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Winebits 293: Wine packaging edition

The Coravin 1000: How big a deal is the Coravin, which lets consumers drink wine from a bottle with a cork without removing the cork? It has not only been a hit on Twitter and the wine blogs, but made CNET, which is usually reserved for flashy electronics. The system uses a thin hollow needle to pierce the cork, which makes an opening for pouring the wine, and the cork reseals after the needle is pulled out. Meanwhile, argon is inserted into the bottle through the needle so oxygen never touches the wine, and so the wine won’t oxidize. The words magical have been thrown around a lot, though the $299 price tag may speak to its efficiency as much as magic. The Wine Curmudgeon’s antipathy for wine gadgets is well known; is the Coravin worth $30 bottles of great $10 wine?

Anything but glass: My old pal Tina Danze at The Dallas Morning News did herself proud with this effort, in which the newspaper’s tasting panel searched for summer wine that came in something other than a traditional bottle. The result? 10 wines that passed master with a very exacting panel, most of whom I have judged or tasted with. No surprise that Yellow + Blue made the cut, as did Black Box, but so did wine in a can, wine in a pouch, and several plastic bottles.

The romance of cork: The Wine Curmudgeon has had his disagreements with wine corks and cork supporters (who can forget when the cork marketing type canceled his email version of the blog after this?), but I try to be fair. Cork does a nice job for 18th century technology. And it is so romantic, as this slideshow from the drinks business trade magazine demonstrates. It’s really romantic. Of course, if wine was only about romance, we’d still be making it the way they did in the 18th century.

One Response to Winebits 293: Wine packaging edition

  1. Dear Jeff:
    Corked wine is bad news. A friend who worked in the wine cellar at a well known Dallas hotel told us about a $30,000 bottle that was corked. At Sunset Winery we use a “technical cork” (a) because we have had good experience with the closure in wines from our Bordeaux friends that we’ve held for a decade or more — they work well much longer than the manufacturers’ claim. (b) the small particles are sterilized before the cork is built — much reducing the likelihood of TCA contamination [which BTW can occur with non-cork closures]. In our short decade of wine production [small winery, probably only 200,000 bottles over that time] we have not had a reported incident of “corked wine.” (c) cork is a more environmentally friendly product than either screw-tops or synthetic stoppers.

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