Gadget Review: ArT18 Wine Preserver
Purchased at: Donated by ArT18 who requested that we review this product*
There’s a question that any wine aficionado has to answer every time they open a bottle. Do I finish the bottle or not? On one hand, really enjoying a good bottle of wine is one of life’s pleasures. Unfortunately, leaving part of a really good bottle to slowly oxidize is one of life’s great tragedies. Ok… it’s not really that big of a tragedy compared with most world events but it’s a damn shame. If you opt for discretion and leave part of the bottle, you’re now faced with a dizzying amount of gadgets and techniques to try and preserve the wine so it’s as good the second or third night as it was the first night. These techniques include, pouring the remaining wine into a smaller bottle so there is less oxygen in contact with it, placing the bottle in the fridge, putting it in an opaque bag or all of the above. The gadgets all tend to fall into two categories – those that remove air and create a vacuum or those that displace air by substituting a different and less reactive gas.
Ok…disclaimer…I’m going to geek out on science for a minute so bear with me. The air that we all breathe contains Oxygen…no big surprise there, but Oxygen only makes up about 21% of our air. Nitrogen is by far the largest component in air, making up just over 78% of our atmosphere. For those of you who are adept at doing math in your head, you’ve probably realized that between those two elements, we’ve already accounted for 99% of the air that we breathe. For those of you who aren’t as adept, guess what? We’ve still accounted for 99% of the atmosphere but I kind of had to spoon feed it to you. Nitrogen is reasonably inert, meaning it is pretty boring. It just kind of sits there and doesn’t react with much that would harm us, our foods or the taste of wine. It’s not completely inert mind you, but of all of the common elements found on earth, it is one of the most stable, non-reactive ones. Oxygen on the other hand is kind of a slut. It will fool around with lots of different elements, often with no formal introduction, and unfortunately much like a poorly planned date, all of that fooling around (or reacting) can create unintended “offspring” which are entirely new chemical compounds that have different smells and tastes. Many of those smells or tastes are about as appealing as a cockroach skittering around your dinner plate. To wine lovers, Oxygen’s least endearing trait is that it readily oxidizes many other compounds. The type of oxidation that most people are aware of is rust. It’s not strictly accurate but when wine is exposed to that 21% Oxygen in the air, it kind of “rusts”. Oxygen is a serious pain in the ass, except for that whole being necessary for life thing of course. So in a very long and roundabout way, we’ve established that Oxygen coming into contact with wine for an extended amount of time is a bad thing, so drum roll please….enter ArT18.
ArT18 Wine Preservation gives wine drinkers the freedom to explore the world of wine by saving open bottles of wine with argon blanketing technology.
“ArT – Eighteen” uses natural food grade argon gas to provide a non-toxic inert blanket between the fragile aromas and flavors of the wine and the harmful oxygen that is present in the air. This layer does not affect the acidity, tannins, or flavors of the wine.
Expectation/What It Means:
It’s very simple – ArT18 will preserve the flavor of an opened bottle of wine far better than leaving it exposed to air.
Process and Measurements:
We coerced our normal four tasters into trying a previously opened and preserved bottle of wine, and a new bottle of wine to compare the two and then comment on how effective the ArT18 was.
1) Whenever possible, we try to use numeric measurements to accurately measure results rather than strictly subjective results. When testing wine preservation techniques however, it is all down to taste which is a subjective measurement technique. To give some sort of quantitative degree to our measurements, we conducted a blind taste test and used four tasters.
2) We used a control bottle which was an identical bottle of wine but was unopened.
3) The ambient temperature of the house was 69 degrees F.
4) The glasses of wine were poured directly from bottles that were stored in our cellar at a temperature of 59 degrees F. The temperature was identical for each glass.
The Process and Measurement:
Karen and I opened one bottle of Pinot Noir, drank a little over half of it (oh…the burdens we bear for our readers), left the bottle open for exactly 45 minutes which we estimate would be a typical time that a bottle might sit on a dinner table before being put away. Prior to corking the wine, we used the ArT18 preserver in accordance with the instructions. The bottle was then corked and stored upright in our wine cellar which is kept at 59 degrees F.
The next night, I removed the previously opened bottle and a new, unopened bottle of the identical wine, poured four glasses of the opened preserved bottle and four glasses of the newly opened bottle (our control bottle), keeping each group on separate sides of the table to avoid mixing them up. Our son, was home from college for the holiday break and being a college student, is probably the most experienced drinker in the house, then labeled each glass “A” though “H”. He noted which were poured from the previously opened bottle and which were from the control bottle and then gave one of each to our four test subjects.
Ultimately, the goal of any wine preserver or wine storage technique is to see if the wine is good enough to really enjoy when reopened which was the critical test. Just for fun as a second test, we also checked to see if we could tell which wine and been preserved and which was the new bottle.
The Wine Used:
We chose to use a medium bodied Pinot Noir, which often exhibit hints of oxidation more quickly than heavier wines that might mask an oxidized taste. It was a 2009 Pinot Noir from Burrell School Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a wine that we know very well so we were likely to pick up any flaws in the wine more easily than one we were unfamiliar with.
Test 1 – Was the wine still enjoyable to drink? Absolutely, four thumbs up! All four of us felt the wine was very good. We’ve had experience with the more standard and usually cheaper Nitrogen preservers and there was no comparison. The ArT18 Argon preserver blew away any nitrogen preserver we’ve ever tried. It wasn’t even close so Test 1 was an unqualified success.
Test 2 – Could we actually tell which of the wines had been opened the day before and which was new? To be fair, this is really a tough test for a wine preserver if you are comparing a previously opened and an unopened wine side by side. With this test, three out of four of us could tell the opened and preserved wine vs. the unopened wine but even then, no one objected to the taste of the previously opened wine.
Caveat to Test 2
Remember, the preserved wine had been open for 45 minutes the night before so it’s entirely possible that the test wine was slightly oxidized prior to using the preservative. If you know you are going to preserve a wine, we strongly suggest that you do it as soon as possible after opening.
Would Winery-Sage Recommend This Product:
Absolutely – in addition to being one of the two best wine preservation products we’ve found, the ArT18 people have apparently found the secret sauce of making Argon as affordable as the far less effective Nitrogen preservers. For roughly 10 cents per bottle, depending on the wine bottle size, the ArT18 wine preserver is a must for any wine enthusiast. It’s also inexpensive enough for smaller wineries to use that don’t have the budget or space for large Argon tanks.
*Disclaimer and Winery-Sage.com Practices When Reviewing A Product
Winery-Sage.com does not take any endorsements or funds from manufacturers whose equipment we review. We attempt to impart all of the facts as we’ve observed them (the Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly). We may interject a little irreverence now and again but hopefully you’ll see that our experiments are based on scientific methods and try to rely on several opinions when the results are subjective rather than measurable.
To the best of our ability, we follow all of the instruction provided by the manufacturer.
We notify the manufacturer of our results prior to publishing to give them an opportunity to point out any flaws in our experimental process. If we do see a flaw, we repeat the experiment.
Manufacturers are allowed to submit products for a review but if we receive a product, we will publish a review, whether the results are favorable or not.
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