My husband and I received a last minute invite to a dinner party the other day, so I whipped out my phone to text the host and ask her what I could bring.
“Bring whatever you want to drink,” she quickly fired back.
It was a simple request that required nothing more than swinging by the wine store on the way to grab a bottle of chilled chardonnay. Because I’m basically a chard girl. Unless it’s the summer and I’m out in Montauk, in which case it’s rose all day, baby—preferably on ice. But it's still the middle of February. So I selected my bottle and confidently hit the party circuit, by which I mean we rang the bell, air kissed our hellos, then handed over the scrumptious sleeve of liquid gold.
“What do you want to drink?” the host then asked as she set my carefully-selected bottle down on the nearest table and headed over to a bar set-up across the room.
“Um, a glass of wine…?” I knew my response sounded like a question. But that’s only because I did as I was told and brought what I wanted to drink. Only now it looked like I wouldn’t actually be drinking it.
“White, right?” she said, already picking up some random bottle. “We have a Pinot Grigio open, is that good.”
Oh HELL no.
Look, I get that official party etiquette dictates that my wine was a gift and therefore not something I had any right to expect to bust into. But the host did tell me to bring what I wanted to drink… right? Plus I hate Pinot Grigio. And throwing back a glass or 5 during dinner would mean waking up with a killer headache in the a.m.—not gonna fly since my son had a 10:30 basketball game the next day.
I’ve been on the other side of this scenario too, though. More than once. Which means I know how much it sucks to be left with 15 half-empty bottles at the end of the night, all of which will eventually have to get dumped down the drain. So as much as it killed me, I simply smiled and said, “Sure whatever you have.”
And with those four words, I successfully cued up the next morning’s hangover.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of single-serve contraption, similar to a Keurig, that lets you pour wines by the glass to your heart’s content without ever worrying about waste? Or about switching to another bottle after you got suckered by a cool label at the wine store and are now having all the regrets because the stuff actually tastes like Francia? Turns out, there is. It’s called Kuvee—which, when spelled with a “C”, is a French wine term derived from cuve, meaning vat or tank. Totally just googled that. Anyway, I’m guessing the geniuses behind this thing decided to go ahead and Kardashian-ify the name—kool!
According to the company’s website, Kuvee is the “new way to wine.” Translation: If you buy one, you’ll be able to enjoy whatever glass you truly want, whenever you want it, since each bottle has been designed to last for 30 days. As in a full month. How is that even possible? Let me break it down for you. For starters, the system consists of two parts. First there’s the dispenser—a sleek, hollowed out vessel that you will eventually put your wines into in order to serve them. Think of this as the wino's answer to the Keurig machine. That’s it right there in the center.
Then you have the bottles of wine themselves, which are like bigger, shinier, more expensive K-Cups. Because just like with the Keurig, you can’t use the Kuvee dispenser with your regular old wine store bottles. It’s got to be paired with one of the company’s special wines that comes housed in those black plastic 750ml canisters.
I know, I know. Kind of a bummer. But remember, these babies will stay fresh for 30 days in case I hadn’t mentioned it before, thanks to some mystical technology inside that basically involves keeping your beloved wine safe from exposure to air. Which means you can go ahead and pour 20 different wines at your next family gathering and not worry about spoilage for one hot sec. Or if you’re say, Olivia Pope, you can open a bottle of your favorite red, get kidnapped, then come back after 26 days and finish that sucker off. Better toss the popcorn though because that shiz is gonna be way stale.
I should probably mention here that the wine-shaped dispenser will set you back a cool $199 (though that does include a starter pack four bottles deep). Sure it’s a little pricey. But it’s also Wi-Fi enabled with a cool touch-screen that will recognize your wine the minute you click it in place—yeah science!—and then spill out the deets on stuff like suggested food pairings and the number of servings left inside, since we all know that’s what really matters. My fave part, though, is the fact that you can use the screen to order bottles straight to your door. Because when I want my wine, I want it ASAP without ever leaving the house.
Obviously I was dying to try this thing, and since the good people at Kuvee were kind enough to send me one, I decided to take it over to a friend’s Super Bowl Party for a test drive.
The cool-looking dispenser quickly attracted lots of attention. And initially, it was pretty easy to use as per the included instructions: Choose a bottle, unscrew the cap, remove the silver pull tab, insert the bottle into the sleeve until you hear a “click,” then pour. To switch wines, you simply eject each canister via a cute push-button decorated with grapes. Because duh.
We started off with a Schug Carneros Chardonnay, which inserted into the sleeve smoothly. So far, so good. But when we started pouring, we noticed the wine was coming out rather slowly, almost like a trickle. I emailed the company to find out if this was normal, or if we had somehow screwed up—we weren’t even tipsy yet!—and I was assured that the Kuvée dispenser does pour at a more leisurely pace than a regular glass bottle of wine, since the openings on both dispenser and the canisters are smaller in order to keep the goods fresher, longer.
Makes sense, I guess. Still, the pour should have been steady, and not taken much longer than a regular wine bottle to fill the glass—which ours most definitely did. Turns out, you actually have to puncture the silver tab fully using a pen. For some reason this little tidbit was not included in the instructions—though the company has since assured me that the next generation of Kuvée dispensers will have some type of new technology that resolves this problem. Good call, guys!
In the meantime, my brilliant friend Dan MacGuyered up a solution using a regular old kitchen knife.
Don’t try this at home, kids!
The creamy Schug turned out to be a big hit. “Order more!” someone yelled when we reached the end of the bottle, as if I just could press a button and make the now-empty canister magically refill. Now THAT would be amazing. Especially considering the next bottle‚ an Oro Bello Chardonnay, didn’t go over quite as well. But it didn’t matter—we simply popped it out and replaced it with a tasty Bonny Doon rose. So damn easy. And therein lies the beauty of the product.
Look, I drink a lot of wine, ok? Like a lot a lot. What kind of suburban housewife would I be if I didn't? And while normally I’d just suck it up and finish off the bottle even if I wasn’t totally down with the taste, I suddenly found myself with the amazing freedom to toss back as much or as little as I wanted, without a care in the world. So badass. And much like Julian Edelman’s crazy fourth quarter catch, a total game changer.
But sadly, just as I was about to drop two Benjamins on one of these bad boys, I realized that while it’s currently available in California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington, I can’t get it in my suburban Philadelphia hood just yet. So it looks like I’ll have to wait a little while longer to up my wine game. Luckily, I’ve still got 2.5 glasses of that Oro Bello left, and 28 days to drink it. May have already started.