Space & Innovation

Smart Wine Bottle Keeps Your Bordeaux Fresh

Kuvée says its wine bottle can keep your favorite vintage fresh for up to 30 days.

Many people enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner, but after a glass or two, what do you do with the rest of the bottle? Once opened, wine immediately begins to react with the air and spoil, so how can you avoid ruining your favorite vintage?

Now, a company called Kuvée has designed a device that it says can keep wine fresh for up to 30 days, and perhaps even longer.

Chianti Wine's Origins Found Down A Well: Photos

What makes opened wine taste bad after just a few days? The culprit is oxygen, scientists say. As soon as you pull out a cork, air floods the bottle, displacing the gas that was trapped inside. Fresh air contains oxygen that is absorbed by the wine over the next few days. Oxygen reacts with phenolic compounds, the chemicals that produce wine's flavor and aroma.

These reactions, known as oxidation, change the chemical structure of the phenolic compounds, dulling and flattening the taste and smell of the wine.

Kuvée (pronounced "koo-vay,"after the French word for a special allotment of wine) has created a bottle that can help wine stay fresh, by keeping air out, according to the company.

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The Kuvée is a two-part system: a sealed capsule that stores the wine and a hollow sheath that is used to pour. When the capsule is inserted into the Kuvée bottle, it looks and feels much like a standard wine bottle. And that was an intentional part of the design, said Ed Tekeian, chief technical officer for Kuvée.

"We wanted to have something that pours like a bottle of wine – versus a coffee maker that sits on your countertop," Tekeian told Live Science.

The key to the Kuvée system is a patented, multistage valve in the neck of the capsule that replaces the cork. An outer, sealed valve opens only when a pin inside the Kuvée bottle punctures it. The valve reseals when the capsule is removed from the bottle, the company said.

For the inner valve, the Kuvée team borrowed an idea that is more commonly found in medical technology. This so-called "check valve," often used in dialysis equipment, only allows liquid to flow in one direction, limiting what can pass in reverse. When the bottle is tipped to pour, wine puts pressure on a flap in the valve, pushing it open so that wine can flow out, the company said. But when the bottle is upright, the flap is tightly closed, preventing air from entering the bottle.

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"The Kuvée bottle is never truly open," so less than 0.1 grams of oxygen enters the bottle as the wine pours, Tekeian said. And he has the data to back up his claims. The Kuvée research team measured the accumulation of dissolved oxygen in wine over time and the decline of a chemical called sulfur dioxide, which indicates how much oxidation has occurred.

Sommeliers also evaluated the same samples, he said. At the end of 30 days, the wine in a Kuvée bottle is similar in both chemical makeup and taste to wine that has been in a standard corked bottle for three days, according to Tekeian.

The Kuvée bottle comes equipped with a full color screen so you can learn more about the wine you are drinking. The Wi-Fi-enabled "smart" bottle also allows you to order more wine, provide feedback about your preferences, and receive suggestions about other wines you might enjoy. The Kuvée bottle and four bottles of wine are available for $199 through pre-orders on the company's website. Additional bottles of wine can be purchased at their usual retail price ($15 – $50), and orders will begin shipping in October to California and Massachusetts, the company said.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to correct the amount of oxygen that enters the bottle as the wine pours, and to adjust the estimated shipping date.

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The ancestor of Chianti wine may have been found in this ancient 105-foot-deep well in the Chiantishire region of Tuscany.

Located in Cetamura, an ancient hilltop near Gaiole in Chianti in the province of Siena, the well has been excavated for the past four years by a team led by Nancy de Grummond, a professor of classics at Florida State, under the supervision of the Archaeological Superintendency of Tuscany and with the help of the Italian archaeological firm of Ichnos.

The archaeologists unearthed a bonanza of artifacts spanning a period of more than 15 centuries, and embracing Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany.

Artifacts recovered ranged from bronze vessels, votive cups, statuettes, bronze artifats to coins, game pieces and animal bones.

The most precious material, though, might be some 500 waterlogged grape seeds. Found in at least three different levels of the well, which include the Etruscan and Roman levels, the perfectly preserved pips might reveal the ancestors of Chianti an provide key insights into the history of viticulture in a region now famous for its bold reds.

Offerings found in the well, which like other water sources in antiquity, was regarded as sacred, included hundreds of miniature votive cups, some 70 bronze and silver coins, numerous pieces used in games of fortune, and several statuettes. Here is a bronze statuette of a playful calf.

Among the most notable finds are 14 Roman and Etruscan bronze vessels, of different shapes and sizes and with varying decorations, that had been used to extract water.

One of the Etruscan vessels, actually a wine bucket, appears finely tooled and decorated with figurines of the marine monster Skylla.

The archaeologists were able to put into context the grape pips as they unearthed many objects associated with wine drinking and numerous ceramic vessels related to wine storage. The picture shows an Etruscan wine strainer handle with deer head finial.

Read the full story here.