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We love doing reviews on wine accessories, especially when we may find one that helps many people. Let’s see if Repour is one of those.
First, a little background. One of the challenges most of us have is what to do with a bottle of wine that we don’t finish in one day (yes, it actually does happen!). There have been so many devices invented over the years from simple stoppers, vacuum pumps, cans of gas, bladders to put inside the bottle, etc. that it is difficult to find one that actually works.
A lot depends on how long you plan on storing the bottle, but even if you plan on drinking the rest of the wine the next day, something may come up and suddenly it’s two, three, or more days before you get back to it. The first thing you should do is store the opened bottle with some kind of stopper in the refrigerator, which will protect it the best. As you probably know, oxygen is great to “open up” a wine, but bad for prolonged exposure. The refrigerator’s cold temperature helps slow down the oxygen effect compared to just leaving it sitting on your counter.
The next thing you should do is find a wine preservation system that works, and that’s where the Internet comes in handy to find people like us who test these systems to determine for you the ones that do work.
Years ago, I started out with the vacuum pump, which I still see used quite often in winery tasting rooms (for some unknown reason). It doesn’t work that great, but is better than nothing. A better method I found over the years was the can of gas that you spray a couple times into the wine bottle, and then quickly cork. The gas often used is the same that is used by wineries when they bottle their wines, because the inert gas sits on top of the wine in the bottle replacing the oxygen. This always worked well for me for a few days.
What if you wanted to store a wine for a longer period than a few days? Systems like the Coravin were designed to do just that. Its needle pierces the cork still in the bottle, and then draws the wine from the bottle replacing the oxygen with gas. This works great for long periods of time, but the expense of the unit and the gas capsules adds up quickly.
We recently tested the zzysh wine preservation system which is a simple device again using gas capsules. We were really surprised at how well the zzysh worked, preserving still wine and even sparkling wine for weeks. The cost is less inexpensive, but again the replacement cost of the gas capsules starts to add up. In fact, most of the good wine preservation systems require some replacement part eventually. Hmm, maybe that is why the vacuum pump is still being used even though it doesn’t perform well, as there is no replacement parts needed.
The ZOS Halo wine preservation system was also tested by us with unimpressive results, especially for storing wine for longer periods.
That is when Tom Lutz, founder and inventor of Repour, contacted us and told us about Repour. We were happy to do a review.
Repour is a wine preservation system which looks like a simple stopper. It was invented by Tom Lutz, who is also a chemist. The concept behind the Repour when inserted into a wine bottle is to eliminate the oxygen from the wine bottle, leaving less than 0.05% oxygen in the bottle. That’s pretty much nothing. So, with no oxygen in the wine bottle, the wine doesn’t get oxidized and doesn’t go bad. There is no pumping, gas capsules, etc. that are used, so I don’t know how it removes the oxygen from the bottle, but then again, I’m not a chemist. The question though is, does it work?
Unlike the zzysh wine preservation system that provides a device for still wines and one for sparkling wines, the Repour is just one stopper. When I asked Lutz about the use of Repour for sparkling wines, he said, “In terms of sparkling wines, we have done limited testing, but have had exceptional results with the wines we have tested. The current design clearly is not intended to “clamp” onto the bottle, so I wouldn’t say we’re endorsing for this (yet), but the testing on the ability to preserve the sparkling was perfect.”
That was good enough for me, so I decided to include a sparkling wine in the review. The only caveat Lutz mentioned was to make sure the stopper stays down due to the carbon dioxide in the sparkling wine bottle.
The next step was to select the wines to test. I went to my nearby large liquor store to scope out the wines and get some advice. Obviously, I did not want to use expensive bottles of wine just in case the test didn’t work, but I wanted something that would give a good test. I talked with the wine director, and we decided on a Coastline Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 for the still test, and a Rondel Brut Cava that would give some good bubbles.
In my test of the sparkling wine, I decided to have two bottles. I opened one bottle with the usual pop. I then removed the foil from the bottom of a Repour stopper and simply inserted it into the bottle. Since Lutz had warned to be careful of the carbonation from the bottle popping the Repour out, I MacGyver’ed it (that is a word, isn’t it?) and put two strips of duct tape crosswise across the top of the Repour and attached to the sides of the bottle. The other Cava would remain unopened.
I had bought three bottles of the Cab. I would keep one unopened, and another opened and stopped with the Repour like I did the sparkling wine (no duct tape needed there). Since Repour says that one Repour stopper is good for one bottle, and you can open that bottle to get a glass and insert the same Repour back in it for the life of that bottle, that is how my third bottle of Cab was used.
The design of the Repour fits a wide range of bottles with the different rings of the stopper intending to have at least two rings in contact with the bottle’s neck for a full seal. All wines with a Repour were put in the refrigerator standing upright as recommended. The two unopened wines were put in my wine fridge on their side. And then the waiting started…
Since we had tested the zzysh wine preservation system with the sparkling wine for three weeks, I decided to give the Repour a real test and go longer than that. The still wine for the zzysh was tested at 19 days, so again, it was time to really test the Repour.
Eight days after inserting the Repour, I opened the third Cab and poured a small glass of wine. I reinserted the Repour and placed the bottle back in the refrigerator. After letting the glass of wine come to room temperature, I tasted it and it still tasted like a Cabernet Sauvignon to me. I had no control bottle to compare at that point, so it was judging the wine based on faults like I have done in the past at wine competitions.
January 2, 9, and 16
The same procedure was used as on December 27 and the Cab still tasted fine.
Almost five weeks later, I did the same procedure. This time the Cab tasted a little different, but definitely still drinkable. If I did not know I was trying to determine a difference, I would not have known anything was up.
Five weeks and four days later after first putting the Repour in the Cava bottle, we decided to open that bottle and the unopened bottle to end the sparkling wine test. Did you catch that? That’s almost six weeks after the bottle was inserted with the Repour, almost double the time with the zzysh. On the morning of the test, I took the unopened Cava from the wine fridge and placed it in the refrigerator, so it would be at the same temperature as the other Cava by the time we opened them.
I took the first duct tape strip off the top of the bottle with the Repour, and when starting to take the second tape off, the Repour popped open with a loud pop. This was a good sign there was still much carbonation in the bottle.
After both bottles were opened, we poured them side by side to see the comparison of bubbles. Surprisingly, the one that had the Repour inserted produced the most bubbles! We had to pour the bottles a few times to try to photograph (we needed three people there), and the results were always the same. The glass on the left in the photograph and video, is the one that was from the bottle that had been in the refrigerator for almost six weeks with the Repour.
Now came the taste test. Upon comparing the bottle used with Repour against the newly opened bottle, we could detect a difference in taste. The newly opened Cava was crisper and fruitier than the Repour one. However, if we were not comparing, the Repour wine was perfectly fine and we would have enjoyed the bottle.
We capped both bottles with typical Champagne stoppers and put them in the refrigerator. That night, Gloria’s brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner. When they arrived, it was about three hours after we had done the test. They had recently visited Barcelona, Spain and tasted many Cavas, and thankfully brought some of the best home too. We had them try the two test Cavas for a comparison.
One thing we have now learned after the Repour test is never tell anybody to compare. Comparing wines is easy because you can usually tell which wine you prefer. If you have a wine by itself, you may come up with different descriptors for it, but the bottom line is, “Is it flawed?”
They definitely could tell there was a difference between the two Cavas just like we did, but we were surprised when both of them said they preferred the Cava that had been open for almost six weeks and the Repour was used on it! Repour may not have intended their product to be used on sparkling wines yet, but they certainly have a good start on that purpose.
The two of us could have done the same test ourselves for the Cabernet Sauvignon as we did with the Cava, but we were having a dinner the following weekend with some experienced wine lovers, and I thought it would be a better test of the Cabs if we had a group opinion.
Around 2 p.m., I took the two bottles of Cab with the Repours from the refrigerator and the one unopened Cab from the wine fridge, and set them on the bar counter to remove the chill and come to the same temperature.
We had a group of six people give their opinions on the different wines. Here again they were comparing three wines: just opened, opened and capped with Repour, and opened and capped with Repour, but opened every week for a small glass to taste.
The wine that had been opened and then a Repour immediately used, tasted very similar to the newly opened Cab. The only difference was it tasted like it had been decanted for a little while, and in fact was preferable to the newly opened wine.
The wine bottle that had been opened every week did exhibit more oxidation as would be expected because of the exposure to the air every week, but all agreed if they were not told to compare, they would have enjoyed that bottle of Cab without a problem. In fact, people who came after the test were enjoying all three wines, and they were not aware of the test previously performed.
So, what was our final conclusion with Repour?
For sparkling wines, which is not the current design of the Repour, our test of almost six weeks was almost double the time spent for our review of the zzysh wine preservation system, and the result was still impressive.
The Cabernet Sauvignon review was the same. The Repour had been used for almost seven weeks, and the comparison of the unopened Cab with the opened and stopped with Repour was almost identical. Even using the same Repour on the same bottle after pouring a small glass of wine for every week, still exhibited a wine that was a little oxidized, but definitely still enjoyable.
Like I said before, I do not know how Repour works, but it is definitely the easiest wine preservation system to use, making it an ideal item to add to your wedding website registry or holiday wish list. Simply remove the foil on the bottom of the Repour stopper and insert it into the bottle. Drink what you like during the use of that bottle, and when you are done with the wine, simply dispose of the Repour. One thing to keep in mind is while doing this, keep the Repour inserted into the bottle as much as possible while using it. For instance, do not open the wine bottle in the morning, leave it open all day, insert the Repour at the end of the day, and expect the same results.
Who can benefit from a Repour? Anybody. Usually at home, we have no problem finishing a bottle in a couple days. But for those who enjoy having a bottle of Pinot Noir open along with a Cab, and then perhaps a Chardonnay, all at the same time, the Repour would be a cost-effective solution compared to other wine preservation systems. Restaurants, bars, wineries, tasting rooms, sales trips with wine to potential customers, etc. would definitely benefit by using a Repour.
Quite a few times when we visit a winery’s tasting room, we may be one of the first ones to arrive in the morning. After starting a tasting, I often have to ask if the wine was opened the day before, and the reply has always been yes. They open a new bottle and then everything is fine. If they had used a Repour, they would not have had this issue and would have saved money on wine dumped down the drain.
Now that you have seen the benefit of a Repour, you’re probably wondering how much does it cost. The Repour comes in two different retail pack sizes of stoppers: 4 and 10. How much was that wine you had to dump down the drain?
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