It'll change the way you drink wine for the better.

By Karen I. Chen
May 22, 2020
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I’m going to go ahead and say it: Some of us are really leaning into drinking during quarantine. With many states still under stay at home orders, there’s no way to go out and enjoy a cocktail at your favorite bar, no rushing out of work to make happy hour deals, no toasting to the freakin’ weekend with your friends — at least not in person. But, that certainly doesn’t mean enjoying adult beverages has come to a halt. Quite the opposite: from virtual happy hours to practicing mixology and becoming amateur distillers, people are really enjoying imbibing from the safety and comfort of home.

Giuseppe Lombardo/ EyeEm/Getty Images

If you’re a wine lover like me, or just starting to learn more about it, I’ve got great news for you: I’ve discovered the best possible gadget for times like these. Times when you’re spending all your nights in so you’re bulk ordering bottles from your local wine store and have too many new wines you’d like to try. Or, when you’ve finally gotten the kids to sleep after having to homeschool between Zoom meetings, and you’d really love a glass of white while you binge the rest of Schitt’s Creek. Or, when you’re quarantined alone but want to have a glass of red with steak on Friday, but then a glass of the natural orange with pasta on Saturday.

One of the most frustrating parts about drinking wine is that once you’ve opened a bottle, you have to commit to finishing it pretty soon after. Even with a stopper, the wine will likely last only a few days, perhaps a week at most, before oxidation starts to dramatically change the taste.

That is, unless you own a Coravin Wine Preservation System. This genius device allows you to extract wine from a bottle without ever actually opening it or exposing it to air. Let that sink in: You can drink wine without having to open the whole bottle! It would seem almost too good to be true if I hadn’t tried it myself.

Courtesy Coravin

To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, starting at $140

Although it does take a little getting used to, once you’ve carefully read the instructions and used it once, it’s a very simple process (watch a how-to video here). Secure the Coravin on the neck of the bottle, insert the needle that extracts the wine, tip the bottle, press the trigger, and pour. You can control how much wine is extracted, so you can pour just a taste, a full glass, or more. Once you’ve removed the needle, the cork will self-seal and the wine in the bottle remains good for weeks or even up to years later without the flavor profile changing.

The science wizzes among you might ask: But if you remove wine from the bottle, surely air has entered in its place? Coravin actually replaces the volume of wine removed from the bottle with argon, a perfectly safe, non-toxic and non-reactive gas that is found in the air we breathe. Because it’s an inert gas that doesn’t react with wine, it acts as a preservative barrier that doesn't affect its taste profile. Coravin comes with three gas capsules that are good for 15 glasses of wine each, and you can purchase additional capsules online ($18 for two). You’re likely going to uncork the bottle after that initial glass or two, when you’re ready to finish the rest, so you probably won’t be burning through capsules too quickly.

Certain Coravin models even come with an attachment to use on screw-top bottles. Note that it does not work with sparkling wines and Champagne, because of aforementioned gas replacement in the bottle.

Who is the Coravin a good fit for?

As someone who lives alone, the Coravin is a total game changer. I’m not one to polish off a bottle of wine in a sitting (...typically). But when I’ve cooked myself a nice meal, had a long day, or frankly, it’s just another Thursday night in quarantine, I look forward to having a glass of wine. Previously, knowing I had a limited window to finish the bottle before it went bad, I’d typically make myself have another glass even if I wasn’t exactly feeling it. Then I’d end up storing the rest in the fridge with a stopper, but even if I had another glass the next day, and another the next, by the third day I could start to perceive the vinegary, grape juicey taste that comes with oxidation. With a Coravin, I have the freedom to enjoy whatever wine I want, whenever I want it. I had one generous pour of a lovely orange wine one Saturday night, and then didn’t have another glass until a week later and it was as I remembered it from the first taste.

Having a Coravin has also already made me a little more adventurous with wine purchases. Because I was often cognizant of wasting the end of a bottle, I wouldn’t buy pricier wines or experiment with funkier wines unless it was for an occasion I knew I would be sharing with other people. Now, I can try any wine I want while I’m social distancing at home, and still break out those same bottles months later when (if?!) I can finally have friends over for drinks again.

And there are major practicalities for those who live with others as well. Take my parents, for example: My dad is a red wine drinker, but drinks rarely and in moderation. My mom prefers white, but a small glass is plenty for her. With a Coravin they can each drink the wine of their choosing, and also pour as little as they want. Have a partner who’s pregnant or doesn’t drink? Feeling like wine while your roommates want cocktails? Saving a very special bottle from a vineyard in Italy for a special occasion but want to have a taste now? All are perfect use cases for the Coravin.

Simply put, the Coravin gives you the freedom to enjoy wine at your own pace. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, if only there were a way to save the rest of this bottle, this is it.

It also makes for the perfect gift, as it’s not necessarily something many people would think to buy for themselves, but once they own one realize how wonderfully useful it is. And, for true wine lovers who really enjoy tasting various wines, it’s an unmatched accessory for a home bar. As Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht puts it, “A Coravin is a wine bar in your house. You are only limited by the amount of different bottles you have. Why not have a great wine on a Wednesday!”

The Coravin is available in different models that come with different features, although the original Model One works perfectly well for the average wine enthusiast and is available for $140.

Courtesy Coravin

To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, starting at $140

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