Wine preserver systems and gadgets are plentiful in the wine world. Most wine consumers are looking for a wine bottle saver that will allow them to open a bottle of wine and enjoy it over days, perhaps weeks. Wine bars and wineries also seek out wine stoppers that allow them to open a slow-moving bottle of wine and serve it days or weeks later as part of expanding their wines-by-the-glass programs.
This week, KnowWines researched, used, and reviewed the Repour bottle stopper as an alternative to inert gas systems or pumps for wines we knew we would finish in about a week. We didn’t want to use up our Coravin cartridges on weekday wines, so we gave this product a try.
Things to consider before purchasing the Repour:
There are a few situations for which the Repour wine preserver is ideal, for both the home wine drinker and the staff of a wine bar or bottle shop.
For home consumers, the Repour is great for those who want to simply open a bottle of wine - regardless of enclosure type - and enjoy it over a period of a few days or weeks. It is also a good product if you enjoy having a few different bottles of wine open, let’s say a Cava, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauternes. Historically, having all these different bottles of wine open, either on the counter or in the fridge, meant that these wines would go bad within a couple of days, resulting in a lot of bad wine being poured down the drain. The Repour helps solve that problem.
In wine bars and wineries, the Repour wine preserver helps maintain a large number of open bottles. This is ideal for the wine bar or shop that doesn’t want to make large capital investments in serving stations like Enomatic. The Repour wine preserver is also good for wine bottle shops or restaurants who already have wine serving stations and want to serve dessert wines or wines with sediment. Systems like Enomatic and Coravin can potentially aspirate solids into the dispensing mechanism through user error, causing them to plug up and require time-sucking maintenance.
While the Repour fits a broad spectrum of wine consumer and business needs, the Repour is not for:
Wine lovers wanting to check bottle aging months or years later on - they should consider Coravin
Cheap wines - the Repour might cost ⅓ the bottle of wine if it is really value juice
Storing open wine on the side - the Repour won’t work as designed and you may have a leaky mess
Locations where wine bottles are shuffled around a lot - someone may accidentally dislodge the stopper, rendering it ineffective
Those who have used pumps or Coravin and are looking for a simple, low-cost alternative to mid-priced wines becoming oxidized as they age on the counter or in the fridge may benefit from having a few Repour stoppers on hand. Those Coravin syringes and cartridges can be saved for fine wines.
Finally, if you travel for work or vacation and want to enjoy a nice wine during the week without the hassle of packing inert gasses or pumps, consider keeping a Repour or two in your carry on luggage for emergency use. The Repour also makes for a good thank you gift or stocking stuffer for wine lovers.
So, show me the Repour!
The Repour Wine Saver is a single-use wine preservation tool invented by chemist and wine lover Tom Lutz. Like many other wine consumers, he was tired of discarding partial bottles that contained wine that did not taste fresh a few days after opening.
After about 18 months of research and product development, the product was featured on Kickstarter, received the funding target, and the rest is history.
The Repour wine saver is available on Amazon and through select wine retailers. It is available in different package sizes: 4, 10, and 72 stoppers.
Lower cost per use than Coravin and other inert gas systems
Good for wines containing sediment
Good for dessert wines
Good for take-home bottles of fine wine from a restaurant
Single-use (you recycle or discard after use), so not ideal for cheap or value wines
Need to store the bottle upright
Don’t know when it is “used up”
How do I use Repour?
Open your wine and consume what you need. When you are ready to close up the bottle, simply remove a single Repour unit from the box it arrived in, remove the adhesive seal from the Repour unit, and insert it in place of the cork or screwcap. As you consume the wine over the course of a few days or weeks, simply re-insert the stopper after pouring. Once the bottle is complete, discard the stopper. If your city or county recycles plastic and metal, then please recycle the stopper
Since the Repour device is so effective, you may need to aerate each pour if the wine aromas are muted. Aerate by simply swirling the wine in the glass.
Finally, don’t be afraid to firmly push the Repour into the bottle. If a good seal is not made, then oxygen will still get into the wine.
How does Repour Work?
Let’s go back to high school chemistry! Air is comprised of about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Nitrogen is fairly unreactive. Oxygen, on the other hand, is a double-edged sword. While it is a giver of life, it is also an active element in aging and degradation. The introduction and removal of oxygen from vineyard to cellar to bottle is controlled by growers and winemakers to deliver a specific style of wine.
As wine consumers, we battle oxygen the moment we open a bottle of wine. While a little aeration upfront (either through decanting or swirling) might be needed to open a wine, oxygen starts to attack the wine within minutes or hours, resulting in tired tasting wine. Some indications of oxidized wines that often lead to wine getting discarded after oxidation are loss of fruit aromas and flavors, browning of white wine, oranging or browning of red wines. As oxidation continues, the wine can start to get some gamey and vinegar aromas and flavors (commonly referred to as “bad” wine).
The Repour stopper, which include an FDA approved non-toxic oxygen absorber inside the stopper, was designed by a chemist and entrepreneur who knew well the experience of pouring bad wine down the sink. He was also familiar with oxidation as well as Dalton’s law and Henry’s law. The outcome of this research was the development of a stopper containing metals that “rust” as they are oxidized - instead of the wine getting oxidized. Need a refresher? Geek out on these short science videos:
What wines are best to use with Repour?
With a tapered insert, the Repour stopper can be placed in any type of wine bottle. It can be used with sparkling wines, white wines, red wines, fortified wines, and sweet wines.
The stopper can also be used regardless of the original closure. It does not matter if the original bottle stopper was a screwcap, a natural cork, a synthetic cork, or a glass cork.
Is my open wine bottle worth the Repour?
Every consumer, bottle shop owner or wine bar will likely have a different opinion on how to determine if a bottle is “Repour Worthy.” One should consider how much wine they are typically pouring down the drain after two or three days of opening.
We personally use the Repour when the wine is over $15 per bottle, there is over ⅔ of the bottle left, and we’d like to enjoy the wine over a period of a week or two.
Can I re-use the Repour?
We’ve never re-used a Repour stopper. However, after doing some online research we found several different strategies consumers have used to maximize the use of the stopper.
If you insert the Repour on day one and consume the rest of the wine on day two, you may be able to reuse the stopper by rinsing the emptied bottle, filling the bottle almost full of water, then firmly inserting the used Repour into the bottle. I would reuse a Repour on bottles in the $20 to $40 USD range, especially if I aimed to use up the wine in a couple of days. If it was a more expensive bottle, I’d use a new Repour. If the Repour was in a bottle for several days or weeks, I would likely not consider reusing the Repour stopper and recycle or discard it.
There are a lot of different strategies to consider. Have some fun experimenting with the product (and with Henry’s and Dalton’s laws!). The worst that could happen is that a bottle of wine gets oxidized.
Testing the Repour
We first used the Repour stopper on a bottle of Champagne that retailed for about $45 USD. We opened the wine on a Wednesday night and poured a couple of glasses. We inserted the stopper and placed the wine in the refrigerator. We did notice that the height of the stopper and bottle exceeded the shelf height in the refrigerator, so we adjusted the height of the fridge shelf to accommodate the bottle plus stopper. We drank some Champagne each day (one glass each - difficult work!). On Sunday (over 72 hours later) we finished the bottle. We were quite surprised each time we removed the Repour that the wine was still bubbly and the aromas were still fresh. I also found the Repour easier to insert than other Champagne stoppers.
Next, we used the Repour stopper with a 2011 Napa Chardonnay. Two other dining companions helped us consume ⅔ the bottle on a Friday night. We inserted the stopper after the meal and placed the wine into the refrigerator. Six days later we drank the last couple of glasses. On the first sip, the wine did not have much flavor. After letting the wine sit for about 10 minutes after swirling, it tasted just fine. I did notice that the wine was a little muted (not as intense) but did not have any of the oxidative aromas or vinegar flavor that one typically encounters after storing a white wine in the refrigerator for about a week.
Finally, we tried the Repour stopper on a 750 mL bottle of 1998 Sauternes. Sweet wines are difficult for wine bars to serve in Enomatic stations, as the stickiness can gum up the lines. We enjoyed the wine over 11 days and did not notice any reduction in aromas or flavors using Repour. We stored the wine in the refrigerator between pours.
In the coming weeks, we will open a $25 Bordeaux wine and let it sit on the counter with the Repour and taste over a few days. We will report back here on how that goes!
Similar Wine Preserver Systems
Like the inventor of RePour, we’ve also tried various wine preservation systems. Here’s a rundown of products that compete with Repour in this space. These different types of systems have one or more niches that they fill. We’ve yet to find a holistic solution for all possible wine preservation scenarios.
Private Preserve Wine Preservation System
Essentially this is inert gas one sprays into an opened bottle of wine, followed by quickly forcing the original stopper into the top of the bottle.
Multiple uses per can
Pennies per use, so good for cheap and value wines
Not easy to travel with
Need to store wine bottle upright
Takes a little skill to get the procedure right
Vacu-Vin Stainless Steel Stopper
If you know you will finish your wine in less than seven days, then you may want to consider this stainless steel vacuum system. The system comes with a stopper that you insert into the bottle, then you attach the pump and pump until you hear a click. If you have more than one bottle open at a time, you will need to purchase additional stoppers.
Easy to use
Lasts for 5 - 10 years
Not as portable as single Repour
Fantes Champagne Stopper, Made in Italy
For sparkling wines and Champagne, this stopper has been the standard - made in Italy for over 100 years!
No gas cartridges to purchase
Easy to use and store
With a lot of use, the sealing mechanism can wear, resulting in reduced carbonation and aroma intensity so check the seal that it is working well
Our summary of the Repour stopper
We enjoyed researching, trying and testing the Repour stoppers that we purchased online for a few weeks. This item is good for consumers who like or need to open bottles of wine and consume them in a couple of days or weeks.
We consider the Repour a good item for the home consumer to have on hand for premium wines, and we will be pouring less wine down the sink in the future! We also liked the ease of use - simply remove a foil adhesive and press the Repour stopper into the top of the bottle! We like the option to store wine in the refrigerator or on the counter.
The Repour is not for consumers or sommeliers who want to try fine wine now and sample it again in six months or a year. The Coravin might be more of interest if tasting across several months is your desire.
When you purchase the Repour wine saver on Amazon through our link, it helps us to keep running our site and to continue to provide you with our reviews, tips, and guides. Thank you!
And Cheers, from KnowWines!