Coravin Wine Access System
Coravin, the maker of a wine preservation device costing $300, faces an explosive problem.
The Massachusetts-based startup has reported seven bottles exploded during or after use of the Coravin system. In one case a customer received a cut lip and chipped tooth.
Coravin stopped shipping their product and put out a voluntary alert right away that advised customers not to use the device until they received a neoprene sleeve that fits around the bottle.
All existing and new customers will receive the neoprene sleeve free of charge. “Testing neoprene sleeves, we feel they completely contain the unlikely rupture that could happen,” says founder Greg Lambrecht.
So, how serious is the problem? According to Coravin, a bottle must already be damaged to cause a rupture while using the Coravin. The odds are very low that a rupture will occur, estimated at about one in 78,000 bottles, and in fact, Coravin has been unable to replicate the reported bottle explosions in its lab.
Despite the reported ruptures and the one reported injury, the Coravin still appears to be getting overwhelming support from current users on various wine forums.
Said one reader of Wine Spectator: “For what it’s worth I’ve had a Coravin unit for several months, and use it many times a week with no issues. I can’t tell you how much money it has saved me.”
Coravin also advises users to inspect their bottles for chips or flaws before using the Coravin. Wine bottles are designed to withstand pressures more than 20 times higher than the pressure caused by using Coravin, but bottles with a manufacturing flaw, such as a large bubble in the glass, or that have been dropped and have an undetected crack, would be at risk of exploding.
The neoprene sleeves are being shipped to customers in July, Coravin says. ■