Coravin has launched its Model Two, the first update to its wine pouring device that bypasses pulling the cork altogether.
Chairman and founder Greg Lambrecht told Imbibe that when he came up with the idea of Coravin back in 1999, it was driven by his personal wish to drink anything by the glass without having to commit to a full bottle.
Sixteen years later, and two and a half years after the first model launched in the US market (it landed over here in late 2014), the UK is the second biggest user of Coravin after France, and London is the 'most accepting' city when it comes to using the device in hospitality, Lambrecht said.
The key aspects that were improved upon for Model Two were based on feedback from users. Firstly, the speed of flow has been increased by making the walls of the Teflon-covered stainless steel needle thinner – it now pours 20%-25% faster than before. This also means pouring one measure uses less argon gas than before.
To save gas, the space that holds the gas capsule now has a compressible base, which means the capsule chamber automatically locks perfectly to the rest of the device and there are no gas leaks.
A 'locking' position means the needle doesn't come unthreaded, and the clamp that grips the device to the bottle has been made softer so it's easier to use.
Two add-ons already coming soon are a fast-flow needle, and a carrying case. 'Wine salespeople are the heaviest users of Coravin we've met,' Lambrecht observed.
The innovation is planned to continue, although no timeline has been set. One of the key goals, naturally, is sparkling wine. 'I spend night and day working on sparkling wine,' Lambrecht said. 'It will happen, but we're not sure when. All we know for sure is it won't be the same Coravin device.'
There's also work being done on making Coravin work on 3-litre bottles – 6-litre is looking unlikely as it takes 'a whole load of gas' to be able to fill such a large bottle. Other comments from the trade that the team has taken on board are wishes for the ability to do measured pours, and to know when the capsule is running out of gas – although Lambrecht shared the tip that a 'clink' sound is made by the device when there is just enough gas left for about one glass.
That's all well and good, but there's still the matter of getting it used – and getting it used right. Making in-person training widely available (rather than on video as it currently exists) is another priority. 'There's definitely a technique to using Coravin,' admitted Lambrecht, who said he would like to organise more training and tasting events across the UK for both on- and off-trade in the close future, via Coravin itself or a partner company.
In the meantime, he shared a few tips to ensure the device is at its best working capacities. First, clean it every day by running hot water through the pourer. Second, before you access a bottle, have a quick press to let any leftover wine or gas out from previous uses. And to make sure the wine continues its natural evolution, store the wine on its side. Additionally, while the needle can work through foil or wax closures, taking them off makes the Teflon coating last longer and avoids clogging.
Lambrecht also addressed the exploding issue that made the news in 2014. 'It's a result of the bottle being dropped and cracked during shipping, usually. We only had 13 reported broken bottles. There's unfortunately nothing we can do about it.' However, all devices now come with a bag that users are encouraged to use if the bottle looks damaged.
Coravin, 020 36089 115