Classier than a bag and better than a bottle, Kuvée wants to solve your wine woes

Would you buy your wine in aluminum cans and drink it out of a smart wine bottle? No? Okay, well, what if I told you the wine was affordable, would last up to 30 days without spoiling, and came with a smart ordering system so your rack is always stocked?

If a robot drank wine, this is the bottle it would come from.

Dubbed “the world’s first smart wine preservation system,” the Kuvée Smart Bottle is a Wi-Fi-connected wine bottle for the digital age. It keeps your wine fresh for up to a month, has a touchscreen that tells you all about what you’re drinking, and even allows you to order more wine right from the bottle. The catch: It only takes special aluminum wine canisters made by Kuvée.

So is this the future of wine? To answer that, we spoke with Kuvée’s Project Lead, drank from the smart bottle for a week, and asked a few independent wine industry experts if they would consider buying it.

How a smart wine bottle works

Kuvée is a smart wine bottle, but its biggest mission is to keep your wine from turning into vinegar in a few days. Using a unique aluminum bottle with a patent-pending valve on the top, it keeps wine fresh for up to 30 days at a time.

To activate and use the Kuvée, you insert a 750ml wine canister into the dispenser, which has a classy black and gray finish to it, complete with a capacitive touchscreen on the front, just like an iPhone. If a robot drank wine, this is the bottle it would come from. Once the can is inserted, the dispenser works like a regular wine bottle, but it never needs a cork. Using an accelerometer and microprocessor, it knows when you tilt it and will pour wine into your glass. The pour is a little slow, but consistent. When you’re done pouring, the special tilt-activated valve system reseals the can, preventing the remainder of the wine from being exposed to air, which in turn keeps it from going bad.

Kuvée5

When you’re done pouring, you can read a short story about your wine and its vineyard on the touchscreen, and a few important nuggets of information, like its year, type, region, and alcohol content. This information is available for whichever wine you snap into the Kuvée, thanks to an identifying RFID chip located on the nozzle of each canister. It also lets you know the number of glasses remaining within each wine can and gives suggestions on food pairing and serving tips.

As you continue to utilize the Kuvée, the bottle itself will recommend other types of wine in the Kuvée collection, which currently consists of 48 wine brands, mostly coming from Napa Valley. If you’re interested in any of the recommendations, you can purchase the wine straight off the bottle’s screen, which makes it very convenient. The price of a wine cartridge is almost equivalent to the price of a glass at a restaurant, ranging from $15 to $25.

“We’re debuting with 48 wine labels. We have 12 winery partners that we’re going with and we’re looking to build out of that portfolio once the momentum gets going,” Ed Tekeian, project lead at Kuvée, told Digital Trends. “We’re looking to start with recognizable wines and recognizable wineries. Most, if not all, of the wines we’re starting with are from Napa Valley and we’re looking to expand into Northern and Southern regions of California. It is very much our desire to bring in European wines and sparkling as well.”

Kuvée does not have a subscription model yet, but Tekeian says the company is considering implementing one in the near future.

Should we wine, or whine?

For many, nothing compares to pulling the cork out of a bottle of pinot noir and pouring the wine into a glass. The authenticity that moment offers is one that Kuvée cannot replace, but for Jeff Hansen, veteran winemaker at Lula Cellars, it could mark the beginning of a new era in wine consumption.

If boxed wine will last six times longer, what problem is the Kuvée solving?

“As someone who’s been in the business for quite some time, this device is great for the regular wine drinker because based on the way we’re headed in society, consumers are looking for the same level in convenience and taste,” Hansen told Digital Trends. “This product seems very useful and I can see many people resorting to this method.”

Others, like Fathers & Daughters Cellars‘ Guy Pacurar, don’t necessarily agree. “I think that people would want the flexibility to have whatever wine they wanted dispensed by the dispenser and not be limited to certain wines,” Guy told us. “I think the product is really cool, but for me, learning that the selection of wines are limited to the makers that are already selected, I think it loses its appeal to me, personally.”

Finally, we showed it to Alexander Clifford, wine director for New York City’s Box Hill restaurant, who thought that a market does exist for Kuvée. “I could see people who want a glass of wine or two … people who are single or somebody who doesn’t drink as much, go for a product like this.”

Kuvée4

In our experience, pouring wine from the Kuvée feels just as natural as a glass bottle. But in a dinner environment, where you invite a couple of friends over and have a variety of Kuvée wines to serve, all in aluminum cans with stickers for labels, the setup automatically looks a lot less elegant. Having to regularly recharge the device also takes away from the experience — though it will pour wine even if the battery dies. Our bottle mysteriously died in the middle of a presentation, prompting us to postpone while it charged via Micro USB for a few minutes.

The merits of a 30-day shelf life

Though it’s a huge improvement over re-corking a bottle, Kuvée’s 30-day shelf life doesn’t completely eliminate pressure on those who don’t have the desire to drink wine every day. You’ll still need to drink it sometime soon.

While speaking with Alexander Clifford, we learned that there is already a perfect solution for keeping wine fresh for up to six weeks: buy it in a box. Boxed wine greatly reduces oxidation while dispensing thanks to its vacuum-sealed plastic bag container, and it typically lasts up to 6 weeks. This begs the question: If boxed wine will last six times longer, what problem is the Kuvée solving? We can only think that it’s for those who want their wine to last longer, but cannot bear the thought of buying their wine in a box, though Clifford told us it’s not all Franzia. Many great wines can be bought in a box.

A helluva first pour

As of this writing, the Kuvée has already broken its $50,000 goal on Indiegogo after just a few hours on the crowdfunding website. This is on top of the $6 million in funding it has already secured.

The $180 deal is sold out, but you can pledge about $200 to pre-order a Kuvée Smart Bottle, which will ship with a starter wine package of four cartridges. The first batches will ship to California and Massachusetts residents in December 2016. The company intends to ship to New York, Oregon, and Washington a few months later. Their goal is to eventually reach all states that allow Direct to Consumer shipments.

Product Review

The Division 2 brings the most fun we've ever had to Washington, D.C.

After 55 hours with The Division 2, it’s clear that Ubisoft has improved on the original in almost every way. The world is richly detailed, the story missions are wonderful, gunplay and enemy design are great, and the endgame content is…
Mobile

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.
Outdoors

Trek’s new bike helmet is 48 times safer than the one you’re wearing

Trek and Bontrager have taken the wraps off of a new cycling helmet that uses WaveCel technology to dramatically reduce head injuries by dispersing the impact in a way that is 48 times safer than current helmets.
Deals

Under Armour HOVR is more than a running shoe, it’s a fitness tracker

Under Armour HOVR running shoes bring more to the table than just a comfortable fit. With UA's Record Sensor technology, you can track distance, duration, and even the path you take as you run.
Smart Home

Protect yourself: Here are some of the best home security systems

Looking for the best home security systems for your house? These systems offer the best mix of devices, smart features, monitoring services, and fees that you can afford (plus good customer service reports).
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.
Smart Home

Instant Pot has another winner with its Accu Slim sous vide

We all know that Instant Pots are the bomb, but did you know that Instant Pot has a sous vide immersion circulator too? The Accu Slim lets you cook sous vide recipes at home. How does it perform? We tested the device to find out.
Smart Home

Looking to safeguard your home? These are the best DIY home security systems

Looking for the best DIY Home security systems? These security kits will help you feel safer in no time. Check out our top pick and full list to see which kit will work best for your home.
Deals

Air purifiers get steep price cuts on Amazon just in time for allergy season

Spring kicks off allergy season, and Amazon has cut prices on three highly rated air purifiers to bring relief. Allergens and contaminants in the air can have long-term consequences, says the EPA, so proactive steps can help today and later…
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on iRobot Roomba and Shark Ion robot vacuums

Walmart slashed prices of top robot vacuums from iRobot, Shark, Eufy, and Ecovacs just in time for spring cleaning season.  With a robot vacuum on the job you can retire that old upright and let a robot vacuum take over floor-cleaning…
Deals

Amazon slices prices in half for AeroGardens smart indoor garden, today only

AeroGardens can grow up to six plants at one time. The plants grow in water, not soil, so you never have the mess of outdoor gardening in your clean home. This method allows the plants to grow five times faster than if they were planted in…
News

LG’s SnowWhite is a Keurig for lovers of homemade ice cream

LG's SnowWhite conceptual countertop appliance, on display at this year's South by Southwest, is like a Keurig machine for ice cream lovers that produces your favorite frozen desserts from nothing but a little pod.
Deals

Amazon shaves $50 off the Coway Mighty air purifier ahead of allergy season

When it's allergy season, a good air purifier is a must-have for sufferers. The Coway Mighty air purifier (now on sale from Amazon) is one of the best, greatly improving the air quality inside your home by removing dust, dander, pollen, and…
Smart Home

Dyson’s newest products strive to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit

Dyson launched products to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit. A Dyson intelligent task light cycles with nature and a personal air purifier harnesses unique airflow. Microprocessors in Dyson's vacuum self-adjust 8,000 times a second.