Coravin fails test

Three months ago I was given some of the new Coravin Screw Cap closures that,

“expands the possibilities of the Coravin Wine Preservation Opener by allowing people to pour and protect wines closed under screwcap for up to three months.”

That represents quite a breakthrough, particularly in a country where 99.7% of all wine bottles are sealed with screwcap closures. As I explained in an earlier blog, the Coravin Screw Caps have a silicon membrane that reseals after being penetrated by the needle on the Coravin Wine Preservation Opener.

I was given a box of six Coravin Screw Caps to trial; three were “regular” size capsules and three were “large”. I wasn’t aware, until then, that screwcaps came in different sizes.

I then took two bottles of Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from my cellar. Why this wine? Because I figured that a mature sauvignon blanc might be sensitive to oxidation than a younger or more long-lived wine.

On 6th August I removed the screwcap on one bottle and quickly replaced it with the Coravin Screw Cap. Then I used my Coravin machine to extract around 100ml of wine and tasted it. It was delicious and showed no signs of oxidation. I made a diary note to check both bottles on 6th November.

The wine that had been sealed with a Coravin Screw Cap was bland and oxidised while the control wine was in fine form and very drinkable. The photo clearly illustrates a difference in colour between the two samples.

I contacted the Coravin organisation who replied with a few questions and a promise that they would respond in due course.

7 thoughts on “Coravin fails test”

  1. Avatar
    Petrus van der Schaaf says:

    All well and good, and of some scientific curiosity value, but how often do you need to – or want – spread a bottle over three, two or even one month? Looks to me like a product creating a questionable demand.

    Always love your provocative and fascinating articles!

  2. Avatar
    David Strada says:

    Thanks Bob. In case you have not had a chance to read Blake Gray’s piece on this topic:

  3. Avatar
    Glen Green says:

    Hi Bob, Matt Fisher certainly raises a good point about using both preservation methods together for greater surety. My intitial thought upon reading your trial was that no matter how fast you replaced the screw cap with the Coravin screw cap, you most certainly let some air into the ullage space which would have needed to be expelled, and a product like WineSave would be perfect. In fact using both tools together, I don’t see why bottles couldn’t last longer than 3 months.
    Good work nonetheless.
    Hope all is well in your part of the world.

    1. Avatar
      Bob Campbell says:

      You are right about the exposure to air when you switch the regular screwcap with the Coravin cap, although the wine was exposed for no more than one second. I chose to use a three-month trial because that was the maximum claimed by Coravin. Perhaps Coravin need to reduce the length of their claimed protection period? I’d be interested to know whether the three-month test failed because of air access during changeover or air leakage through the silicon plug or cap.

  4. Avatar
    Matthew Fisher says:

    Thanks for sharing your findings Bob.

    In Coravin’s defense, they claim that the screw caps work for “UP TO three months” so this is a case where it didn’t quite make it all the way.

    At Winesave, we’ve learned after helping to protect millions of bottles of wine for hundreds of thousands of people over almost a decade that there’s honestly no way to say for sure exactly how long a wine will keep as there are just so many variables, including the wine’s inherent fragility, how customers use the product, and how the bottle was stored and served. Even though we’ve had experts like Curtis Marsh and Ben Edwards state that winesave worked for more than two months, we know this won’t always be the case.

    What we both CAN say is both our solutions WILL help wine to last LONGER because our product’s use of nature’s perfect wine preserver… argon. We can share examples of our products helping wines to last X weeks or Y months, but we need to be careful not to make claims too bold and not set false expectations by stating how long it WILL keep for. Again, in Coravin’s defense, they did say “UP TO three months”.

    1. Avatar
      Bob Campbell says:

      Fair point. I plan to repeat the experiment for two months and will store both Coravin and control bottles in a constant 14C environment.

  5. Avatar
    David Lloyd says:

    Love your work Bob. The 2010 was a well chosen wine. I think a repeat experiment needs to go for one month then a week.

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