How to have just one glass of wine – Coravin review

Wouldn’t it be grand to be able to try just a glass of that special bottle you’ve been hanging onto? Or to taste a few different wines without having several bottles open at once? Fellow wine lovers, I bring you Coravin.

Coravin wine preservation system

Whenever we decide to have a wine at home, I always eye up some of the good bottles I’ve been saving, but think ‘no, not tonight. I’ll save that one for something special.’

It’s very frustrating. But there is a way round it and it’s really bloody clever.

Invented and developed by medical technology engineer and wine buff Greg Lambrecht, the Coravin wine preservation system does all of that with a rare blend of design, science, elegance and simplicity.

POV Coravin wine preservation system

Coravin – ‘savour the glass, preserve the bottle’

I’ve been seeing Coravin more and more in bars and restaurants recently. It means venues can offer wine by the glass that they would only sell by the bottle otherwise.

It also means if you don’t want a whole bottle to yourself (no judgements!) or you don’t want to spend a fortune on dinner, you can.

At home, as Greg Lambrecht discovered when his wife was pregnant and the seed of Coravin sprouted, you can enjoy a single glass without worrying about the rest of a good bottle going off.

Coravin wine preservation system

How does Coravin work?

Briefly, Coravin injects inert argon gas into the bottle as you pour. This stops the wine from oxidising and going off.

And because you’re replacing the nitrogen that winemakers usually add to the bottle before they cork it, the wine is never exposed to any wine-killing oxygen.

Coravin wine preservation system in natural cork

Coravin wine preservation system with screw cap

The Coravin system works best with natural cork, but there is a screw cap option now.

But how does Coravin work?

With my Coravin Model Six, I get three Coravin Pure argon capsules (each one will last about 15 pours), two specially designed screw caps and the Coravin system itself.

The system has a medical-grade non-coring needle, which pushes carefully through natural cork, allows wine out and injects argon in. When you pull the needle out again, the cork closes up again sealing the wine inside the bottle.

Check out our IGTV episode where I run through how the Coravin works:

The wine will last 2+ years without showing any signs of deterioration as long as the cork is ‘healthy’. Greg Lambrecht has evidence of wine lasting over 15 years like this.

If you’re using the screw caps, you open the bottle normally and replace the top with a Coravin cap as quickly as possible. Then you just use the system the same as you would with a natural cork.

The silicon in the cap seals back up and can be reused up to around 50 times.

Coravin wine preservation system screw cap

Screw cap after one use Coravin wine preservation system

There’s also a more everyday version of the Coravin called the Pivot, which works similarly but without as much precision or longevity. It will keep those mid-week wines fresh for around 4 weeks.

Yes, but how does the Coravin work?

Once you’ve loaded the system with an argon capsule, you position the special ‘SmartClamps’ over the neck and shoulders of the bottle then press quickly down on the handle.

The needle pushes through the cork or screw cap into the wine.

You tilt the bottle up past the horizontal so the wine is touching the cork, press the trigger button and pour the wine and release argon. As you bring the bottle upright, the argon fills the void. You pull the handle up to extract the needle and store the wine back on the rack as normal.

pouring wine from Coravin wine preservation system

There’s also the more advanced model – the Eleven, which has automated pouring, programmable controls and even BlueTooth connectivity. It’s a very cool upgrade, but I’m still getting to grips with the Six!

Our verdict

I’ve been impressed with this concept since I first saw it in a wine bar in Sydney almost 15 years ago, where they had a bank of highly prized wines you could drink by the glass.

Coravin wine preservation system

I love that you don’t have to wait for that ‘right moment’ to open a special bottle of wine. You don’t have to drink a whole bottle in one go.

And it’s perfect if you feel like a single glass of the best wine in your cellar or if you want to check to see how a bottle you’ve put down is ageing.

You might also like:

Are you drinking your wine at the right temperature?
Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 – the ultimate wine dilemma
Which Red Wine – our guide to 10 red wine varietals

We were gifted the Coravin Model Six as a media sample but I would spend my own money on one for certain.

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