Half bottles vs Coravin

Nowadays I mostly buy Bordeaux in half bottles and often I do that early in the “en primeur campain” - They are often sold out in EU when the wine is bottled. The main disadvantage is that I often have to buy minimum 12 bottles before knowing if I really like the wine. So now I’m thinking about the coravin alternative.

I don’t have any experience with coravin yet but would like to have your view on this:

Half bottles do not age as good as bigger bottles and there may be som kind of quality difference if you keep them for a longer time (>10 to 15 years +). But I also find it hard to find any good evidence for this, but I’m assuming this is the case.

On the other hand, if you buy a 0,75cl bottle it ages better. But if you only drink half of it, will the remaing half, if coravined and drunk 1-2 month(s) later, be of better quality than a real half bottle aged >10-15 years?

I know some people don’t like the effects of a coravined wine…and the easiest way is to buy one and try. Then I also have to compare with a half bottle of the same age and stored exactly the same way, which is not easy to find.

In any case, I can’t be the only one here to think about this, even if the subject is a bit theoretical.

Good question and curious myself.

No. If you Coravin out a glass or less, you can probably get away with storing the rest for a while with minimal impact. But the more empty the bottle gets, that extra air space negatively impacts the quality of the wine even though they say the Argon is “inert”. No air is much better.


I don’t think it’s the case that 750s age “better” than 375s. Just more slowly. If your goal is to drink a bottle at peak and you don’t have the desire or patience to wait however many years it would take for a 750 to get there, 375s might be the better format choice.


My take is there is little chance it will be better and likely to be worse. I don’t think you can beat aging in an unopened bottle. But there are whole threads arguing over how oxygen affects wine that you can check out for other opinions.

I looked into this and decided that the hassle/uncertainty of coravin wasn’t worth it for me. However, I’m not drinking a glass here and there by itself. I drink with dinner, often with friends/family, so not often that a 750 is not totally consumed. If I only want half of a 750, I put the remainder in a 375 bottle and drink it in a couple of days with rarely any problems.


I love craving but mostly use it over a week or two , and once it’s half empty I try and finish it in a fay or two.

375s are great. Your observation on case purchases are the first downside I’ve heard of.

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For red wine, I have found Coravin to devastate aromas and sometimes change the character of wine. I would prefer a well stored 375ml over the 2nd half of a Coravin pour.


Thank you all for your replies. I still feel quite cofident in continue my half bottles purchases :grinning:

At the en primeur campaign I blind-bought several 2022’s in half bottle including LCHB, Branaire Ducru and Beau-Sejour Becot. I got carried away with the positive reviews and this time it would prove to be right thing to do. In september I had the opportunity to taste about 30 different 2022’s and to my taste the style and quality of the vintage is extraordinairy. I then added some extra purchases such as La Gaffeliere and Brane-Cantenac.

Please, learn some chemistry. Argon is inert, not “inert”. It’s the tiniest amount of oxygen that gets inside the bottle and negatively impacts the quality of wine, not argon. Argon being inert means that it doesn’t interact with the wine in any meaningful way - no matter of suspicion, doubt and quotes on an internet board can change that fact.

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Hi Otto - I don’t have a horse in this race, but I’m wondering if the theory is that Ar is denser than air so it would cover the surface of the wine and prevent oxygen from coming in contact with it?

See Brownian motion | Physics, Math & History | Britannica.


However, since argon is a gas, it takes some time to settle down as a layer to protect the wine. If some oxygen gets inside the bottle, it’s possible that some of that oxygen dissolves in the wine before things settle down and argon forms that protective blanket.

And whenever the bottle is disturbed, it allows for a new chance for the gases to get mixed for a short period of time.

:roll_eyes: Nobody cares about the chemistry definition. The quotes were referencing the marketing speak on the Coravin and how they say it perfectly preserves wine because “argon is inert”, but it doesn’t actually work that way in the real world. Maybe the capsule isn’t 100% argon, maybe oxygen gets in when you insert the needle, maybe oxygen continues to get in via the hole in the cork that doesn’t fully close, maybe space aliens inject oxygen while you are sleeping, either way, a half full Coravin’d bottle isn’t going to stay fresh very long.

And (at the risk of repeating previous posts of mine), oxygen isn’t the only issue. Even if the headspace in a Coravined bottle were 100% argon, with no oxygen, volatile components may evaporate if there is that much gas and you’ll lose some of the bouquet over time, I think.

Just because you don’t care doesn’t translate to “nobody cares”. I know there are several people who know and care about chemistry many magnitudes more than I do.

This is more accurate, because you are now quoting completely a marketing claim - the previous use case was just incorrect, because you were quoting only a fact that argon is inert. Just because somebody says or doesn’t say something about it doesn’t change it.

However, if you wanted to quote them without trying to show facts in questionable light, it’d be better to say: they say “it perfectly preserves wine” because argon is inert, because that quoted part isn’t a fact, just marketing talk. Sorry about all this nitpickery, but I just can’t help myself if I see somebody saying something really dumb. You have really been on a roll with those.

100% with you on these points. Still on the fence with space aliens.

I have never planned on getting the device for myself because I have too many disappointing experiences with Coravined bottles, too.

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I never said it was a well-founded theory :grin:
I’ll let Stan calculate the Brownian diffusion coefficients.

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Blah blah blah… It’s the volatile aromatics leaving the wine for the increased headspace, seeking a new equilibrium, that makes Coravined wines taste flat when drained to some point. People on here who happily use the Coravin sample to about the half-way point, then open and drink the rest. And that’s usually over the course of a week. Taking a few ounces once a year for a few years is probably fine. Taking half the bottle, then leaving a half-emptied bottle in the cellar for some extended period is going to be a risk, and depending on the wine.

According to someone in a recent conversation elsewhere the current Coravin manufacture guidelines recommend not storing a wine below half volume. Certainly not what their marketing implies, but sensible, if true.

Nobody talks about it much, but the Coravin sparkling is actually the better product IMO. I’ve used it and had Champagne 2-3 weeks later that’s still perfectly fresh. Now, I don’t use it for “prized” botltes of Champagne – both because there’s never any left of the good stuff and because only with them I do worry about it showing less complexity/aromatics/etc – but for entry level Champagnes, I can totally drink a glass at a time, not worry about the soundness of the wine and still enjoy every glass. I find I only get 1 or maybe 2 extra days of completely sound Champagne (and certainly not mutliple openings) from standard Chamapgne stoppers.