It's not uncommon for a couple to pop open a bottle of wine to consume all in one night. But personal tastes are as varied as the vintage, aromas, and depth of flavor of the wines themselves. Even the decision between an oak- or steel-barreled chardonnay can be sharply divisive. The Kuvée smart wine bottle helps to eliminate such arguing by allowing individual choice, no matter how many, one glass at a time.
Kuvée is made of a combination of glass, plastic and electronics, yet looks similar to a standard bottle of wine. The smart bottle requires one of the company's proprietary 750 ml wine canisters, which insert into the bottom. A preservation valve then pours the wine from the canister, through the smart bottle's spout, all without allowing oxygen to enter and affect the rest of the bottle. You can then pop the canister out and swap for a new one (so you can have red and your partner can have white). Once opened, each canister can stay fresh for weeks between drinks.
This single serve system for wine is reminiscent to Keurig coffee K-cups. Although Kuvée's canisters aren't reusable, they are made of recyclable aluminum, making them lighter and more compact than their glass counterparts. Canisters come labeled with the type of wine, but each also features an embedded RFID chip that lets the smart bottle know which wine is inside. Users can view more information about the wine/vineyard, the number of glasses remaining, and how long the wine is still fresh for.
The Kuvée bottle has an integrated touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, sensors, and internal battery that's supposedly good for up to six hours (of active use) per charge via the charging dock. The touchscreen shows the wine label by default, but, with an internet connection, can also show drinking tips, factoids, stories, wine recommendations, and one-touch ordering of wine directly from the bottle (users can also purchase canisters through the website or mobile app).
Those concerned about the device's cleanliness/contamination will be happy to know that the spout is removable and washable with soap and water. This can also help preserve flavors, especially when switching from a red to a white. Although Kuvée is meant to keep bottles fresh for up to 30 days, it doesn't address the wine's potential reactivity with the aluminum canister. While the wine may still be drinkable, the taste can change over time.
"The aluminum package has a pouch inside," the company tells us, "made from a multilayer film that we engineered to minimize oxygen's impact on the wine once it is opened without negatively affecting the taste or aroma of the wine. Kuvée wines are bottled on the same bottling line as standard glass bottles, so our O2 intake during bottling is very low compared to boxed wines due to the limited headroom air of the filling process. This makes our shelf life similar to a glass bottle, allowing us to work with wineries of all sizes and deliver wine just as the winery intended."
The company has partnered with California wineries Bonny Doon, B.R. Cohn, Pine Ridge, Round Pond, Girard, and Schug, with plans to expand the list of labels by the end of the year. Kuvée's wine canisters will be produced by the wineries themselves and sold for the same price as paid in stores. Although these wines won't be available in brick and mortar locations, locals may find them at respective tasting rooms.
The Kuvée smart wine bottle is currently funding on Indiegogo, having raised 131 percent of its US$50,000 goal in a day, with another 30 days left to go. Pledge rewards start at $199 for one smart bottle and a voucher redeemable for four canisters of wine through the partners. It is, however, only currently available to select states in the U.S., with other states (as well as additional countries) to follow in the future.
If everything goes according to schedule, backers can expect shipments of Kuvée to start as early as this October.
This article was updated on 3/30 with a quote from the company about technical details of the canister.