One of the most interesting, handy-dandy devices finding its way into local tasting rooms is the Coravin Model Two, which lets you access wine in a bottle without removing the cork.
The product was designed by Greg Lambrecht, a wine lover with a background in physical and mechanical engineering, nuclear power and medical devices. “For me, wine is a thinking beverage—it’s something you contemplate, experience side by side,” he writes on the company website. “I wanted to taste three or four different bottles, but wasn’t about to pull the cork on four different bottles in one night.”
So what’s a self-professed “science geek” to do? “I came up with the idea to pass a non-coring needle through the cork while it was still in the bottle,” Lambrecht writes. The Coravin System combines this original idea with a cartridge that delivers argon gas to the bottle, thereby forcing wine out and filling the resulting empty space in the bottle to keep the wine preserved indefinitely. When the needle is removed, the cork reforms its natural seal.
The applications are obvious for tasting rooms and vintners, but the system can also be useful in private use for those who want to compare vintages or only drink one glass at a time.
Have you ever wanted to know a little more about a wine before you bought it? That’s entirely possible with the interactive wine label iQ-dio. Calling itself the “next generation of wine label” it lets buyers engage in a whole new way. Shoppers scan the iQ-dio logo on the wine label (which is embedded with a dynamic QR code) with their phone to receive instant content about the wine, including audio from the winemaker, tasting notes, paring suggestions, videos, photos, access to coupons contests and more. iQ-dio works seamlessly with any smartphone, no app downloading required.
iQ-dio also lets the winemakers know just how their product is being consumed. Winemakers can track scans by location and variety and make changes to their information at any time without having to reprint labels.
One of the more fun “extras” we’ve experienced lately came from Benovia Winery’s 10th anniversary soiree. In addition to great food, wine and socializing, guests were also treated to a customized wine glass, engraved onsite by Napa-based Say It on Wine.
Company founder Adam Schneider was inspired to bring mobile engraving to North Bay Wine Country after helping develop the technology for a wine shop where he worked in New York state. “When I first came to Napa, I worked in a few tasting rooms, and I didn’t see anything like what we’d been doing back east. That was when the lightbulb went off,” he says.
First housed in a downtown Napa tasting room, the 2014 earthquake forced Schneider to go mobile. That’s when things really took off. “From March through December, we’re at winery events pretty much every weekend,” he says. This is in addition to a steady stream of online and private client orders (for weddings, retirements, birthdays and the like).
Schneider can engrave on round or flat glass surfaces, and “two-color images are best,” he says, because the engraving process backs everything down to black and white. The best part, though, is the speed. He can engrave a bottle or glass with a name or basic image in one minute or less; intricate designs can usually be done in three to five minutes.
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