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Interview with Greg Lambrecht, creator of Coravin


Tell us about your career before creating Coravin?
I was running two medical companies at the time before creating it. I developed new medical therapies. The first one was for chemotherapy delivery for cancer patients, involving an implant underneath the skin where chemotherapy is injected using a surgical needle.

Why did you decide to create Coravin?
I made it for myself. I fell in love with wine when I was underage. I was 16, in California, and I was fascinated by the beautiful taste, the beautiful smells, and the variety, but there was always the issue of oxidation, so I had to finish or throw the bottle. As a wine lover, I wanted to be able to taste these wonderful wines side by side. To do that, I had to invent a new process, which required a lot of work. I was frustrated that I would buy a 75cl bottle and only drink a glass.

How could I drink a glass without removing the cork?
In 1999, I made my first prototype in my kitchen, using a medical needle, a gas source, and a regulator. The first night, I drank five different wines, and then another five different wines the next night. I was tasting Bordeaux side by side, Spanish wines, different vintages... I wanted to prove that I could drink a glass a day, drink from the same bottle again five years later, and it would taste the same. That was my goal. Each time, I made blind tastings to control about it and to see if I could detect any differences. It took me 11 years of tasting to get it right. I started the company in 2011, experimenting with different wines from different regions, varieties, natural wines, and vintages. My wine cellar became like a wine store with 3,000 bottles all around my house. I had the largest wine-by-the-glass program in the USA, in my house.


In 2021, you released the Coravin Sparkling. How does it differ from the Coravin Timeless?
It is completely different. There are two issues with champagne when you open the bottle: it can oxidize and lose its effervescence. The good news is that champagne contains carbon dioxide, which is heavier than oxygen, so very little air gets in when you pour it. With Coravin, we use argon gas, a noble gas, that pushes the wine out of the bottle into the glass, minimizing air exposure. That's Timeless. With sparkling wine, it protects itself from the air that enters when you pour it because CO2 is released and pushes the air out. However, you need to make sure that no more carbon dioxide escapes and no oxygen enters. So, we have a stopper that fits on any bottle. You can drink from several bottles at a time. This changes the way sparkling wines can be served at restaurants and how you drink at home.

Is Coravin's technology applicable in other sectors besides wine?
We've seen some of our products being used with whiskies, scotch, sakes, and sherry. We will use the Pivot product, which works with any bottle and any cork.

In which countries are you distributed? Which country uses Coravin the most?
We are in 60 countries, pretty much anywhere wine is made or sold. Our biggest market is the USA, followed by France, UK, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

What are your future projects?
To be more focused on the restaurant trade. I would love for sommeliers to be able to pour using Coravin without needing to look, pouring exactly 25cl, 50cl... With Coravin, at the moment, you need to pay attention to how much you pour. That's my future goal!

Interview by Sandy Bénard Ravoisier