By Rick Riozza

Hold On! Stop the Presses!! Just when you thought you would have to endure the holiday season with the same wine gifts of corkscrews, wine stoppers, and wine bibs (??), along comes the most innovative vino tool one can imagine!  Yes—at the tip of your fingers, you’ll be able to savor and absolutely enjoy any wine in your collection without having to pull the cork!

No—I won’t be giving away some magician’s precious secrets, that’s not me; rather, let me inform the winter wine wonderland of the most amazing wine preserver around.  Sure, we’ve played with gadgets that suck air out of the bottle after uncorking and pouring our precious juice, but this handy and light device is eons ahead in technology which allows the cork to remain in place and absolutely intact.  It’s truly the gift that will keep on giving!

I’ll go on with some explanation and discussion, but first let us dream of the new age solution to satisfy our vino cravings.  Wondering if that 2000 Chateau Margaux is at its prime for relishing? Or, can we peek-in on how our1997 Mascerello Monprivato Barolo Reserva is ageing; for that matter, how’s that ‘77 Dow doing? Or that 2001 Yquem we’ve been yearning? At an instant, we can taste and know the truth—in vino veritas!


Coravin is the name of the apparatus or “System”—if you will, that, as you’ve no doubt gleaned here, allows the quaffer to enjoy any amount of their wine at any time they wish, and, to preserve the remaining amount in the bottle unadulterated and in its pristine condition. 

Perhaps difficult to wrap one’s mind around, the device, through a “surgical-type” needle (my words) replaces the flowing & escaping wine with the purest argon gas available; a noble and inert gas that does not react with wine, and has no effect on the taste profile. The System’s technological advances obviously work with the universal elasticity of the cork. And, it includes a proprietary cap that creates a perfect seal in the System, so that even months after initial use, no gas will escape.

Coravin, through their research and development for the past 15 years or so, believes that the best wine preservation system is the bottle and the cork. Since the System keeps the cork in place, wine continues to evolve the same way that it would in an un-accessed bottle. Some of the chemical changes that occur in wine, such as the breakdown of acids, do not require oxygen at all. Others do relate to oxygen that is naturally transmitted across the cork over time. Accessing a bottle with the Coravin System does not impact these chemical changes.

The company has conducted a myriad of blind taste tests of bottles previously accessed with the Coravin System against control bottles from the same case of wine with master sommeliers, masters of wine, and winemakers themselves. Notably, these professionals have not been able to distinguish between previously accessed bottles and untouched controls. Even leading restaurants around the world, such as Morton’s and Capital Grille, now trust their wine-by-the-glass program to the Coravin System.

Recently, the lovely and very knowledgeable Coravin representative, Valerie Seaman, visited our professional wine team (again, whom I’m honored to have joined-up with) at Total Wine & More, Palm Desert.  Here we learned all about the System, how to operate the device, and to indeed utilize it in our various wine programs.  We have the newest Coravin System on show, and, there is an immediate $50 discount available for all you inquisitive and demanding Christmas shoppers. Come on by, check it out, and enjoy the sights and our vast selection.

And for all of you, whose mind is overwhelmed, please go to for lively videos and for all the info possible on this product.

Let’s go back to consider some wonderful wine maneuvering ideas with this marvelous machine: like wishing simply to enjoy a glass of wine without opening the entire bottle—morning, noon, or night; at wine tastings or gatherings, where there are several bottles on hand, but no need to open them all; sharing a taste of vintage wine with those who can truly appreciate it & sharing a taste of vintage wine with those you wish to educate and/or impress.  And of course, it’s your wine world and you can dip into any bottle you own at your whim & freedom and look forward to appreciating it again.  In vino, ibi libertas!

Okay—just for you readers, and those still hesitant to believe the good news, I’m going to “coravin” (you heard it first here folks—I’m making it a verb) my 1990 Solaia, this week, for an inquiring taste or two.  For some stupid personal reasoning that I’ve forgotten, I’ve yet to open that baby; it’s more than ready and needs to be drunk!

So I’ve promise to take my wife—and the Solaia—to an exquisite local Italian restaurant for that past-due romantic birthday dinner.  Unfortunately, to my wife’s consternation, it will have to be next month, because I’m doing this “Coravin Challenge” for you all to see if a well-aged world class wine is affected by the precious puncture. Do I look worried?

So stay tuned for the more-than-promising prospective results, and, by the way, a heart-felt Christmas Cheer to you all!

Rick is your local wine steward and somm-about-town conducting & entertaining at wine events, tastings, and restaurant venues.  Contact him at