I have to confess that I enjoy collecting wine more than drinking it. Part of the reason for this is that once a bottle of wine is opened, it needs to be finished fairly quickly – otherwise it will oxidize and no longer be enjoyable to drink. Hence I have been on the quest for something which makes the wine last longer. But all of the ones I’ve tried have one flaw – the bottle needs to be uncorked to access the wine which will introduce air into the bottle. When I first became aware of the Coravin Wine System last Friday (it was featured in an article in the Metro newspaper), it definitely piqued my interest as it overcomes this problem, at least for the wines bottled with a cork.
I did a fair bit of research about this system and initially was intending to buy the Black Friday Special Offer Model 2 Elite system in red for £399 (RRP £631.65) from www.coravin.co.uk which is an extremely good value package, but it was out of stock. In the end I bought the basic Model 1 wine system – great value, same functionality as the other models, uses the same accessories, still looks good.
What other wine preservation systems have I tried?
This is like a history lesson as I go through the various systems I have tried over the years with my wife and why they all fell short.
1. Vacu Vin Wine Saver – £10
Method: By vacuuming the air out of the bottle.
Pros: Cheap. No consumables.
Cons: Does not extend the life of the wine once opened – it performed the worst of all that I have tried.
Verdict: Air does contact the wine especially when pouring. Does not work. Not recommended.
2. Private Preserve Cannisters £16.95
Method: Displaces air from the bottle after it is opened and wine is poured.
Relatively cheap. Widely available.
Cons: Does not preserve wine very well in my opinion. It is a consumable.
Verdict: I am not convinced that this works. Not recommended.
3. Preservino Wine Preserving Kit ££
Method: Displaces air from bottle with inert argon which is introduced through the included stopper.
Pros: Uses inert argon to avoid contact with air since it is heavier than air.
Cons: Air will contact wine when being poured, which will have an impact on the wine. Need to buy argon cannisters to continue to use it – very small cannisters.
Verdict: Did not work well from my experience as the wine contacts air when it is being poured out into a glass – hence oxidation does take place. Not recommended.
4. Wine Saver Pro 5 Bottle Wine System (£600+)
Method: Wine bottle is opened and the dispensing nozzle with its metal straw is inserted into bottle. The nozzle is then connected to the tubing and argon dispenses the wine out of the bottle. No pouring of wine is needed.
Pros: Works very well to preserve wine so it lasts longer than any of the other methods. Uses argon to dispense the wine, so no pouring or contact with air until the wine leaves the spout and enters the glass. Can dispense up to 5 different bottles of wine with this system – great for comparing a vertical vintage collection of one wine during wine tasting.
Cons: Costly – £600 for the 3-bottle system currently. Does require wine cork to be removed to insert the wine dispensing apparatus into the bottle, so there is contact of wine with new air at the outset, so cannot last for more than a few months. There will be wine residue in the spout after dispensing wine – this needs to be cleaned off after use. Fiddly to use. Ongoing consumable costs for argon cannisters.
Verdict: The Wine Saver Pro is expensive but does work well. It is not perfect as it does require the cork to be removed to access the wine. Hence although I would have recommended it in the past, as technology has moved on it is no longer the best available option. And with the initial outlay being so high, I would suggest reading on as there is a better option available now.
5. PresorVac Waiter’s Friend (under £200)
Methods: Vacuum to remove air from the bottle after opening and pouring wine. Does this to a set pressure (red LED will light when this is achieved). Can be used to pump air into sparkling wine bottles to maintain fizz.
Pros: No consumables. Rechargeable. Can be used to pump air into fizz to retain bubbles for longer.
Cons: Does slow down the oxidation of wine but only for 1-3 days. Requires uncorking and pouring of wine which mixes air with the wine. The pour and seal stopper does leak air so can be unreliable depending on the bottle.
Verdict: I would recommend this for wines which will be finished in a day or two, and definitely for pumping in air for fizz. Otherwise I would not recommend it.
PresorVac Waiter’s Friend
6. Coravin Model 1 Wine System £199
I will go into more details about the Coravin system, as it does precisely what I have been looking for all these years. I bought mine from Amazon.co.uk for £189.90.