September 25, 2014
Blind Tastings and Businessweek
Greg Lambrecht was recently interviewed by Nick Summers of Businessweek. Read an excerpt below from the story about Nick's experience at a recent blind tasting for Coravin held in the UK and read the entire Businessweek article, here.
Putting Coravin to the Test
Nick writes, Greg Lambrecht, who invented the tool in his Massachusetts basement, says the Coravin can keep an “accessed” bottle of wine fresh indefinitely. To prove it, he stages blind taste tests around the world. In September, at a restaurant in London, Lambrecht put on his biggest one yet, challenging 18 sommeliers, restaurateurs, and other elites of the city’s wine scene to tell the difference between bottles that had been pierced by a Coravin four months earlier and others from the same case that had remained intact. With a clink-clink-clink of his glass, he brings the crowd to order.
“These big blind tastings are becoming a bigger part of my life,” Lambrecht begins. “There’s nothing more exciting, or threatening, than gathering a bunch of people to validate that the technology actually works.” Out of sight downstairs, a Coravin colleague, one of 312 people worldwide with a Master of Wine certification, is pouring 20 identical place settings: Everyone gets five glasses of red, a 1996 Château Haut-Bailly Bordeaux, and five glasses of white, a 2012 François Cotat Sancerre. (The two extra settings are for me and Lambrecht.) An unknown number come from bottles first penetrated by Coravin 132 days ago, and the rest from bottles untouched until just now. The task is to tell which is which.
As the members of the jury get to tasting, the room goes silent but for the clang of stemware and the gross mouth sounds one makes while aerating. When the results are revealed, just one person out of 20 has correctly ID’d all five reds, and the same is true of the whites. There are murmurs of “wow” and “impressive” from the demure professionals at the long table. Michael Sager-Wilde, an up-and-comer of the East (i.e. hipster) London market, speaks for the rest when he says loudly: “That’s f---ing nuts.”
Lambrecht, whose default mode is a beaming confidence, looks especially pleased. “You really can’t get better odds than this,” he tells the group. “This is just about perfect. This is the kind of thing that makes you smile bigger than anything else.”