Coravin – the system that’s turned the wine world on it’s head.

It’s been heralded as the new way to enjoy luxury wines. It’s the savior of single wine drinkers everywhere. It’s allowed restaurants and wine bars to massively expand their wine offerings.

…It’s awkward, it’s clunky, it doesn’t work well, it ruins the authentic wine experience!

It’s rare to see one new product or system shake up an industry so much. However, there’s a lack of home reviews of the system out there – a simple “does this work for us?” rather than plaudits from Coravin fans or harsh comments from forum dwellers.

I was lucky enough to be given a Coravin system to review for this blog. While it was a gift, this review is entirely unbiased – we’re not sponsored by Coravin, we were just given a system to try and feedback our thoughts.

I wanted this to be a fair analysis, so instead of reviewing it myself I’ve tried it as a ‘gift’ to my parents.

My folks are an older pair of wine-lovers, who’ve always shared a passion for a glass or bottle of red. I was curious to see how difficult they found the Coravin system to use without having ever seen one before (for the case of giving Coravin as a gift).

But before I cover how they found it, let’s dive in to the important bit. How the system stood up.

Coravin vs Vacuum-Seal vs Fresh Wine: A 3-Month Experiment

The goal of Coravin is to be able to dip into any wine in your cellar, siphon out a glass to enjoy, and leave the rest of the wine untouched. It unlocks so many possibilities to enjoy luxury wines, or to avoid wasting wine when you just want one glass.

But how well does it do?

We tested this using a total of 6 bottles of wine and 3 taste testers (myself and my wine-loving parents). Here’s how things were set up:

  • Back in August, I picked up three bottles of the same wine.
  • Using Coravin, we siphoned out around 1/3 of the wine from one bottle.
  • We then opened another bottle, poured out a third, and re-sealed using a popular vacuum-seal tool.
  • The remaining bottle was left untouched.

As you can imagine, we then had a very generous tasting! The wine we used was a well-rounded Montagne Saint-Émilion.

Three opened wine bottles with 6 empty glasses
The blind taste test all set up. You can see the two opened bottles, with the fresh one at the back.

Afterwards I stored the 3 wine bottles, which spent three months waiting.

Three Months Later, we met up to see how each wine had fared.

My partner ran a blind taste test, setting up six glasses of wine – two from each bottle.

Two glasses of wine from the Coravin-preserved bottle, two from the vacuum-resealed bottle, and two completely fresh glasses of wine.

The three of us then tasted each glass, trying to determine which glass was from which bottle.

Wine taste test set up with 6 glasses, labelled A-F
It was a tough day at the office, but we got through it.

Here’s the lineup:

  • Glass A: Vacuum Resealed
  • Glass B: Coravin
  • Glass C: Coravin
  • Glass D: Freshly Opened
  • Glass E: Vacuum Resealed
  • Glass F: Freshly Opened

And here are the results:

TasterA (V)B (C)C (C)D (F)E (V)F (F)
CraigVacuumFreshCoravinFreshVacuumCoravin
MomVacuumCoravinFreshFreshVacuumCoravin
DadCoravinCoravinFreshFreshVacuumVacuum
Where (V)=Vacuum Sealed, (C)=Coravin Accessed, (F)=Fresh Wine

 A few key takeaways:

  • We found it easy to identify the wine sealed using a vacuum system. The wine had become harsh and woody in a bad way. My Dad initially said he’d be happy to drink all of Glass A and found nothing wrong with it. A couple sips later and he quickly changed his mind.
  • We found it very hard to tell the difference between the Coravin-accessed bottle and the entirely fresh wine – even after 3 months. Only one glass (D) had us unanimously agree on Fresh (which may have just been luck). The others were impossible to tell the difference.

One disclaimer to note is that none of us are expert wine tasters – we’re simply amateur lovers of red wine. While an expert taster might have a better nose, many wine sommeliers found similar results (##link##), and we wanted to give the perspectives of everyday wine drinkers.

Coravin Review: The Conclusion

In short, we found Coravin to work exceptionally well at preserving wine. We struggled to tell the difference between wine that had been accessed using Coravin 3 months prior, and totally fresh wine. (Bearing in mind we are amateur wine drinkers – not tasting experts).

A vacuum-seal alternative was instantly obvious to us, aside from one mis-taste which was later taken back. The wine had clearly deteriorated – it was harsh, acidic, and undrinkable.

Was Coravin Easy To Use?

The second thing I looked at in this review was how quickly my parents got their heads around using Coravin – without having ever seen one before.

There was definitely some initial confusing, particularly around where to insert the capsule! It took a bit of figuring out how to get the system ready to pour. However, as soon as we had the first bit of wine flowing everything clicked. Within 5 minutes my parents both understood how to use the system. While they’re not the ideal audience (they share a bottle at a time, and don’t drink luxury wines) they quickly realised all the benefits a system like this could bring.

If you’re looking to get a Coravin system of your own, the best place to pick up their systems is on the Coravin website itself. While you can also get them on Amazon, Coravin will tend to give you better customer service, better help if you run into any issues, and they also offer seasonal discounts.

I hope this review has helped give you a clear account of how effective Coravin was for us as amateur users, and helped you understand if a system is right for you.

Be sure to check out our related posts below for more wine-lover articles!