Free to Explore... and Preserve

by Mae Gilliland Wright

Enhance your wine experience without ever pulling the cork.

If you are a wine enthusiast, you likely have a bottle or two in storage that you’ve been waiting for just the right moment to open. After all, once the cork is removed, the clock starts ticking. But what if you could have a single glass of your most prized wine… and leave the bottle safely sealed for future evenings? What if you could sample some of the world’s best wines without spending an arm and a leg on the bottle? The Coravin wine preservation system promises to do just that. 

Accidental Discovery
“We heard about the Coravin kind of by accident,” says Patrick Caplis, general manager at Two25 Restaurant in downtown Peoria. “One of our wine reps brought it in to use for some expensive samples, and I asked him about it.” By using the Coravin, Caplis was able to taste the wine and keep the bottle around for customers to enjoy as well. 

Instead of removing the cork, the Coravin system punctures it with a medical-grade, syringe-like,  non-coring needle. “The needles are small enough that when removed, the cork closes behind it, preventing oxygen from ever entering the bottle,” Caplis explains. “Without being exposed to oxygen, the wine will stay good forever.”

In order to remove the wine from the bottle, Coravin system utilizes canisters of pure argon, a naturally occurring inert gas, which pressurizes the bottle, allowing the wine to flow through the needle. Depending on the size of the needle, the process takes from around 20 seconds to a minute. Once the needle is removed, the cork reseals itself naturally. “As a result, we can offer wines of a much higher price point and not risk losing inventory,” Caplis says.

Sampling Iconic Wines
Two25 currently offers six wines thanks to the Coravin system: Duckhorn Chardonnay, Goldeneye Pinot Noir, Paraduxx Proprietary Blend, Orin Swift Papillon, Concha y Toro Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon and Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Explore Locally
At least two Peoria-area restaurants are currently using the Coravin system—Two25 Restaurant in downtown Peoria and Kemp 208 in Morton—allowing them to pour glasses of wines that were previously served only by the bottle. For home use, the Coravin system is available at Bed Bath & Beyond in Peoria, according to coravin.com. Coravin models retail at $199.95 and up—visit coravin.com to determine which model is right for you.

The Orin Swift Papillon, a Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blend, is one of Caplis’ personal favorites. It’s intensely aromatic—the color of inky, dark garnet—with a taste described as ripe blackcurrant and blackberry with hints of Kirsch, Madagascar vanilla and cigar box. 

“The creator of Orin Swift, David Phinney, is one of the most iconic wine makers of the 21st century,” Caplis notes. “He started Orin Swift in 1998 after working for Robert Mondavi Winery as a harvest worker. He started with Zinfandel—the second most difficult grape to grow—and he was phenomenal with it. His wines Papillon, Mannequin, Palermo, Machete and Mercury Head are all considered some of the best wines available.” 

When dealing with wines of this caliber, the Coravin wine preservation system makes a lot of sense. For enthusiasts, it’s well worth considering for use in the home. For others, it creates an opportunity to try wines at restaurants that might otherwise be unaffordable. 

“Normally, a bottle of Papillon in a larger city would cost $150, and $45 by the glass,” Caplis explains. “We’re able to charge much more reasonable prices.” Those looking to drink more than one glass at the restaurant, he adds, should probably just purchase the entire bottle. But if you are looking for a unique wine experience, Coravin is a game-changer. a&s

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