Coravin Capsules Ultimate Guide: Best Deals & Alternatives
When it comes to wine preservation, there’s nothing better than Coravin. They’ve been proven through wine experts, judging panels, and even scientific testing.
But one major point of discussion is always their capsules. The system costs so much on their own, how much more do we need to sink into these capsules?
I’ve been thinking about this to, and dove into some research. I found answers to almost every frequently asked question about Coravin Capsules. In this quick guide, I’ve answered the following questions:
So without further do, let’s dive in!
Note: this post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a small commission.
How Long Do Coravin Capsules Last?
If you’ve got Coravin capsules in your cupboard and you’re concerned about them ‘going off’ – don’t worry.
Coravin Capsules will last for years and years. The Argon gas contained inside is inert (unreactive), and so there’s no real ‘best by’ date needed on the capsule. However, they must be stored correctly (more on this below). Authentic Coravin capsules will last a very long time. Perfect for patient wine lovers with equally long lasting wine cellars.
How Should I Store Coravin Capsules?
While the capsules themselves will last indefinitely, it’s important to store capsules in the right conditions.
Failing to store them at the right conditions can sabotage the effectiveness of the capsule (and in turn, sabotage your wine!).
Thankfully, the standards are very easy to meet..
Make sure to store Coravin capsules between -22o and 149oF (-30o to +65oC) in a well ventilated place out of direct sunlight.
When Should You Replace A Coravin Capsule?
Coravin capsules should be used until they’re entirely spent. In other words, when you stop hearing the slight ‘hissing’ while activating the system. (The lack of wine pouring is also a tell-tale sign).
Other than in terms of being empty, capsules should be replaced if you’re worried about their integrity. Before use, it’s worth giving each capsule a quick check for rust – and I also like to give the seal a little tug to make sure it’s snugly on.
Where to Buy Coravin Capsules for Cheap
Coravin capsules are the source of a lot of frustration.
Not due to their lack of quality. In fact, they’re some of the highest quality argon capsules available.
But in terms of the cost. Given the price you can get capsules from factories, I imagine that Coravin make much more money from selling capsules than their actual systems!
So, to the unavoidable question – what’s the cheapest source of Coravin capsules?
Well I’ve dove into this too. The table below is what I’ve found.
Disclaimer: These prices are accurate at the time of writing (June 2020) only. They may have changed since I wrote this guide.
Now let’s discuss.
First up, we have Coravin themselves. Their prices are a little higher than at Amazon, but they do offer a subscription discount. If you opt for regular delivery they’ll knock 10% from the price for you. Pretty handy for repeat users. Otherwise, this is the most expensive option (though also the one with the best guarantees and customer support).
Amazon come in second in terms of expense. As you can expect, they’ve done everything possible to lower the price to beat the original manufacturer.
Next up are wine-based resellers. The current best example, WIKEEPS, actually market their product as a Coravin alternative. However, it’s not that much cheaper than buying it from the company themselves.
Last place belongs to Best Buy and IWAWine – Coravin resellers who are selling for more than the manufacturer themselves!
The best alternative belongs to marketplaces like Alibaba. For those unaware, Alibaba connects you with factory-level suppliers which are almost always from China. This comes with obvious downsides. The product is getting shipped across the world, from a factory in who-knows-where.
That being said, this goes back to my main point in this article. Coravin is nothing but an engineering system. They use industry standard 6.5g Argon capsules, which are the same as produced in this factory. The only difference is the capsule seal, which you can replace yourself.
In summary – there are some downsides and elbow grease needed. But if you’re fine with that, buying straight from a factory can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars over years of using Coravin. I’d suggest placing a minimum order to try out first before committing to a larger bulk buy. If you prove it works, you could even pair together with friends for even cheaper bulk buys!
Does Coravin Work With Alternative Capsules?
The official answer from Coravin is no. Their system isn’t meant to be used with other capsules.
Now for my (unprofessional) opinion…
Yes, many people have found that Coravin systems can be used with other types of Argon capsules. Despite being marketed as a complex package, at the end of the day Coravin is still a simple system designed by an engineer in his basement.
What I mean by this, is that you can also apply your own engineering to make your Coravin work with whatever capsules you want.
The unique part of a Coravin capsule is the seal. This is the custom part that connects a (very standard) gas canister to the Coravin system. You can remove this seal using pliers or by soaking a used capsule in a solvent like Acetone.
With the capsule removed, you can then re-seal it onto other capsules like these cheaper alternatives on Amazon:
Here’s a quick video showing the seal changeover process:
Alternatively, some people have really taken this to the next level.
This is about the size of 40 cartridges, and apparently can be filled for around $40. That’s a 600% cost saving. Not bad, not bad at all.
While I don’t recommend going and setting this up for yourself, I’m just trying to illustrate that there are workarounds to buying the costly Coravin capsules.
That being said, all these methods come with an amount of risk. If something happens to your wine (or entire Coravin system), it’s doubtful that you’re going to get any form of help from Coravin themselves.
Can You Buy Coravin Capsules WholeSale?
Coravin are an amazing company for quality – but unfortunately, it’s rare they offer much in the way of big discounts or wholeseal deals.
The best option is to buy in bulk using merchants through Amazon of Coravin themselves.
Do You Sell Coravin Glasses or Systems?
If you happen to be a business owner which uses Coravin, however, then you’re in luck.
Coravin offer a ‘Trade Partner’ program which offers some amazing benefits.
Including a whopping 20% off of systems and capsules!
While I am a business owner, I unfortunately don’t use Coravin in my business. But if you do, then this is a massive opportunity. Even if just for the capsules.
Coravin Using Too Much Gas or Not Working Properly
Especially with the earlier models, particularly Coravin’s first iteration, there’s a fairly common problem of Coravin systems using too much gas.
Or, in reality, leaking gas!
While this has never been publically addressed, some users have reported a level of acknowledgement from Coravin support staff. This seems to be a design issue in the earlier models, related to the device itself and not the Coravin capsules.
It’s not entirely clear, but the issue seems to stem from the plastic threads on the system. Over time these can get stretched/warped, eventually losing the ability to seal correctly.
If you suspect your Coravin isn’t sealing correctly and leaking gas, get in touch with Coravin’s support staff immediately.
In my research on this company, I’ve only ever found glowing reviews of their customer support. You’ll likely get a touch of sympathy, some effective advice, and a delivery of replacement parts (or model). Many often report being given a capsule or two to make up for it!
Coravin is an amazing system. It’s truly changed the wine world.
Although they weren’t the first wine preservation system on the scene, they’re definitely the most effective.
However, Coravin capsules are often quite a money sink and the cause of a lot of confusion. So I hope this free article has helped clear up any questions you had on the capsules.
If you’re weighing up whether to get a system for yourself, check out our full review here.
Thanks a lot for reading, and have a great day!