This wine storage system is produced in Bayside. Wisconsin residents get a discount.

It’s estimated that over $1.5 billion in wine is wasted annually due to spoilage and improper storage in the United States; an especially shocking figure for restaurant owners concerned about food and beverage costs. Once a wine bottle is opened, air, combined with the bacteria in the grapes used to make the wine, causes the liquid to oxidize, leaving it with a sharp vinegar taste.

Harald Tomesch’s product QikVin, a wine preservation system, provides a needed solution for restaurateurs and wine connoisseurs. Using precise engineering technologies, the system keeps wine from open bottles as fresh as it was from at the time it was first poured.

Tomesch, a Concordia University professor of theology and the owner of Chiselled Grape Winery of Wisconsin in Cedarburg, said that, prior to creating QikVin, he was throwing away more than $800 a month in wine. “I was looking for solutions, but they all involved recurring costs,” Tomesch added.

With the help of QikVin co-owner and engineer Markus Schneider, Tomesch created the product’s design, which is comparable to a medical syringe. Wine is poured into a bottle, and the gravity involved in pulling a piston up from the bottom effectively removes the oxygen from the wine. A one-way valve prevents air from entering the bottle. Located at 1260 E. Donges Bay Ct. in Bayside, the QikVin facility has the equipment needed to print attractive labels so that the wine bottles retain a sleek, elegant appearance. The bottle’s necks and plastic parts are all produced in Southeastern Wisconsin.

 

“I call it ‘a piggy bank for wine,’” Tomesch said of his product. QikVin is also an ideal vessel for storing olive oils and vinegar.

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In 2017, Tomesch, a former resident of Canada, auditioned for the Canadian version of the competition reality show “Shark Tank.” He noted that the show’s judges couldn’t tell the difference between a freshly-opened bottle of wine and one that had been preserved using QikVin. The same year, Tomesch launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the product, which proved successful—QikVin began fulfilling customer orders last June.

QikVin costs $95 (with a discount available to Wisconsin residents) and is available in three models: the Flint Red and White Wine editions and the Olive-Green Red Wine Edition. So far, customers have been pleased with the wine preservation system. QikVin has received nothing but 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, and customers have even written Tomesch to tell him about hosting taste-testing parties to compare the wine in newly-opened bottles with the wine in QikVin bottles.

The product is also getting international praise. European wineries were among the first QikVin customers, and the product was named a finalist in the 2017 Food and Beverage Awards in London, England, as well as a nominee for the Best Winery Innovation in the 2018 International Wine & Spirits Competition. Tomesch said he hopes to sell the product on a larger international scale in the future.

QikVin, he said, “has been so well-received.”

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