Coravin Pivot makes wine preservation easy for consumers
Extend the life of your everyday wines for four weeks
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Good wine doesn't come cheap, and it's always disheartening if you can't commit to emptying a bottle before it spoils.
So when Coravin, an innovative leader in wine preservation, launched a more consumer-accessible device—the Pivot, and its counterpart, the Pivot+—with promises to extend the life of your everyday wines for up to four weeks, I jumped at the chance to try it.
About the Coravin Pivot wine preservation system
The Pivot marks a significant shift from previous Coravin wine preservation systems, which are coveted by wine collectors and industry professionals for their ability to keep wine drinkable for many months, and sometimes years.
Until now, the models were created to pour wine from a bottle without ever pulling the cork, using a long hollow and very sharp needle to extract the wine out of the bottle and replace it with argon gas to prevent any unnecessary oxygen from interacting and spoiling any of the remaining wine.
However, the Pivot works by requiring you to first remove the cork, and then immediately replace it with an airtight stopper. This changeup means the Pivot works not just on bottles with traditional corks, but those with screw cap closures, too. Coravin also replaced that long sharp needle with a long silver tube with a rounded edge.
Using the Pivot is simple: After you've placed one of the Pivot stoppers into the opened bottle, insert the device through the stopper. Tilt the bottle over the glass and press the button at the top of the Pivot. As the wine pours into the glass, pure argon gas is released into the bottle.
Unlike other Coravin models, this system will only keep wine drinkable for up to four weeks. But for casual imbibers—especially those who enjoy drinking wine one glass at a time—this should be plenty of time to get through a bottle.
What I like
The Pivot is a breath of fresh argon in the Coravin lineup. Just like the other models, it works really well at preserving wine! A good five weeks after I opened two California wines—a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir (which I then stored in my wine fridge after capping with the Pivot stoppers)—they tasted as if I had just opened them. That's pretty impressive for a device that promised four weeks of preservation. The aromas coming out of the glass were just as bright as when I uncorked the wines and the fruit and earth notes on the palates were nearly as flavorful.
At a retail price of $99, the Pivot is more affordable than the other traditional Coravin models, making it much more approachable for everyday wine drinkers. Other Coravin models can cost hundreds of dollars.
The Pivot is also much easier to use. It's smaller and feels less clunky while attached to the bottle, making for a more streamlined pouring experience. The spout pours wine nearly as fast as if it was coming straight out of the bottle. (A big complaint of using the traditional Coravin systems is how slowly the wine trickles into the glass. The $500 Model Eleven improves on the speed of the pour, but you'll have to use more argon gas to get the faster pour).
The Pivot stoppers fit snugly and securely onto the bottles, and with the closure cap snapped in place, you can confidently store the bottle on its side without fear of wine dripping, too. The Pivot itself also can store easily in a shallow drawer.
If you upgrade to the newly-released Pivot+ for an additional $30, you'll get an extra argon gas capsule (which usually costs about $8 when sold in sets of two or six) and an aerator that attaches to the pouring spout. The Pivot aerator performs beautifully. Its corkscrew-like spigot lets an impressive amount of oxygen hit the wine as it sprays into the glass, helping to soften some of the tannins (or other harsh textures) of the wine.
To get a little nerdy, Coravin claims the Pivot aerator increases the surface area of the wine by 1,000, or the equivalent of decanting the wine 60 to 90 minutes. In a side-by-side tasting, pouring wine into a glass from an undecanted bottle with and without the aerator had significant taste differences.
What I don't like
To be honest, I'm never a fan of products that require additional purchases. The Pivot still requires you to buy the Coravin Pure Capsules (the argon gas refills) for the lifetime of the product. However, you can pour about 20 glasses of wine from a single capsule. And of course, the whole reason this system works is thanks to the argon gas that replaces any oxygen left in the bottle.
My only other minor quibbles: The extra $30 to get the aerator and an extra capsule for the Pivot+ seems just a tiny bit excessive, especially considering the Pivot+ doesn't offer any of the color choices as the original model. The Pivot is available in fun color choices, like turquoise, red, light gray, or a black top, whereas the Pivot+ is only available in black.
Should you buy the Coravin Pivot or Pivot+?
If your heart skips a beat every time you pour leftover wine down the kitchen sink because you didn't finish the bottle before it goes bad, the clear answer is yes!
If you prefer opening multiple bottles at once—whether doing a side-by-side tasting, want different wine pairings for each course of your meal, or you're drinking with friends or family with specific wine preferences—then the answer is yes again. Leftover wine just shouldn't go to waste! (If you anticipate opening more than two bottles at once, just make sure you also purchase some extra stoppers.)
Upgrading to the Pivot+ is a personal choice on whether you want the aerator or not. If you're preserving your wine, chances are you won't be giving the bottle a full decant, so it makes for a quick way to let your wine breathe without letting it sit in the glass before you start drinking.
Coravin has finally designed a product that's a bit more affordable for the casual wine drinker. Anyone who wants to make their bottles last a little longer should consider this accessory to their home bar.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.