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We get this question frequently.  Based on feedback from On-Premise Managers and Sommeliers, as well as our own experience and analysis, compared to Coravin, Repour is:

  • Easier to use, requiring significantly less staff training and time
  • Faster to use, allowing serving staff to focus on guests and not complicated wine preservation pours
  • More effective in preserving a full bottle of wine for an extended period of time
  • Significantly lower cost (up front and per bottle)
  • More reliable (less risk of cross-contamination and spoilage by oxygen exposure):   Because Coravin is designed around wine displacement, it is only effective in a natural cork environment.  Because natural corks vary in elasticity, results with Coravin will vary.

A detailed comparison follows:

 

Method

Repour

Coravin


Components of system




Just one!  The simple Repour Wine Saver stopper

Eight components:  Coravin system holder, Coravin unit, Coravin sleeve, needle, cup, argon gas canister, replacement canisters, replacement needles

Method of Preservation

Active Oxygen Absorption:  

Repour actively and continuously absorbs the oxygen from both the air above the wine, and the wine itself.  The scientific principle of Henry’s Law is at work and ensures that once Repour removes the oxygen, it keeps it removed for as long as it is in the bottle.  

Wine displacement:  

The idea behind Coravin is that it will remove the wine without ever exposing it to air (and the oxygen in the air).  A needle is inserted directly into the natural cork. Pressurized gas is then pushed into the wine bottle through the needle and wine is poured back out slowly through the needle.  Ideally, the wine in the bottle never comes in contact with the oxygen and because cork is elastic, it will reseal itself in a few minutes.

Specific Mechanism:

Inside the Repour stopper is an FDA approved absorbing material.  Once the seal on the bottom of the stopper is removed and the stopper is inserted into an opened bottle of wine, Repour gets to work removing the oxygen from the air above the wine, and from the wine itself.  It works actively and continuously to keep the oxygen removed for as long as the stopper is in the bottle.

The Coravin main unit attaches over the neck of the bottle and pushes a thin, hollow needle through the cork, while the cork remains in the bottle, then injects argon gas through the needle at a specific pressure.  When the bottle (wrapped with a Coravin bottle sleeve for safety) is pressurized, the wine is then poured through the needle into your glass. The needle is then removed. The cork is expected to reseal itself, based on cork elasticity.

How to Use It / Difficulty










Four very easy and simple steps:  Remove seal, insert stopper into bottle in place of original cork or cap.  Keep bottle stopped with Repour when not pouring, for as long as you enjoy that bottle.  When finished with the bottle, dispose of the Repour stopper and start again with a new stopper on each newly opened bottle.  It’s that easy!

Twenty Six Steps…  Literally!  These steps come from directions and video tutorials on Coravin’s own website.  Add even more steps when you have to replace spent canisters and broken needles.  Coravin is difficult to use.

Effectiveness in Preserving Wine

Effective for entire bottle, for as long as needed.  

Generally effective for first half of the bottle saved.  Eventually oxygen starts to creep in, with resulting degradation, at about ½ bottle (see challenges, below).  Cross contamination and unplanned exposure to oxygen (from needle and hole in cork) further limit effectiveness.

Cost – Initial Set Up

None.

  • $349.95 - $399.99 retail initial “system” cost, depending on finish.  This includes case, holder, bottle cover, unit, two gas canisters, and 4 needles.
  • $69.99 for needle replacement kit (includes three needles)
  • Wholesale pricing available.

Cost Per Bottle Ongoing

  • $1.66 - $2.25 per stopper retail price, depending on package size bought. (available in single, 4-pack, 10-pack, and 72-pack)
  • Wholesale pricing available.
  • $3.33 - $5.00 per bottle canister cost.  (Canisters cost about $10 each and are each supposed to last three bottles.  However, users indicate they last for fewer bottles.)
  • Wholesale pricing available.

Time Required to Use

  • Initial set up time – 2 seconds (take stopper out of package and remove seal)
  • Time to use:  Even faster than a normal cork  
  • Set up time:  2 minutes (see steps above)
  • Time to use:  2-3 minutes (see steps above)
  • Time to wash between uses:  1 minute
  • Time to replace canisters and needles when spent and broken:  2 minutes each replacement

Risks

  • None.
  • Risk of bottle explosion (which is why Coravin provides a sleeve to cover the bottle)
  • Risk of cross-contamination, wine oxidation and spoilage, and wine leakage

Challenges

  • Once stopped with Repour, bottles must be stored vertically (horizontal storage will expose Repour to liquid and render it ineffective).
  • Wine sediment (finer bits will pass through the needle) can get into the glass.
  • The needles tend to get clogged with cork particles.  Coravin provides a Needle Clearing Tool, included with the kit, to unclog it.
  • Some countries have banned argon gas coming in contact with food (i.e. Japan)
  • If user forgets to click the trigger prior to using to expel any lingering oxygen, they will shoot oxygen into the bottle, spoiling the wine.
  • In reality, natural corks don’t re-seal immediately or completely after punctured by the Coravin needle.  Users experience it taking ½ hour or more for the cork to “reseal” upon first puncture. After repeated punctures in the same area of the cork, the cork has developed a large hole that is too dry to seal.  This is the reason you often users indicate that Coravin works only for ½ bottle. As a result, users experience oxidation in the wine as oxygen gets through the cork into the bottle, and also, wine leading out through the cork when poured.
  • Cross contamination occurs using Coravin when a user doesn’t clean the needle perfectly between uses.  This contamination ruins the wine, resulting is the wet, molding smell of “corked” wine.
  • While Coravin says on their website that each Premium Coravin Capsule will save 3 bottles (fifteen 5 oz. glasses of wine), most expert reviews indicate fewer are saved in reality.  
  • There is no indicator to let a user know how much gas is left in their canister.  A user will know that the gas is gone only when upon pressing the trigger; no air is heard coming out.  When this occurs the bottle has now been exposed to oxygen and spoilage occurs. This can occur while a busy restaurant is in process of pouring a glass, requiring additional time to pull out the needle, hopefully find a replacement canister close, and start again with a new canister.
  • For on-premise establishments with more than 2 or 3 wines by-the-glass, they will likely need more than one Coravin unit.  This becomes both costly and difficult to properly manage.
  • Coravin warns that pressing the trigger inadvertently while cleaning the spout could damage your unit.
  • If the canister is not tightly screwed onto the Coravin unit, gas can leak, rendering the device ineffective when the gas is gone and limiting the number of glasses saved with that canister.
  • Needles break during use, requiring users to buy replacement needs (currently $69.99 for 3 needle replacement kit).