Coravin is officially launching a new piece of wine tech that allows businesses “to fractionalise wine on the fly with a machine only slightly larger than an espresso maker”, according to company founder, Greg Lambrecht.
Called Vinitas, it’s being described as a “revolutionary single-serve system” that’s designed to help the wine trade share preserved sample bottles with a wider audience.
Speaking exclusively to WLC ahead of the launch at ProWein in March this year, Lambrecht recalled how the idea to fractionalise full bottles of wine into smaller samples emerged during the pandemic, when producers started hosting virtual tastings.
Although the concept came about in the early days of Covid, it has taken some time to perfect the system, which is not only automated, but promises to yield samples with a 12-month shelf-life.
Greg told WLC why Vinitas was hard to get right. “Wine is an extremely delicate thing, and if you are sending wine through tubes into a container, you need to make sure everything is perfectly clear of any oxygen – anyone can make a system that transfers wine from a bottle, but getting the sample to last for a year is a challenge,” he explained.
Continuing, he said, “The other challenge was to be as gentle as possible, because wine is fragile, so we had to find the smoothest path we could, which meant taking out any corner edges – the machine’s inner plumbing had to be as straight as possible.”
Having formulated a suitable system, Coravin then spent more than eighteen months testing the Vinitas fractionalisation device with wineries, retailers, and wine schools around the world, with partners including Napa Valley Wine Academy and Langton’s, along with Château Montelena and Stéphane Derenoncourt of Domaine de l’A, among others.
Lambrecht said that the level of interest in the machine has been broad, from producers to restaurants, who have seen the benefit of the ‘try before you buy’ approach that’s made affordable with wine sample bottles.
“With Coravin Vinitas, companies, hospitality services, and trade can sample and fractionalise any bottle, any time…” he said, adding that this means there’s no longer a need to ship full-size bottles where only a taster is needed.
In terms of costs for those who choose to use Vinitas, the monthly leases start from $750 per month and the sample bottles are just over $1 each.