From Coravin to vacuum pumps, the world of wine preservation is not short of innovations. But do they work? Jacopo Mazzeo reveals the latest results of his year-long experiment in this seven-part series
In controlled environments, oxygen is wine’s best companion; it allows the liquid to age gracefully inside the bottle and helps release wine’s aromas when decanted. But leave the liquid in contact with the air too long and the oxygen will slowly deteriorate aromas and flavours, as well as affect texture. This means that once opened, a bottle needs to be consumed quickly before it spoils.
Bad news for the on-trade. With people drinking less, but trading up in quality, a good by-the-glass programme can make the difference between a lucrative sale and a jug of tap water. Today, plenty of devices claim they can keep your wine fresh for longer once opened, which would allow a venue to increase its by-the-glass offer.
However, are they all as effective as they claim to be? And most importantly, are they suitable for a restaurant, bar or pub environment? To answer these questions, we put a diverse range of some of the most popular preservation systems for both still and sparkling wine to the test, in a trial that took – no shirking – nearly a year to complete.
How it works
Pulltex Champagne is a stopper equipped with a simple mechanical system that pumps oxygen out of the bottle. It doesn’t require any cartridge.
The manufacturer claims it keeps sparkling wine fresh for up to 10 days.
The purpose of the trial was to test the systems’ suitability for use in a professional environment. Consequently, wines were deemed unfit for service once showing any noticeable change, regardless of their suitability for personal use. To make sure the experiment’s results were empirically meaningful, each system was tested on a range of different wines. During the trial, all wines were stored at a cool room temperature. Different samples of the same wine were always tested side-by-side on the same day.
Short-term preservation up to about five days.
Pulltex Champagne performed surprisingly well. Both wines appeared in good condition for the full 10-day period when the bottle was left untouched after the first reseal.
Furthermore, they were fit for private consumption for an additional week. Both wines’ aromas and effervescence were slightly altered on the fifth day, if opened and resealed twice in the meantime.
Pulltex Champagne is a no brainer; it should be used on any bottle of sparkling wine left open overnight. Your venue will need one stopper for each bottle; however, the system’s price is far from prohibitive and it will never run out.
On the downside, it won’t fit all bottle shapes and sparkling wine bottles aren’t known for being uniform. The manufacturer says the system was made for standard sparkling wine bottles, and should work for Dom Perignon and Laurent Perrier Rosé. The maximum neck measurement is the diameter of the most narrow part of the stopper, which is 3.3cm.
RRP £8.50, Birchgrove Products