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'Zilla Wine and Tunes Pairing

The two essential elements of the CORKZILLA experience – Wine and music – in a pairing. Our signature feature will continue in 2013, but we've decided to take a break from the grind of producing thoughtful pairings on a monthly basis. Please look for an archive page highlighting our pairings from the past coming soon. Cheers!

What We're Listening to

Keith Richards, "Crosseyed Heart," Republic Records

Gary Clark Jr., "The Story of Sonny Boy Slim," Warner Brothers Records

Warren Haynes Featuring Railroad Earth, "Ashes and Dust," Concord Records

Jason Isbell, "Something More Than Free," Southeastern Records

Phish, "Live Bait Vol. 11" (free digital download)

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, "Chasing Yesterday," Sour Mash Records

Neil Young, "On the Beach," Reprise Records

Massive Attack, "Protection," Circa Records

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Black Messiah," RCA Records

Brokedown in Bakersfield, "Live!," Little Sur Records

Ryan Adams, "Ryan Adams," Pax-Am Records

Rich Robinson, "The Ceaseless Sight," The End Records

Jack White, "Lazaretto," Third Man Records

The Wayne Shorter Quartet, "Without a Net," Blue Note Records

Reach out to CORKZILLA

Entries in Wine Shield (1)

Tuesday
Oct142014

WINE GEAR: Saving Your Wine - An Update

Editor's note: CORKZILLA welcomes back occasional columnist and dear friend Jim Louderback for another in his series on wine-related gadgets. He submitted two columns for us in 2011 (which can be found here and here), took some time off from noodling with the latest in wine gizmos, and now he's back for an update. Enjoy!

By Jim Louderback

A few years ago I wrote a story for CORKZILLA about my experiences with devices, gasses and other gewgaws that purported to preserve an open bottle of wine so you could drink it the next day, or even the next week.

I ended up deciding that a two pronged system – using both a barrier and an inert gas – was ideal. Mysystem of choice used both the Wine Shield and a canister of nitrogen and other inert gases from Private Preserve. But times change, devices change, and my preferred method of preserving wine has changed as well.

I have not yet laid out the $300 plus for the Coravin, an innovative device that uses a needle to penetrate the cork of a valued bottle – sucking up the wine and replacing it with argon gas. The device reportedly worked great – until a few customers reported that the device caused their wine bottles to explode.

According to one winebar owner, the explosions were caused by users continuing to pump argon into their bottles far beyond what’s necessary. The additional gas ultimately stressed the bottles out, causing them to burst. That same owner still uses and loves his Coravin, but he’s ensured that his bartenders are well versed in how the system works. The company has come up with a fix – essentially a neoprene sleeve for the wine being pumped, which seems to work fine.

Still, $300 for a wine preservation system that still requires you to buy canisters of argon gas seems like a lot to spend. But I was intrigued by the concept of argon – a truly inert gas that sinks, rather than rises.

So a few months ago I was excited to discover VineyardFresh – a new consumer-grade canister of gas, packaged much like Private Preserve, which claimed to be better because it used 100% argon. So I bought two canisters and gave it a whirl.

Unfortunately one of the two canisters I purchased was nearly empty. But the company’s customer support was great – and they quickly mailed me a new one free of charge.

Much to my surprise – as I’ve seen so many "snake oil" contraptions sold as wine preservers – VineyardFresh worked great. It quickly added 3-4 days of life to most bottles I tried it on, when used in conjunction with the Wine Shield. I even started using it on its own – and the results were similar.

From my tests, Wine Shield and Private Preserve together can give you 1-3 days of life for an open bottle, particularly if you close it up pretty quickly after opening. But VineyardFresh does even better. A VineyardFresh / Wine Shield combination gave me routinely 2-3 days of fresh, just opened wine taste, and extended my own drinkability range to five and sometimes six days. It seems to offer 3-4 days of additional freshness even without the Wine Shield.

My recommendations: if you’re looking to preserve a bottle for a day or two, pick up some VineyardFresh and use it without reservations. For a more expensive bottle, or to add another few days, combine it with a Wine Shield. But if you’ve been using Private Preserve – which does work – you’re better off replacing it with VineyardFresh. It is simply delivers better results.

Sooner or later I’ll get my hands on a Coravin and will do some blind testing. Until then, VineyardFresh is the best solution I've found to date.

Jim Louderback's bio

Jim Louderback is a veteran technologist and media executive, lover of great wines, and follower of great bands and music. You may bump into him at various music venues in the Bay Area and beyond. He's a big fan of everything from Pinot Noir to Cabernets and Syrah, but unaccountably can't stomach Zinfandel. On the white side he's happiest with Viognier or a Caymus Vineyards Conundrum, can't stand acidic Sauvignon Blancs, but has been known to wax poetic on Rose. Go figure. Jim lives in Pacifica, CA, with his wife and son. He can be reached at jim@louderback.com.