Automatic Wine Preserver by BrookstoneGadget Review: Automatic Wine Preserver by Brookstone
Purchased at: Amazon
Cost: $29.99

Advertised Purpose:
Brookstone says, “Ensure that your wine stays fresher to the last drop. Our Automatic Wine Preserver automatically pumps air out of an opened bottle of wine to help prevent oxidation, which can degrade flavor and bouquet. Simply insert into an opened bottle, secure, and the vacuum automatically removes all excess air to help keep your wine fresher between glasses. Is your wine at the right serving temp? Now you’ll always know. The Automatic Wine Preserver’s built-in thermometer monitors wine temperature to help you serve it at the correct temperature.”

Expectation/What it Means:
The Automatic Wine Preserver is designed to not only remove a significant amount of oxygen from an opened wine bottle but will also monitor the “vacuum” and if air leaks back in will pump it out again.

What it also means is that if “Automatic Wine Preserver” is the most inventive name they could come up with; Brookstone needs some serious help in their marketing department.  That’s the equivalent of Ford calling a new model “A Car with Four Wheels”.  For the remainder of this review, we’ll be calling AWP which is only slightly less imaginative.

Qualifiers:

  1. Different bottle types with different neck thicknesses could affect the results to some degree.
  2. Our experiment took place in the evening with a room temperature of 73°F.
  3. This experiment was more subjective than most that Winery Sage performs due to the purpose of the product. Most reviews in which we engage have measurable results where as evaluating the AWP was done strictly by tasting various wines.
  4. Because this evaluation is subjective, we chose wines that most quickly show signs of oxidation.
  5. We did not have specific “Control” bottles for this experiment because we usually use a Nitrogen wine preservative and are very familiar with its results. The wines we chose were also well known.  In each case, we’ve had at least a case of the specific vintage and are very familiar with their characteristics.
  6. Each bottle was open for approximately one hour and left at room temperature prior to using the AWP approximating what a bottle on a dinner table might experience.

The Process and Measurements*:
Over roughly a two-week period several red wines were opened, several glasses of wine were removed leaving roughly 1/2 to 1/3rd of the contents remaining. The AWP was then applied and turned on.

The partially empty wine bottle was then stored upright in a temperature controlled wine closet (59°F.). The closet has very little sunlight that reaches it and is only subjected to artificial light several hours per day. Each of the wines used were very familiar to the tasters, (Karen and Ken).

The Wines Used Were:

  1. Santa Clara Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir
  3. Livermore Red Table Wine (Blend)
  4. Santa Cruz Mountain Petite Sirah

Wines #1, #2 and #3 were opened and finished approximately 24 hours after first being opened.  Wine #4 was opened, another glass was poured and the remaining approximately 1 1/2 glasses was stored again using the device.

After tasting the wine the 2nd day (and the 3rd in the case of wine #4), we compared notes.

The Results:
Well … we were blown away (so much so that I needed to amend the “Serving and Preserving Wine” section of the site and add a qualifier regarding vacuum preserving wine bottles).  In every case, the bottle with the AWP was substantially better than those where we have used the Nitrogen Wine Preserver.

Nitrogen preserved bottles routinely oxidize to some degree.  Unless there is at least 2/3rds of a bottle left when preserved with Nitrogen, the wine deteriorates (although it is still a vast improvement over non preserved bottles).  Bottles with less wine in them oxidize even more quickly.

The bottles with the AWP retained most of the quality of the first night’s tasting.  Even the bottle that was opened twice and finished on the third night was substantially better than a Nitrogen preserved bottle on the 2nd night.

Surprises:
Frankly, that the damned thing worked in the first place. The reviews on Amazon and other sites almost all lambaste the quality of the product. There are two main concerns:

  1. The product just fails – as in quits working at all.
  2. It chews through batteries like a 7 year old kid with a new Xbox remote control (I’ve seen that one first hand and thought I’d have to take a 2nd job just to pay for the batteries he was killing). Ours lasted for three bottles before draining the batteries.
  3. Once we got past the initial reservations about it working, we were shocked at how well it worked.

Would Winery Sage Recommend This Product?
This is a tough question to answer and it likely depends on your appetite for risk and whether you are inclined to keep batteries in a charger.

We’ve had good luck with it so would recommend it given the caveats we’ve mentioned.  We’ve now used AWP for a number of months with the same success.  It’s actually become our go to method for preserving individual bottles of wine (once we remembered that we had a rechargeable battery station – a must if you are going to use this device).

Our only reservations are the potential quality problems.  So far, we’ve had no issues with ours.  If you are interested in this product, we suggest reviewing the warranty policy before buying and see if you are comfortable with it.

*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.