Over the last three and a half years that Mrs. Tiedemann and I have been hanging out regularly in Chicago, one of our go-to places to shop is the Bloomingdale’s Home Store located at 600 North Wabash Avenue.
I think Bloomingdale’s has a reputation for being a little expensive. However, Bloomingdales’ business model presents a good number of monthly, deeply discounted, sales…discounts that run from 20% to 80%. Usually the discounts are storewide, but sometimes individual departments have extra discounts. So if you watch closely and pay attention to Bloomingdale’s marketing materials you’ll have advanced notice of sales. If you do, you can almost always buy things you need, or want, on sale and save quite a few bucks. Of course, when these sales come up there always seems to be something Mrs. Tiedemann and I can’t live without. Over the years, we have become friends with a number of the sales staff at the Wabash Avenue store, including Ken Murphy in the Housewares Department and Ronnie Frey in the Furniture and Rugs Department. Mrs. Tiedemann and I joke that we have our own “Personal Shoppers.”
Last fall, Ken contacted Mrs. Tiedemann and told her he had a new wine device that he thought I could use in our wine business. He asked us to stop by the store the next time we were in Chicago and he would show us. On our next trip to Chicago, we headed to Bloomingdale’s to see what Ken had discovered. When we arrived, Ken introduced us to a company representative who was demonstrating the new Coravin System wine tool. I was so excited about this new wine invention, I bought myself a Coravin 1000 system on the spot…it was something I couldn’t live without.
For those of you who don’t know about Coravin Systems, it is a handheld device that allows you to access the wine in a bottle and pour it into a glass without pulling the cork. Furthermore, it protects the remaining wine from oxidation. It does this by injecting argon gas into the bottle as the wine pours. Argon gas simply fills the space where the wine was in the bottle. Argon is an inert gas that is heavier than air and is used by winemakers all of the time. Argon has no negative effect on the wine.
Why Consider a Coravin:
The benefits of a Coravin are worth the cost in my opinion. The cost range of the various models is from $199.00 to $345.00 on the Coravin website, and runs the same on the Amazon and Wine Enthusiast websites.
Here are the reasons I recommend a Coravin:
- It allows you to sample wines from bottles and not have to open the bottle.
- You can drink or pair a number of wines with your food yet not have to open entire bottles. For example, at dinner, you could have a white wine with your salad, a light red and a heavier red with the main course and a glass of port with dessert.
- The Coravin works very well when I am doing a wine tasting with a potential customer. I can provide a taste out of many bottles yet not waste the entire bottle, My Coravin paid for itself in two wine tastings by not wasting all the bottles of wine.
- If you are a wine collector or have a wine cellar, the Coravin allows you to test bottles of wine in your cellar to see if they are or have aged properly.
Here is a video produced by Coravin on how to use this new wine tool. As you’ll see, it is very simple to use:
What are the issues with a Coravin:
- They are pretty pricey. As I noted earlier they run from about $200.00 to $350.00 each depending on what model you purchase.
- The gas capsules are expensive (at around $16.00 to $18.00 for a set of two). You get about 12 to 15 pours per capsule. You can only use Coravin capsules on a Coravin wine tool so you can’t shop around for better-priced capsules.
- As I have said, the system and the capsules are expensive, so it’s a system that is worthwhile only if you want to sample a lot of difference wines or drink fairly expensive wines and want to be able to have a glass or two without using up the entire bottle.
- There is a reason they have included the bottle sleeve in the Coravin kit. I have not had a problem, but I have read reports that there have been instances of wine bottles shattering after the Coravin System has been used on the bottle a number of times. After a couple of times of using the system on a bottle, I do use the bag as a precaution.
- It can only be used on natural cork bottles. It doesn’t work on bottles with synthetic corks as they will not reseal.
I find the system works perfectly and I give the Coravin a “thumbs up.” However, you’ll have to make your own decision on spending the money on one of the various Coravin System models. I did read one review of the Coravin where a gentleman said he loved the device but complained “his wine consumption had increased dramatically since he purchased the Coravin.” You be the judge.
I will leave you with on more interesting video on why the Coravin System was developed:
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Until next week,
Please join us for these Upcoming Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club dinners:
October 13, Old World Versus New World Wines, Dinner at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk in Elkhart, 6:30 p.m.
November 10, Spanish Wine Dinner at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk in Elkhart, 6:30 p.m.