An impressive start-up with a well executed concept. Big feature promises are made here -- and lucky for consumers they are promises the Plum keeps.
Design & Styling8.5
Ease of Use9
Cork is never removed, no oxidation
Extremely easy to use, effortless function
Keeps your wine preserved and on-tap.
Countertop only application.
Only two bottles
At first glance, the Plum wine dispenser looks relatively straightforward and unassuming. Although built to match its nearly futuristic features (which we will address later in this review), the exterior of the dispenser is crafted of simple and sleek stainless steel that flows into a beautifully molded ebony front panel.
In fact, the Plum wine dispenser is so simple in its design you may well wonder what all the fuss is about.
A quick peek inside the unit reveals a different picture. Engineered to impressive standards, the Plum wine dispenser boasts features that seem almost too good to be true.
Plum Wine Dispenser Review
Plum’s website describes it as (https://www.plum.wine/) “the first automated cooling, preservation, and serving system for wine”. Now we have to note, other manufacturers have made this claim before. Most notably, Napa Technologies, which has been selling their large wine dispenser preserve for over 8 years now, both direct and branded through Dacor.
But the Napa Technologies unit didn’t always live up to its promises. A simple search through the Napa Technologies website will turn up quite a few claims regarding the features of their Winestation dispenser, including the cooling system, automated pouring, and bottle changing (just to name a few).
Our Test Unit from Plum, Wrapping Still On
Napa Technologies wine dispenser promises everything from advanced cooling ‘thermo-electric coupling technology’ to hotel room key integration – impressive features, but ultimately unimportant against the way the wine itself is preserved by the system.
In our re-world testing, we found it to be far less impressive than promised – with only up to 1 week of preservation until the wine was noticeably different in taste. With such a short preservation period, which incurs more frequent cleaning and maintenance, upkeep on the machine turns out to be far more work than home consumers are willing to embrace.
The Plum Wine dispenser is the first system we’ve tested that actually lives up to all the hype. The Plum Wine Dispenser is a “smart” device, and therefore requires internet access to function. To this end, it utilizes built-in WiFi connectivity, an ethernet port, and an integrated speaker.
Back of the Plum Wine Dispenser is Where the Venting Happens
Internal Identification and Cooling System
Each internal wine chamber is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera which immediately scans the label of wine placed into the dispenser and verifies the wine’s identity through a database of over 6 million different wines.
It then determines the ideal temperature the wine should be chilled to and adjusts the settings on the machine. All of this is said to be done with a 95% accuracy, which, if the data is correct, is a phenomenal average!
Two cooling chambers.
Features and Connectivity
Once the Plum wine dispenser identifies the type of wine and its characteristics, simply approaching the dispenser will light up the 7-inch, full-color IPS screen. On the color display you will find all the data collected about the bottle of wine. You instantly become knowledgeable on the details of the wine – including the region, the type, and interesting facts regarding the composition of the wine.
The Plum can hold any two unopened bottles of standard sized 750ml wine, both chilled to their ideal, separate temperatures – at the same time.
Although the dual cooling system is a great feature, my main question was, “How exactly does the Plum dispense the wine without it needing to be uncorked?”.
Well, the Plum uses a patented double-cored needle to pierce through the cork of each bottle – without destroying the closure – and withdraw the wine.
Plum’s UI is Very Impressive for a V1 Product
After the needle is inserted, its automated system allows you to choose between a full serving of wine, a tasting portion, or your own custom selection. And how long will that glass of wine take? From the selection of your serving size to a full, ‘ready to drink glass’, the Plum takes only 12 seconds!
For many, a large deterrent to opening a bottle of wine is the possibility that the bottle will not be finished quickly enough to preserve the wine’s integrity. Wine that has been left too long without proper storage loses much of its flavor and often ends up down the drain not long after opening.
With the Plum wine dispenser’s modern preservation system, each bottle stored in the Plum dispenser is preserved for up to 90 days after it has been opened. How? Remember that double-cored needle used to puncture the cork for serving?
Our Wine Tasting Area at The Kitchenworks
After piercing the cork to serve the wine, each bottle is immediately filled with argon gas and the needle is not removed until the bottle is empty or replaced – ultimately preventing the oxidization of the wine and preserving its taste.
With one reusable canister of argon gas, the Plum can preserve up to 150 different bottles of wine before requiring a recharge! This means you spend less time worrying about an empty canister and more time enjoying your newly minted sommelier skills.
Related: Best Wine Coolers for 2017
The Plum is relatively small compared to the breadth of its features, measuring in at only 15”x17”x20.5” and weighing 65 pounds (approximately 29 kilos). This dispenser was created with size in mind, as it is just compact enough to be placed on a kitchen counter or bar and yet is spacious enough to hold two full bottles of wine without being bulky or too heavy.
Pros and Cons
While the Plum dispenser is certainly one of a kind, it most definitely is not cheap. With a retail price of $2,749 USD, if you are not a serious wine drinker (or aiming to become one), the Plum may be overkill for you.
On top of its hefty price tag, the Plum wine dispenser comes with only a one year limited warranty, which – for the price of the item – doesn’t feel long enough. That being said, the unit we tested feels extremely well-built. The technology within is tried and true and we do not anticipate this being a high-incident service item like a dishwasher or washing machine.
When compared against its nearest competitors however, the Plum Wine Dispenser and Preserve is a steal. Both Napa Technology and Dacor have products that only fulfill half of their promises in regards to preservation, but their prices over twice the cost of the Plum machine.
Whichever way you fall on the debate of the usefulness and practicality of the Plum super-automated wine dispenser, one thing that can’t be denied is the innovation and uniqueness of this product. To buy or not to buy – I’ll leave that up to you.
OUR VERDICT: BUY