensive wine at any later date, the needle-based models are a better choice as they offer more stringent protection against oxidation than the Pivot does. Compare needle-based Coravin models in my guide.

If this doesn’t sound like how you’ll use your Coravin, I recommend the Pivot or Pivot+ compared to all needle-based Coravin models, but here are some details to consider.

Coravin Pivot vs Pivot+

Coravin Pivot — A Simpler Experience for Everyday Wine Buy it for $99.00
Pivot Coravin Pivot Plus — Upgraded Coravin Pivot with Aerator Buy it for $129.99
Pivot+

The Coravin Pivot+ is the same basic model as The Coravin Pivot, but it comes bundled with a special aerator and an extra Coravin Pure Capsule of argon gas. An aerator is a must-have accessory when enjoying wine by the glass. Aeration brings wine to life by “waking up” the aromatic components while exposing the wine to air between the bottle and the glass. The effect of aeration is like that of decanting, but it happens more quickly and is employed by the glass.

Coravin Pivot vs Model Three

Coravin Pivot — A Simpler Experience for Everyday Wine Buy it for $99.00
Pivot Coravin Timeless Three SL — Wine Preservation Starter Set Buy it for $149.00
Timeless Three

There are two kinds of Coravin Model Three wine preservation systems. The older Model Three units are discontinued and marked down until they’re gone. These discounted prices are very attractive and if price is the main reason you’re considering whether to buy a Model Three or a Pivot, I’d choose the Model Three while you can get it for a song. The newer, slightly upgraded Timeless Three units have been updated for better ease of use while pouring, but cost at least 50% more than a Pivot.

Coravin Pivot vs Model Six

Coravin Pivot — A Simpler Experience for Everyday Wine Buy it for $99.00
Pivot Coravin Timeless Six+ — Wine Preservation Gift Set Buy it for $299.00
Timeless Six+

Coravin Model Six is now called Timeless Six, and the only available bundle at this time is the Timeless Six+. The Timeless Six is a needle-based Coravin designed to better protect wine from oxidation. If you aren’t drinking pricey wine or don’t intend to keep bottles around more than a few weeks, the Model Six is probably overkill for your needs.

Coravin Pivot review

Coravin Timeless Six+ — Wine Preservation Gift Set

After years of hype, friends who swear by Coravin, and some pros who say “meh,” I just had to know for myself what all the fuss was about and if it was warranted. As we rarely have something called “leftover wine” in my house, there wasn’t much urgency to get my hands on one. When I learned about the new affordable Coravin Pivot, apparently that was the shove I needed.

I was sent a Pivot to review courtesy of Coravin, I did not purchase my own. I will most likely earn a commission if you purchase a Coravin Pivot after reading this review.

About this review

To help give this review some context, I want to take a moment to explain my household’s wine habits. We have two wine drinkers in our house — my husband (the cellarmaster) and myself. We typically like the same wines, though to varying degrees, and we almost always only drink one bottle of wine per day between the two of us (exceptions are when we’re at parties or when we have company). This is why we don’t have “leftover wine.”

Most of our wine comes from two sources: wineries where we belong to the wine club or have been to their tasting rooms and the wine of the month clubs we review for this site. We age the wine we buy from wineries in our small built-in cellar (it holds ~370 bottles in the racks). Conversely, we usually drink the wine we get from retail wine clubs within a few months of receiving it.

We carefully selected a wine from our cellar to test out the Coravin Pivot’s ability to preserve wine — a 2018 Roussanne/Chardonnay blend from Stolpman Vineyards. We chose this wine because it usually handles some aging very well (up to five years), it benefits from decanting making some short-term limited oxygen exposure possibly a benefit, and it’s easy to tell when this wine isn’t fresh (it loses its bright, fruit-forwardness when it is open too long).

About the 2018 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne

Stolpman Vineyards is in Ballard Canyon, an American Viticultural Area (AVA) within the larger Santa Ynez Valley AVA in Santa Barbara County on California’s Central Coast. The white wine is a blend of 88% Roussanne and 12% Chardonnay. During vinification there was no skin contact. The wine underwent a light oak program*, fermented and matured in 70% used oak and 30% new oak 500L puncheons. The wine was released in April 2020, roughly a year and a half before this test was conducted. Total production: 1600 cases.

Coravin Timeless Six+ — Wine Preservation Gift Set
Molly Lonborg, winemaker at Alta Colina sitting atop 500L puncheons. Photo credit: Alta Colina Winery. Their wines are amazing — you should order some!

* A standard American oak barrel is 60 gallons (roughly 300 bottles of wine) while a 500L puncheon is 132 gallons and produces roughly 660 bottles of wine. The larger volume means a smaller portion of the wine comes in direct contact with the oak, allowing for less oakiness than if a standard-sized barrel had been used. Also, “used oak” imparts less oakiness than a new oak barrel, but more than a “neutral” oak barrel (which shouldn’t impart any oakiness at all). The oak in this white wine adds a tiny bit of vanilla and some needed structure to the wine, which allows it to age.

Our first time using the Pivot

The cellarmaster is in charge of managing inventory, opening and decanting wine, and recommending wines that are ready to drink when we work out the pairing for our dinners for the week. Naturally he was the guinea pig for the Pivot while I happily stood by providing creative direction and photographing the whole adventure.

You rarely see it used in videos demonstrating the Coravin, but every Coravin wine preservation system (not just the Pivot) comes with a cloth sleeve. Its purpose is to protect you in case something you can’t see is wrong with your wine bottle. It’s not sexy, but their product safety guide clearly says “Damaged or flawed wine bottles may break when pressurized. The Coravin Wine Bottle Sleeve is provided to reduce the risk of injury from broken glass.”

Coravin Pivot pouring with bottle protecting sleeve Coravin Pivot with a bottle of white wine

A naturally cautious individual, the cellarmaster employed the cloth sleeve on the first pour. Once we determined the bottle was fine with a little bit of Argon gas pressure, he poured the remaining glasses without it.

Finally it was time to drink that lovely wine! As always, it offered up aromas and flavors of tropical fruits like ripe pineapple. Barely perceptible oak provided a smooth counterpart to the gentle brightness of this white wine.

When the last glass of the day was poured (three total came out of the bottle), the cellarmaster closed the Pivot stopper and stuck the bottle in the fridge. In two weeks, we will compare a fresh bottle of the same wine to this one which received the Pivot treatment.

Two weeks later...

Continuing with the test, we brought both bottles out of the fridge so they’d come up in temperature a bit before pouring a tasting. This is because when a wine is very cold (fridge cold) a lot of the more subtle and elegant characteristics are muted. By letting the wine come up to 55 (ish) degrees, its true character could be detected more easily.

Here are the two bottles side by side before we poured and the two glasses of wine on a white background so I could see the color differences (if there were any) more easily. The cellarmaster set it up as a blind tasting so I wouldn't know which wine was which.

The wine bottles: the two-week old bottle and the new bottle The wine glasses: the two-week old wine and the new wine

It turns out I chose the wine correctly for this test. It was instantly obvious to me, based on the color of the wine alone, which glass came from the Pivot bottle, as it was darker and perhaps duller. A smell test confirmed my selection because the Pivot wine was missing the floral aromatics that the fresh wine exhibited. And, the final confirmation was the taste test — it tasted as if it had been open a couple of days without the use of a Pivot. The tropical fruit flavor was diminished, as was the brightness. A slight funkiness that characterizes older Roussanne had started to develop.

We finished the fresh bottle over the course of a few hours, and then revisited the glass we poured from the Pivot bottle earlier. At that point, they were virtually indistinguishable — either because our palates were no longer fresh or because whatever amount of oxidation had occurred in the bottle would normally have occurred within a few hours of opening a bottle.

Bottom line: The wine was still good, we happily drank it after we finished the fresh bottle, it just wasn’t the same and it definitely showed signs of oxidation. The promise of keeping a wine for four weeks seems like an overstatement since at two weeks I could easily detect degradation. At one week, I might not have been able to tell the difference.

How you plan to use it should determine A) whether you need a Coravin at all or B) whether you should consider buying a Timeless Model Three SL $149.00 | guide instead (it’s still affordable but does not expose the wine to any oxygen).

Where to buy a Coravin Pivot?

Like the capsules, Coravin Pivots are sold at most wine stores and some home goods stores. You can find them online at department stores like Bloomingdales and Macy’s, as well as superstores like Bed Bath and Beyond (sorry, you can’t use your 20% off coupons on Coravin), Best Buy, and Amazon.

Why 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. Because it’s Coravin’s own website, they can offer discounts and specials their retailers can’t.
  3. 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.
  4. If you’re buying Coravin Pure Capsules, 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

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.