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‘Smart stopper’ claims to save you from off wine

A new device has been launched claiming to remove the oxygen from your open bottle of wine, helping to preserve it for longer.

Repour wine preserver

Repour was created with the intention of stopping wine waste in bars and restaurants, and has been launched by a Kickstarter campaign, which closes at the end of November.

It is part of a new wave of wine gadgets launched or designed in the past couple of years. This week, bottle stoppers named ‘wine condoms‘ received widespread press coverage in the UK.

Repour, created by US-based chemist Tom Lutz, said the gadget works by absorbing oxygen from the air above the wine in the bottle, no matter many times it is opened and closed.

It can be attached to any kind of bottle and can preserve the wine for several months, it said.

The science bit

‘By putting our oxygen-absorbing material in the Repour smart stopper, we are able to continuously de-gas the oxygen from the air above the wine in the bottle, and from the wine itself, bringing the level of oxygen down below 0.05%,’ said the company’s website.

Lutz said that a slight vacuum is created, but which ‘isn’t what most people would think of as a vacuum.’

‘What happens is air, which is 21% oxygen, in the headspace is completely removed of oxygen with Repour. What is left is other inert elements in the air around us (Nitrogen gas primarily), but because Oxygen is absorbed and not replaced with anything, it creates and effective “vacuum”.’

Some experts questioned how effective the device would be in practice.

Geoff Taylor, of leading UK food lab and research group Campden BRI, told Decanter.com, ‘I hope I’m not being too cynical here, but when you’re launching a new product and making quite bold claims, these claims should be supported by independent scientific evidence. I don’t see any.’

He added, ‘If favourable the company would then use this independent report to highlight the virtues and values of the product.’

How long should you keep wine open?

Once wine has been opened, it can generally only stay fresh for a few days.

After the cork or screwcap has been opened, oxygen is able to interact with the wine. The effect of oxygen after a few days can negatively impact the flavours and aromas.

Christelle Guibert, Decanter tastings director, said, ‘Conventional wines generally last a couple of days open maximum – they tend to deteriorate very quickly.’

‘However, wines made using a more natural approach – ‘living wines’ – I sometimes keep them up to a week in the fridge (even the reds) and they are still showing well. Some even taste better after a second day of being open.’

‘It really depends on the style of winemaking, rather than the colour.’

A UK government funded study in 2012 showed that around £270 million of wine is wasted in households every year.

More wine gadgets: 

Sulphite gadget Ullo launches in UK

Gadget claims to filter out sulphites as wine is poured...

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