The Chagrin Falls-based company’s product aims to preserve wine in your bottle

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — Gary Gottfried’s mission is to make sure you never open a bad bottle of wine.

Armed with business experience in the food industry, marketing know-how and a little knowledge of chemistry, Gottfried co-founded Silvadore Wine Essentials.

The argon based system preserves opened wine bottles. It’s a simplified and affordable product, but there was a problem: the product was launched at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to Covid the product was first targeted towards retail as restaurants were in survival mode. The retail product designed for consumers is smaller than that designed for restaurants.

“Think of aluminum canisters like a can of hairspray or mousse,” he said. With the canister, “you take a value and an actuator and fill it with argon. Now you have a product that can be sprayed in the bottle and basically preserves the wine. The canister is 100 percent filled with argon, and argon is the magic ingredient.”

He added: “Argon is what does the preservation. It’s physics and chemistry.”

He said you stick your nose in the bottle and spray it – two quick puffs – and a gas is released. That creates a shift. Argon, an inert gas, is heavier than oxygen, which is what you’re trying to protect yourself against.

“It creates a ceiling,” Gottfried said. “All you need is a blanket to create a barrier between the oxygen touching the wine and the wine itself.”

Then re-cork the bottle, replace the screw cap or use a decorative stopper. But actually, he said, that gas will sit there — “it won’t pop out of the bottle.” (Technically, he said, you don’t have to put a cap on because the argon isn’t going anywhere. But it’s recommended to avoid that anything gets into the bottle, such as fruit flies.)

Gottfried comes from a diverse background, having worked at Oscar Meyer and Kraft Foods. From 1992 to 1996 he was director of marketing for Cleveland Browns. He also has a number of connections to food associations. He works with Heinen’s and Vintage Wine Distributor and also speaks to wineries.

Co-founder Jim Bartlett handles the internal operations of the company, while Gottfried tends more to the “external” business. With partners, the company also markets stain removers and a polishing cloth.

“We’re starting to see a little more weight on the restaurant side,” Gottfried said of the wine preservation product, adding that it would be a boon for open options. It would also help the restaurant business via the “Merlot to go” bill, which allows a customer to order a bottle of wine and, if not empty, have it sealed to take away. Previously, before the law came into effect, the bottle either had to be emptied or left standing.

It would also apply to winery tasting rooms. Tasting room staff often mark bottles with the date the bottle was opened and then have to sample a sip to ensure it meets standards. (Yes, they spit because they open so many during the day.)

Gottfried respected Coravin, a similar device on the market. Coravin’s product line, while extensive, is expensive and includes argon cartridges. Made in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, Silvadore’s product is self-contained.

Argon by itself can be expensive, he said, but “we actually have a lot more volume of the gas in our cans.”

Each of the retail size Silvadore canisters can hold “plus or minus 40” uses. The canisters can be recycled but not refilled. The number depends on how heavy someone’s hand is with the spray. The larger restaurant version can hold about 100 uses.

It lasts at least two weeks on the wine. Canisters should be usable for a few years. Retail size cost is $14.95.

Gottfried said there are other uses. For example, you can open a variety of wines at the Thanksgiving table and don’t have to worry about them being ready immediately. High-quality cooking oils such as truffle oil, which have a shelf life and can be expensive, can also be preserved with the Silvadore preservative.

The three things that harm wine and oils are temperature, ultraviolet light, and oxygen. So find a cool place in the dark with no direct light and protect it with the gas, he said. (This trio of elements is also detrimental to beer.)

Note that while the product prevents oxidation in liquids, he said, it’s not intended to preserve sparkling wine’s effervescence. That’s a different challenge.

“So much of it is education and familiarity,” said Gottfried, who said the product — a lightweight aluminum can of gas — is extremely lightweight.

“It can be confusing sometimes when someone picks it up – ‘Is there really something in here?’ ” he said.

I am online cleveland.com‘s life and culture team and cover topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories Here is a directory on cleveland.com. WTAM-1100’s Bill Wills and I usually talk food and drink on Thursday mornings at 8:20 am. Twitter: @mbona30.

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