The Wine Balloon, also known as the Air Cork, is an innovative product designed to preserve the taste and quality of wine. It was introduced on Season 3 of the hit reality show Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of potential investors, the “sharks.”
The Air Cork is an ingenious solution to a common problem wine drinkers face – oxidation. Once a bottle of wine is opened, the remaining wine comes into contact with air and begins to oxidate.
Over time, oxidation can degrade the flavor of the wine. The Air Cork addresses this issue by providing an airtight seal within the wine bottle, preventing the wine from coming into contact with air and thus maintaining its quality.
The Wine Balloon places an inflatable balloon attached to a pump inside the bottle. The user then pumps air into the balloon until it expands to fill the space in the bottle above the remaining wine. This forms an airtight seal that keeps the remaining wine fresh for up to three days.
Wine Balloon is made from food-grade material and does not affect the taste of the wine. It’s also compact and easy to store.
With its simple yet effective design, the Wine Balloon makes a great choice for wine connoisseurs and casual drinkers.
Its primary appeal lies in its ability to extend the life and maintain the quality of opened wine bottles, thus reducing waste and making it possible to savor a good bottle of wine over a few days.
Furthermore, its ease of use and unobtrusive design make it a convenient tool for any wine lover.
|Company Name||Wine Balloon (Air Cork)|
|Product / Business||A wine preservation pump powered by air bulbs|
|Investment Asking For||$40,000 for 30% equity in Wine Balloon/Air Cork|
|Final Deal||$400,000 for 100% equity in Wine Balloon/Air Cork|
|Shark||Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner|
|Wine Balloon Episode||Season 3, Episode 4|
|Wine Balloon Business Status||In Business|
|Wine Balloon Website||Visit Website|
|Wine Balloon Net Worth||$7 Million|
What is Wine Balloon/Air Cork?
The Wine Balloon, also known as Air Cork, is a device designed to preserve the freshness and taste of wine. A balloon inflates within your wine bottle, creating an air-tight seal that prevents the wine from being exposed to air. This helps to maintain the wine’s quality by preventing oxidation, which can degrade the wine’s flavor over time.
To use it, you simply insert the deflated balloon into the wine bottle after you’ve poured your wine. Then, inflate it until it completely seals against the inside of the bottle.
When you’re ready to pour more wine, deflate and remove the balloon. The Wine Balloon is particularly useful for short-term wine preservation.
Here’s how Wine Balloon works:
- Step 1: Insert the deflated balloon end of the Air Cork into the bottle after pouring your desired amount of wine.
- Step 2: Then, pump the bulb end to inflate the balloon until it completely seals against the interior sides of the bottle. This creates an air-tight barrier.
- Step 3: When you’re ready to pour another glass, press the valve stem to deflate the balloon and remove it from the bottle.
The Wine Balloon protects your wine from the air, ensuring every glass tastes as good as the last. It’s a simple yet effective solution for preserving wine and is best suited for short-term storage (around 3-4 days).
If you plan to store your wine longer, you might want to consider other methods like vacuum sealers or argon gas-based systems.
Who is the Founder of Wine Balloon/Air Cork?
The Wine Balloon, also known as the Air Cork, was invented by entrepreneur Eric Corti. Corti, who hails from Napa Valley, California – an area famous for its vineyards and wine production, had a background in the wine industry, which gave him an intimate understanding of the problems associated with wine storage.
Before creating the Air Cork, Corti worked in the wine industry, where he became familiar with the challenge of preserving wine once the bottle had been opened.
He was aware of the detrimental effects of oxidation on wine quality and realized the need for a practical, affordable solution that could be used at home.
This problem gave him the idea for Air Cork. Corti wanted a device to prevent oxidation and help consumers enjoy their wine longer after opening.
The solution came in the form of the Air Cork, an inflatable balloon that forms an airtight seal inside the wine bottle, blocking any contact between the wine and the air.
Before appearing on Shark Tank in Season 3, the Air Cork was primarily sold online and through select local wine shops in Napa Valley.
Corti managed to gain a modest customer base, but he recognized that he needed a larger platform and additional funding to truly get his product off the ground.
His appearance on Shark Tank allowed him to present his product to a wider audience and potential investors, leading to increased visibility and success for Air Cork.
How Was the Shark Tank Pitch of Wine Balloon/Air Cork?
Eric Corti walked into the Shark Tank in Season 3, seeking an investment of $400,000 in exchange for 30% equity in his company, Air Cork, valuing the company at $1.33 million.
He demonstrated his product, an inflatable balloon that could be inserted into a partially consumed bottle of wine to preserve its taste by preventing oxidation.
The effectiveness and simplicity of the Air Cork were well received by the Sharks, who saw the value in a product that addressed a common problem for wine drinkers.
However, some Sharks expressed concerns about the market size and the specific use case of the product. They questioned how many consumers would be willing to pay for a product like this, especially given that cheaper alternatives for preserving wine exist.
There was also some concern about the product’s durability and whether the balloon might burst or leak over time.
Despite the concerns, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner saw the product’s potential and proposed an unexpected deal. The pair offered the $400,000 Corti was seeking, but instead of asking for a 30% stake, they wanted to acquire the entire company – a 100% stake.
Cuban and Greiner planned to license the product to Corti, allowing him to earn royalties from future sales. This arrangement is unusual for Shark Tank, as entrepreneurs aim to secure investment without losing company control.
In this case, however, Corti agreed to the deal, which gave Cuban and Greiner complete control over the company while still allowing Corti to earn from the product he had conceived and developed.
This significant investment and the backing of two renowned entrepreneurs enabled the Air Cork, or the Wine Balloon as commonly known, to reach a broader market and gain increased visibility in the wine accessories sector.
The deal demonstrates entrepreneurial investment’s flexible and varied nature and the unique opportunities platforms like Shark Tank present.
This investment provided the necessary capital for Air Cork to expand its product reach and enhance its marketing efforts, helping it to grow into a more widely recognized brand in the wine accessories market.
Final Deal: Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner bought 100% of Wine Balloon/Air Cork for $400,000.
What Happened To Wine Balloon/Air Cork After Shark Tank?
After Eric Corti appeared on Shark Tank with his invention, the Wine Balloon (later rebranded as The Air Cork), the product experienced significant success and growth.
Initially, he sought a $40,000 investment for 30% equity in his business, but Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner saw the potential and offered $400,000 for 100% equity in the company and the patent pending.
Eric hesitated and asked for a 2% royalty on future profits, causing Mark to withdraw his offer. Eventually, he accepted Mark Cuban’s reduced offer of $400,000 without a royalty.
However, after the show, Eric decided to back out of the deal and market The Air Cork independently. Despite the failed deal, the product found success and attracted interest from large wineries and wine stores due to its ability to preserve opened wine bottles.
Eric later partnered with Steve Greenberg and Patrick Raymond, and they renamed the product to The Air Cork while improving its packaging.
Since then, The Air Cork has become highly successful, receiving attention on another reality show, The Kitchen Inventors. It experienced a surge in sales and expanded its product line.
The product’s ability to preserve wine freshness for weeks garnered positive reviews and media coverage, and it grew to generate $7 million in sales annually as of 2023. The Air Cork is available on their website and at retail outlets.
Eric Corti’s net worth is estimated to be $14 million, showcasing the remarkable success of his product and business. The decision to rebrand and operate independently was wise, allowing The Air Cork to thrive in the wine preservation market. Air Cork continues to be a successful product in the wine accessory industry.
Wine Balloon/Air Cork Shark Tank Update
After the Shark Tank episode aired, the Wine Balloon, known as the Air Cork, gained significant exposure and attracted considerable attention.
The investment and business acumen provided by Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner propelled the brand forward and helped it reach a wider market. The product was rebranded as “The Air Cork” after the show, a change that better reflected the product’s function.
Additionally, Cuban and Greiner’s investment allowed for improvements in the design and functionality of the Air Cork, making it even more user-friendly and durable.
Due to the increased visibility and the backing of two renowned entrepreneurs, sales of the Air Cork grew considerably. The product was sold online and became available in retail stores nationwide.
Air Cork’s success demonstrates how an innovative product, combined with the right support and exposure, can thrive in the market.
Despite the unusual deal on Shark Tank, where Cuban and Greiner acquired 100% of the company, Corti continued to earn from the product he developed through licensing arrangements.
In this way, the Shark Tank experience benefitted all parties involved. Corti was able to see his product succeed on a large scale, while Cuban and Greiner added a successful product to their portfolio of investments. Air Cork remains a popular product in the wine accessory market.
Is Wine Balloon/Air Cork Still In Business?
Yes, the Wine Balloon, known as Air Cork, is still in business. The product can be purchased directly from the company’s website or Amazon. The company continues to receive positive reviews for its product and also sells affordable replacement balloons.
The Air Cork is available in three colors (burgundy, white, and charcoal), and most models feature a grape cluster-style bulb that’s squeezed to pump air into the balloon. One model features a wine barrel-shaped bulb instead.
Corti also sells replacement balloons for the device, which seems smart since balloon defects are the primary complaint in lower-star reviews on Amazon.
What is the Net Worth of Wine Balloon/Air Cork?
According to our research, the net worth of Wine Balloon is estimated to be $7 million. The valuation of Wine Balloon was $400,000 after getting acquired by Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner on Shark Tank.
Also, read about other businesses that appeared on Season 3 of Shark Tank: