We recently had a chance to chat with Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht about his innovative wine preservation system. It got our staff thinking of all the many questions we’ve heard friends, coworkers, and industry members ask about his unique products—as well as the many questions we’ve pondered, ourselves!
So in addition to sharing the recording of our IGTV segment, we transcribed, researched, and answered all of the queries we could think of relating to Coravin wine systems and the brand’s most popular models.
Check out the video below, or skip to any of the following FAQs!
Coravin Models | Using a Coravin Wine Opener | Corks & Screw Caps | Coravin Needles | Coravin Capsules | Wine Preservation
Lambrecht sat down with our own Lauren Mowery, Contributing Travel Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, in a Coravin-sponsored video that we broadcasted live on Instagram TV. In it, Lambrecht and Mowery demonstrated several Coravin models and tasted some fantastic wines. Our audience was also able to ask Lambrecht some questions about Coravin wine preservation systems; some of the answers have been included in the FAQs below.
IGTV Featured Wine Preservation & Dispensing Systems
Curious to learn more about the models (or wines!) from our IGTV chat? Here are those details for you!
- Coravin Model Three: The Coravin Model Three is the latest entry-level model of the Coravin system. It is easy-to-use, and fits automatically over wine bottles with Corovin’s new self-clamping SmartClamp™ system. The Model Three is the ideal Coravin solution for everyday wine tasting. Simply insert the Coravin needle, tilt the bottle, and sample your favorite wines one glass at a time.
Wine Pairing: 2018 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay
- Coravin Model Six: The Coravin Model Six brings luxury and elegance to the function-forward design offered by the Coravin Model Three. The Model Six comes equipped with premium accessories that complete your Coravin wine-tasting system, including a signature carrying case and metallic accented design. Available in three different colors, this Coravin model sets the standard for wine tasting technology.
Wine Pairing: Mezzacorona Di Notte Red Blend
- Coravin Model Eleven: The Coravin Model 11 is the latest-and-greatest of the Coravin line. This breakthrough piece of technology is the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled wine preservation system. It can even link to your phone through the Coravin Moments app. The Model 11 comes with a storage base, LED display, and a Coravin aerator, to ensure that you get the most out of your wine-tasting experience. For the most sophisticated wine tasting and preservation solution on the market today, look no further than the Coravin Model 11.
Wine Pairing: 2012 Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Frequently Asked Questions about Coravin Products
What are the differences between Coravin models?
Each Coravin model is simply built for a different type of wine lover. The premier options are ideal for professional use or particularly robust collections, while we recommend the Model Three or Model Six for everyday wine tasting.
Which system should I buy?
You should buy the system that best suits your needs and the demands of your wine cellar. We suggest the Models Three or Six for growing wine collections and those whose needs may be more introductory. On the other hand, experienced wine collectors will be able to take full advantage of the features offered by the Coravin Model 11.
Can Coravin be used on Champagne?
Champagne and sparkling wine present a unique set of challenges for tasting and resealing through Coravin’s current systems. Coravin’s current models cannot be used with champagne or sparkling wine. However, a Coravin model for champagne and sparkling wine is currently in development.
Do Coravin wine systems aerate the wine?
Any Coravin system can be equipped with a Coravin Aerator. The Coravin Aerator creates small jets to increase the surface area of the wine that is exposed to the air. This process rapidly aerates the wine, producing results that are equivalent to decanting wine for 60 to 90 minutes.
Does Coravin work with double magnum or bigger bottles?
Although some users have reported using a Coravin on very large bottles of wine, the Coravin system is not recommended or built for use with anything larger than a standard magnum. The smallest size bottle that a Coravin system works with is a split bottle.
How much does a Coravin cost?
Coravin systems are available at a variety of prices depending on the model you choose. The Coravin Model 3 starts at $199.95, while the premier Coravin 11 has a retail price of $799.95.
USING A CORAVIN WINE OPENER
How to use Coravin wine openers correctly:
Coravin wine openers are built with ease-of-use in mind. The Coravin wine opening system is a simple three-step process: insert, tip, and pour.
Before the first use of your unit, push the clamp release up and slide the Coravin SmartClamp™ all the way up. Then, twist the capsule cup off of the unit. Drop the Coravin capsule into the unit, round end first. Twist the cup back onto the unit until it is securely in place. Before each use, it is recommended that you press the trigger quickly to clear the system of any wine residue or air.
To use the Coravin system, align the SmartClamp™ with the neck of the bottle and push down firmly in one smooth motion, until the Coravin’s needle is fully inserted. With one hand on the bottle and the other on the handle, tip the bottle until the Coravin spout is lower than the base. Press and release the trigger quickly to pour your desired amount of wine into the glass. To stop the flow of wine, return the bottle to an upright position. When you are done with the Coravin, grasp the handle with one hand and the bottle with the other. Pull the Coravin out of the bottle with one fluid motion.
How do I use the Coravin screw cap accessory?
First, remove and discard the existing screw cap. Immediately replace the screw cap with the Coravin screw cap accessory. Do not pour wine from the bottle before using the Coravin screw cap. Press the Coravin trigger quickly to clear the Coravin system of any air or wine residue.
Align the SmartClamp™ with the neck of the bottle and push down firmly in one smooth motion, until the needle is fully inserted. With one hand on the bottle and the other on the handle, tip the bottle until the Coravin spout is lower than the base. Press and release the trigger quickly to pour your desired amount of wine into the glass. To stop the flow of wine, return the bottle to an upright position. When you are done with the Coravin, grasp the handle with one hand and the bottle with the other. Pull the Coravin out of the bottle with one fluid motion.
Leave the Coravin screw cap on the bottle and store your bottle in a cool, dark place on its side. The wine will prevent oxidization for up to 3 months. After pouring the final glass, unscrew the Coravin screw cap and rinse with warm water. The Coravin screw cap can be used for up to 50 insertions before being replaced.
If I get a small dripping from a bottle on its side after drawing a glass, am I doing something wrong?
Nope! As a cork re-seals after the Coravin needle has been removed, some trace amounts of wine may be pushed to the surface of the cork. This is completely normal.
If you are using a cork that is either very cold or very old, this will be more common. With age and lower temperatures, corks lose their elasticity and are slower to reseal. We suggest wiping away the drips and letting your wine sit upright for a few moments after removing the Coravin to reduce the likelihood of dripping.
Another way to reduce dripping is to test your cork before using a Coravin system. Older corks lose their elasticity over time. Before using a Coravin on an especially old bottle of wine, push down on the cork with your thumb. If the cork slides slightly under your thumb, the cork is not properly sealing the bottle and you should drink the wine ASAP. Coravin systems should not be used on corks in this condition.
If I use the Coravin with a red wine and want to switch to white, should I clean the Coravin between glasses?
There is no need to clean the Coravin when switching from wine to wine. Simply press the trigger briefly to clear the Coravin of any wine before switching between wine varietals.
How should I store my wine after using a Coravin product?
After using a Coravin system, wine should be kept horizontally in a cool, dark location. In storage, the wine should cover the base of the cork to ensure that the cork does not dry out. Corks in chilled wines may take longer to reseal, so we suggest letting these bottles sit upright for a few minutes before storing horizontally.
CORKS & SCREW CAPS
Will Coravin work on all cork types?
Bottles with natural corks will reseal after using the Coravin system. This also includes agglomerated corks, multi-piece corks, and twin-top corks. Because synthetic and plastic corks are not as elastic as natural corks, they will not reseal after being accessed by a Coravin system. This will cause the wine to oxidize in storage. The Coravin system should not be used with synthetic corks.
Does Coravin work with screw top bottles?
The Coravin will not work with metal crown tops like those found on beer bottles. However, the Coravin system can be used with the Coravin Screw Cap accessory to access metal screw-capped wines.
How can I best preserve the cork?
To preserve a cork, store the wine horizontally with the wine covering the base of the cork in the bottle’s neck. This will prevent the wine from drying out. The wine should also be kept at a constant temperature and humidity to prevent the cork from expanding or contracting in the neck of the bottle.
Will multiple insertions of the needle cause any damage to the cork?
No — natural corks are self-sealing after having been accessed by the Coravin system. However, we would not suggest accessing a single bottle more than 25 times.
What is the main purpose of the three different size needles?
Each Coravin needle is built to access different types of corks. The Faster Pour needle features a wider gauge and is ideal for corks that are in very good condition. The Vintage needle has a narrower gauge and is designed to access old bottles or corks that are particularly delicate. Lastly, the Standard Needle is built for everyday Coravin use. It is ideal for the majority of wine tastings.
How long does a Coravin needle last?
Each Coravin needle can be inserted into corks approximately 300 times. However, after hundreds of insertions, it may become difficult to insert and remove the Coravin needle. This means that the non-stick coating has likely worn off of the needle. At this point, it may be time to replace your Coravin needle.
How to clean a Coravin needle:
To clear and clean a Coravin needle, press the trigger on your Coravin wine system. If you do not hear a hissing sound, your needle may be clogged. Unscrew the needle and remove it from the Coravin system. All Coravin systems come with a needle clearing tool included. Thread this tool through the eye of your needle to remove any bits of cork. Then, insert the needle clearing tool into the top of the needle by the needle grip. Slide the clearing tool down to push any pieces of cork or particles down into the eye of the needle. Finally, insert the clearing tool into the eye again to clear any bits of cork that were pushed down from the needle’s shaft. Repeat this process until the needle is clean.
How to replace a Coravin needle:
To replace a Coravin needle, unscrew the needle using the needle grip. Allow the needle to drop down so that it is resting in the needle guide. Remove the needle at an angle from the needle guide, being careful not to scratch the needle itself.
To insert your new needle, point the tip downwards through the needle guide and let it drop into the needle guide. Pick up the needle by the grip and screw it into the unit until it is fastened securely.
Can you remove the pin on any of the Coravin models?
Yes. All Coravin needles can be easily removed for cleaning or replacement.
How long do Coravin capsules last?
A single Coravin capsule will allow you to access about 15 standard, 150-ml glasses of wine. This may vary depending on how you use the Coravin system and how much you pressurize each bottle during usage.
How do I know when the Coravin capsule is empty?
If you press the trigger on your Coravin system and you do not hear a hissing sound, you may need to replace your capsule. To be sure that this is the case, remove the needle from the system, and press the trigger again. If you still do not hear a hiss, it is time to replace the capsule. If you do hear a hiss, your needle is clogged and needs to be cleaned.
Are Coravin capsules recyclable?
Yes, Coravin capsules are made of 100% recyclable metal.
Can you fly with Coravin capsules?
All Coravin systems are permitted on airplanes. However, the Coravin capsules are not allowed on any domestic or international flight due to TSA and FAA restrictions. This also applies to check-in and carry-on luggage.
How long do wines last after using Coravin on the bottle?
After being accessed with a Coravin system, a naturally-corked wine can last for years in storage with no effect on quality. In several double-blind tastings, wine experts have noticed no discernable differences between freshly opened wines and wines that were previously accessed three years prior by a Coravin system. The Coravin screw cap attachment can prevent oxidation for three months.
How many times can you use the Coravin on the same bottle?
If a bottle is closed with a natural cork that is in optimal condition, you can safely access the wine with a Coravin system about 25 times.
Should you use the Coravin wine system on a really good or aged bottle?
Yes! In fact, Coravin offers a tailor-made needle that is specially designed for use with old bottles. As wine ages, corks can lose their elasticity. The Coravin Vintage needle features a very narrow gauge to penetrate the corks less aggressively. This lets old and delicate corks re-seal without any issues.
What’s the best way to remove the needle from the cork and allow the cork to seal properly?
When you are finished accessing a wine, you should pull the Coravin system from the bottle with one swift motion. Then, allow the wine to sit upright for several minutes before returning it to storage. If you are accessing cold or aged wines, we suggest letting the wine sit vertically for a longer period of time. This will give the cork ample time to reseal after being accessed.
Ready to Buy a Coravin Wine Opener?
The Coravin system is one of the most innovative pieces of equipment that a wine lover can own. It allows users to sample several wines at a time, without worrying about oxidation or spoilage. This can open up a whole world of premium wines—it is now possible to have just one glass from your favorite vintage and save the rest for later, with no degradation in quality.
At Wine Enthusiast, we are proud to offer a comprehensive line of Coravin systems and accessories to improve your wine-drinking experience. Whether you’re entertaining for two or servicing hundreds of customers at a busy wine bar, there is an ideal Coravin system for your needs. Feel free to reach out to our sales team with questions as you look around. We love to help, and are available by phone, chat and email!