Wine bloggers are generally suckers for wine gadgets. My wine blogger friends and I enjoy testing out new aerators, decanters, preservers and whatever else is thrown our way. I have written about a gas preservation system, the WineSave, and found it to be a very effective if somewhat expensive method to keep your wines fresh for a while.
Last month I was offered a chance to try the Wine Shield wine preservation system. Unlike gas or vacuum pumps, the Wine Shield slides inside the bottle and creates a layer between the air and the wine, thereby preserving the wine. On the Wine Shield website it's claimed that system can preserve the wine for up to five days. For reference, most of the time a red wine will run out of flavor and turn into crap after as little as three days.
Thanks to the magic of Twitter I was put in touch with Ben Rodrigues, who handles Wine Shield in the United States. He sent me a little sampler pack consisting of the inserter, three BPA-free plastic discs (the actual Wine Shield), and the instruction manual. On the Wine Shield website, there is a video tutorial to show how to use the system. While the guy on camera makes it look easy, I had trouble with the first disc detaching from the gray plastic tongs and falling on top of the wine. I chalked it up more to my inability than any flaw with the actual product.
Luckily it's easy to use the Wine Shield so the second and third discs were relatively easy to insert into their respective bottles. You're probably asking "Beau, did it work or not?". The answer is yes, the Wine Shield does preserve your wine for longer than a few days. I tested it with a couple of wines, one white and one red and randomly taste-tested each wine over the course of five days. By the fifth day the wines were noticeably tired yet compared to my control bottle, they were just fine to drink. Now the kicker here is that during the five day trial, I also was using my can of WineSave to preserve other bottles, and that did a better job in my opinion. Then again, the WineSave is $40 a can (yes it lasts 50+ uses), and the Wine Shield costs about $10 for a 10-pack of shields and the applicator.
It's a toss up, honestly. I really liked the gadgetry of the Wine Shield and it works very well at continuing to preserve the wine as you drink through a bottle. Contrast that to a gas system where you must reapply the gas after each pour and it's obvious which one is more convenient. In conclusion, I recommend the Wine Shield. At about $1 a bottle (the cost of each disc is about $1), you can preserve about 40 glasses of wine that otherwise might start to go south. Buy the Wine Shield here, and you can even get free shipping.
This product was a media sample for review and evaluation purposes.