News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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April 28, 2013

GRAPE SENSE: The greatest thing to happen to wine since screw caps

Wine industry innovation has been pretty limited beyond winemaking. Arguably, screw caps and synthetic closures have been the most influential innovations in recent years.

Savino founder Scott Tavenner believes his wine preservation device will revolutionize how consumers view a half bottle left after dinner.

“There is nothing like it that’s effective, easy to use, and elegant,” Tavenner said. “We have hit that resonance point of something that is beautiful to look at; you can pour from it, it’s easy to use, intuitive, and it’s effective. It covers up 98 percent of the surface area of the wine. When those things come together, magic happens.”

Simply, the Savino is a glass cylinder with a stopper that floats atop the leftover wine. There is a lid which locks into place to seal the attractive decanter.

It all started years ago when Tavenner’s wife put a glass of wine in the refrigerator to save it for another day. “I kind of laughed at her and said ‘that’s not going to work,’ We ended up trying out all the different wine preservation gadgets out there.”

After 15 years “stewing on the problem,” Tavenner, who spent most of his career as a business development executive, decided to do something about it. He started raising funds through Kickstarter and raised 425 percent of his goal. The Savino went on sale through the company website on April 17 with 2,500 pre-orders.

He hired a designer, shared his vision, and within 30 minutes had an initial drawing that looks much like the finished product: “I knew with my focus groups, and my own network, people were responding well. But it’s really validating when people you don’t know decide to pull their credit card out and purchase one.”

Before making the Savino available, the team tested the device with blind tastings, master sommeliers and a few wine media people. The Savino shined in nearly every test.

Tavenner tells people wine will keep at least a week but suggests a Tuesday to Saturday test. “If the bottle lasts a week, that’s a standard we are very, very comfortable with and people will be happy with,” he said. “I think it will go longer.”

Savino will change the way people think about their fine bottles of wine, he said. “There isn’t a bottle of wine that I won’t open on any given night because I haven’t thrown away a glass of wine since I started using this device. The freedom that brings is really hard to describe.

“It’s intellectually intuitive,” Savino said. “I love inventions when you see it, it’s obvious. We’re not the iPhone, but the iPhone was an obvious extension of what a phone could be. When people see the Savino they say, ‘Oh, this is obvious and it’s great.’ “

Howard’s take:

I wanted to be skeptical of the Savino, having tried all the methods available to preserve a half bottle of wine. The old journalist wanted to be very cautious because it was a trade sample for me to test.

The Savino works. Of all the pumps, stoppers, smaller bottles and other solutions available, the Savino beats them all. I thought the wine was 95-100 percent of its original flavors on a second and third night. I conducted Tavenner’s Tuesday-Saturday test and could tell a difference but thought the wine was great.

It’s not a device everyone is going to buy at $49.99. But for serious wine drinkers, Savino is an innovation you’re going to want in your kitchen. It’s available through the company website.

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, IN., writes for 22 Midwestern newspapers every other week. Read his blog at: www.howardhewitt.net.

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