Do "wine preserving" devices like the Coravin really work?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Do “wine preserving” devices such as the Coravin and the wine bladder balloon really work? If so, are they cost-effective?

—Bob, Scarsdale, N.Y.

Dear Bob,

I’m really glad there are a lot of advancements when it comes to preserving open bottles of wine—it’s one of the subjects I get asked about the most, and it’s clear that wine lovers worry when they can’t finish their wines all at once. I personally don’t own any of these gadgets—I just keep it simple and transfer the leftovers to a smaller container (to limit the exposure to oxygen) and store the wine in the refrigerator to get some extra mileage out of the bottle. I also have a few hinged Champagne stoppers, in the rare case a bottle of bubbly lasts once opened at my house.

Of all the gizmos I’ve seen over the years, I’m most enthusiastic about the Coravin, which lets you pour wine from a bottle without removing the cork, in a pretty easy-to-use system involving a hollow needle and some argon gas. The tests that we’ve done with it have been positive (WineSpectator.com members can read about our Coravin tests), and I know that many sommeliers I respect are using the Coravin as a way to serve wines by the glass.

I haven’t personally tried the wine bladder device, in which you inflate a balloon-like bladder inside your open bottle of wine, but for what it’s worth, I’ve heard that the balloons can pop or have trouble holding air over time.

As far as “cost-effective” goes, that really depends on you: how much you spend on wine, and how the $300 Coravin or $25 wine bladder fits into that equation. If you regularly open pricey bottles and don’t finish them in one sitting, a Coravin might be a good investment. It also depends on whether or not you notice your wines fading—one of my friends can nurse a bottle of wine over a week and not notice a difference.

—Dr. Vinny

Closures Collecting Storage Dining Out Wine Bars Gifts and New Products Serving Wine Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Which sparkling wines are made from Chardonnay?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers clues for figuring out a sparkling wine's grape …

Jun 24, 2019

At what point of color saturation does a rosé become a red wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how rosés are made.

Jun 21, 2019

What kind of grape is Pouilly-Fumé?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the wines from this Loire Valley region.

Jun 19, 2019

Is it true that you can clean a red wine stain with white wine? What's the best way to clean a wine stain?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers some tried and true methods and advice for …

Jun 17, 2019

How long will an unopened bottle of Champagne stay good?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how sparkling wine ages.

Jun 14, 2019

Are sulfites added to wines for shipping?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where sulfites come from, and why wines often …

Jun 12, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search