Meet the little device that could change the way we drink fine wine
For the past 12 months the wine industry has been intrigued by a new device known as the Coravin, which you may have heard of if you read the wine press regularly. This clever device allows us to draw wine out of the bottle without removing the cork, thereby allowing the consumer to enjoy a glass while leaving the remaining wine preserved as it was before for future consumption.
This, of course, could be really interesting for the fine wine collector that has plans to uncork his wines once they are matured – the Coravin allows them to taste the wine at various points in its maturity, rather than committing to drinking the whole bottle. What an interesting concept! Nonetheless the Coravin has met with a mixed reaction in the industry, not least because of some teething problems last year wherein 13 cases were reported of bottles bursting while the system was being used, and some injuries reported by users. Since then, protective sleeves have been introduced at some cost to the company. It has been suggested that the small proportion of bottles that broke under pressure had been previously weakened from being dropped or mishandled.
Who wants to drink a single glass?
The reason Coravin has divided people though stems from differing attitudes towards what is important to the wine drinker – Robert Parker is a firm fan of the device and has expressed his excitement about the influence it could have on the way we drink wine. Here in the UK attitudes have been slightly less positive overall, with many industry insiders expressing doubt that the device will have mass appeal. Reasons are twofold; firstly there is the concern about the dissolved gases in the wine resulting in its flavour becoming muted as the level of the bottle falls. Secondly, as an extension of this, and as a reason in its own right that the Coravin might not revolutionise wine drinking, is the belief that few people that drink wines at this level would want a single glass – the best wines are often opened amongst friends on special occasions. So why not just pop the cork and enjoy it at it’s best?
One for the savvy consumer
Either way it’s a fascinating development in the wine industry. The device is not cheap and time will tell whether it has mass appeal to collectors, but undoubtedly it could have substantial ramifications for the way wine is tasted professionally. Let’s face it, many of the bottles that the Coravin is used to access will be even more expensive than the Coravin itself so why shouldn’t the savvy consumer invest in this clever little device?