It’s been said that most Americans age their wine in the trunk of the car on the way home from the grocery store. Of course this is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on our buying and drinking habits. And yet, it’s largely true that we don’t spend much time storing wine for purposes of aging or resting it.
There are, however, some wines that not only benefit from aging, but also require it to soften tannins and more fully integrate flavors and aromas. For consumers who buy these wines, the big question has always been, how much time? And when will my wine be ready to drink?
Then last July, a new product debuted—The Coravin™ 1000 System. As described by fellow Wine Dude Rusty Gaffney in his Nov. 14 post, the Coravin, which sells for $299, makes it easy to tell. It uses a thin needle that is pushed through the cork. The needle injects argon gas into the bottle, which in turn pushes wine back up through the needle and into a ready glass. Once the device is removed from the bottle, the cork reseals itself and you have a small sample of wine from an otherwise unopened bottle. From this sample, you can essentially determine the wine’s readiness. (For more information, go to coravin.com.)
Many of us have seen this device in action, and feel it works quite well. In fact, the only hang-up for potential buyers seems to be the price. On the other hand, how much is it worth to predict the current and future state of your wine?
Unfortunately, a recent problem has surfaced with the device. The company reports there have been a few instances where wine bottles have burst while under pressure from the gas Coravin deposits in the bottle. Wine bottles are generally tougher than that so it’s not clear whether the device was misused in some fashion. Only one minor injury occurred.
Coravin notified the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and submitted a Corrective Action Plan to update the product’s instructions and warnings. The company also informed customers that it’ll provide them with a “remedy package” that includes a neoprene sleeve for the wine bottle, to use with the system. Meanwhile, the company has voluntarily and temporarily stopped selling and shipping Coravin Systems, and has instructed current users to stop using them until they’ve received their remedy package.
With the debut of new products, hiccups can and do occur. It’s refreshing to find a company who’s self-reporting to this degree, and we hope this unique product remains successful. Right now, it’s the closest thing to thieving wine directly from a barrel, and who doesn’t want to do that?