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Nick Antonaccio
Nick Antonaccio

It’s the middle of the workweek and you’re stressed-out, even more stressed-out than last week’s stressful situation of the century.

You’ve been texting with your significant other and agree you both need a mid-week attitude adjustment: take-out from your favorite Saturday night restaurant and tapping the bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. What better occasion than impromptu time alone and decompressing from the day’s traumas?

The meal and the wine achieve the desired effect. The raw edges and elevated adrenalin of the day begin to dissipate. By the end of the meal, you replace the cork on the unfinished bottle of wine and settle in for the evening.

Replace the cork? Do you realize what you’ve just done? That cork is the death knell for the remaining nectar in that special bottle that just sent you on your way to a zen-like state of mind.

Oxygen in a bottle of wine is its worst enemy; oxidation of the wine commences upon contact with the air. You’re in a race against time to preserve wine until the next wine occasion.

You’ve tried placing the unfinished bottle in the fridge to slow the oxidation process. Prolonged shelf-life: one to two days.

You’ve tried to outwit Mother Nature. You’ve immediately poured the anticipated unused contents into a smaller vessel, filling that vessel to the brim, sealing it and then consuming the wine in the original container. Prolonged shelf-life: four to six days.

You’ve tried wine gadgets based on scientific principles, guaranteeing victory in the struggle between man and Nature. One gadget creates a vacuum; place it over the bottle opening, pump it a few times and the oxygen in the bottle is sucked out. Pro longed shelf-life: five to seven days.

Each of these solutions is suitable for wine preservation for short periods of time. But now, the marvels of science have devised the ultimate means for preserving wine. As with a number of other inventions, this one comes to us tangentially, from the high-tech medical devices industry.

Greg Lambrecht, an engineer – and avid wine collector – worked on a wine preservation system for thirteen years. His theory: if you don’t open a bottle of wine, oxygen can’t infiltrate and spoil the wine. This is not exactly rocket science, but Mr. Lambrecht has taken this theorem to its ultimate practical solution.

His product is dubbed the Coravin Wine Access System. How does it function? Secure the device around the neck of the bottle. The attached thin, hollow, Teflon-coated needle pierces the foil and cork, until it reaches the wine. With the device still in place, a user tilts the bottle and pours wine into a glass. An attached argon gas capsule replaces the dispensed wine, preventing oxygen from entering the bottle. Once done, you simply pull the needle from the bottle; the cork naturally reseals itself. Prolonged shelf life: weeks, months, years.

Problem solved: the cork has not been removed, no fresh oxygen has been introduced and no new oxygen can enter the bottle. Sound too good to be true? Mr. Lambrecht has tested the device with the assistance of wineries, wine shops, restaurants – and self-experimentation. In one such experiment, he states:  “I drank a bottle of 1961 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion with about 14 people over the course of four years.”

He claims the wine was of consistent quality with each pour. Another quote from a Coravin spokesperson: “I’ve blind-tasted numerous wines [preserved using Coravin] and fresh samples, with sommeliers, Masters of Wine and other experts, and we could not detect any difference.”

I must say I’m a believer. Now I just have to put my money where my mouth is (or, add it to my wish list). The retail price for the Coravin is $299 (each $10 argon capsule is good for about 15 full pours).

As Coravin proclaims, “enjoy the wine you desire without pulling the cork.”

Nick Antonaccio is a 35 year Pleasantville resident. For over 15 years he has conducted numerous wine tastings and lectures. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at or on Twitter @sharingwine


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