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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is there any concern with cross-contaminating bottles of wine with TCA when using a Coravin? I accidentally used it on a new bottle of wine not realizing the previous bottle was corked.

—Sue, Columbus, Ohio

Dear Sue,

For those not familiar, a Coravin is a wine-preservation device that extracts wine from a bottle without removing the cork by way of a hollow needle and pressurized argon gas.

Coravin reps recommend pressing the trigger after each use to clear it and occasionally washing it with water and mild detergent, or even with some white vinegar.

TCA, or 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, the compound that causes “corked” wines, can certainly linger, so your concerns are valid. I checked with Coravin, and they point out that the needle is coated in an FDA-approved food-grade material to help avoid contamination of bacteria and fungus from bottle to bottle, especially when used correctly.

That said, they recommend a thorough cleaning of a Coravin if it’s been in contact with a tainted wine. For an extra level of protection, clean it out with potable alcohol (like vodka) and then rinse it with plenty of water.

—Dr. Vinny

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