Coravin wine access system – aimed at a classier market than me

A touch of cup-and-sorcery … Rhik Samadder tests the Coravin wine access system.


The Coravin wine access system (£269, is a sprung clamp with non-coring needle and spout. Used to extract bottled wine without disrupting its maturation.


You’d have to be a dipsomaniac not to get excited by this opportunity to control your drinking.


How do you open a bottle without opening a bottle? It sounds like something a goblin might ask before letting you cross his riddling bridge. Or, worse, a magic trick. (I bloody hate magicians, with their patter and facial hair and strange personalities that they’ve funnelled into dexterity with cards.) The Coravin wine access system has more than a touch of cup-and-sorcery to it. It actually lets you pour from a bottle without removing the cork first, so oxygen never touches what is left inside. This is game-changing. (It takes a messianic will to change water to wine, but oxidation will turn wine to vinegar in a day.)

Black, zinc and packaged like a Bond villain’s torture kit, it is chilling to behold. In use, a surgical-grade steel needle, plunged through foil and cork, injects an inert gas via a trigger. Pressurised wine flows up the needle and out the spout. Once the needle is removed, the naturally expansive cork reseals itself. Voila! Inspired by the technology of spinal taps, this is engineering turned up to 11.

‘This gadget is revolutionary.’
‘This gadget is revolutionary.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

I have a go, screwing in an argon canister and lumbar-puncturing a pudding wine. I’m no sommelier; my pour suggests something smellier, a frothy splash followed by incontinent dribbling at the spout. But it works! I invert the bottle afterwards – no leak. It’s incredible. Restaurants already use Coravin to sell good stuff by the glass, or offer tastings without wasting a whole bottle. It is clearly aimed at a classier market than me. The first time I saw the device’s strapline, I felt an urge to shout: “I got your wine access system RIGHT HERE, buddy,” while jabbing a thumb towards my mouth. My friends, similarly, are as likely to drink one glass of wine as they are to eat one nacho or wear one shoe. But assuming you have a cellar and/or some self-control, this gadget is revolutionary.

Are you ready for the Coravin of Love? If you’re saving a bottle for a special occasion, sod that – have some now. After all, the magic is in the moment.

Any downside?

£269? Coravin’ a laugh.

Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?

Top of the cabinet, sauvignon. 4/5