Where Is Wine Balloon From Shark Tank Today?

While it might seem unconscionable to hardcore wine enthusiasts, failure to drink an entire bottle in one sitting can lead to heartbreak. That's because wine loses its quality the longer it's exposed to the air, which can mean wasting a great bottle of expensive stuff. The longer the wine is exposed to air, the poorer it will become in quality. Extended air exposure can alter the flavor of wine and ruin the delicate balance between different notes. It can also negatively affect the color and aroma of wine, making it far less palatable.

Fears about oxidation have caused an entire industry to pop up around wine preservation. Wine preservation systems use a range of methods, including special corks, devices that shoot gas into the bottle, and vacuum pumps that supposedly remove air and create a strong seal. However, many of these systems leave a lot to be desired when it comes to preserving bottles of wine. Additionally, it's not easy to tell whether a system is working as intended. These issues led one entrepreneur, Eric Corti, to develop a better way of preserving wine by way of his venture, Wine Balloon. In turn, it also ultimately paved the way for his appearance on "Shark Tank."

An innovative device led to a bidding war in the pitch room

Inventor Eric Corti appeared on "Shark Tank" Season 3, Episode 4. Corti brought his wine preservation system, Wine Balloon, to the pitch room for the Sharks' consideration. Corti explained that he was inspired to create the device after he and his wife found they were wasting wine due to oxidation. The system uses a medical-grade balloon, which is inserted into the bottle while deflated. A special pump helps inflate the balloon, which creates an air-tight seal against the surface of the wine. When it's time for another glass, the balloon can be deflated using a valve on the side of the pump.

Corti claimed that he had sold 700 units of Wine Balloon thus far for $22 per unit. He asked the Sharks for a $40,000 investment for 30% of the company. Kevin O'Leary expressed interest first, agreeing to Corti's initial request but encouraging the entrepreneur to sell Wine Balloon to an established wine preservation company. Lori Greiner also made an offer, offering Corti $500,000 for 100% of Wine Balloon, which would have left him without royalties from the company. Mark Cuban jumped in at this point, expanding Greiner's offer to $600,000. 

Concerned that he would be cut out of future profits, Corti requested a 3% royalty on the deal, which Cuban turned down. Eventually, Corti accepted Greiner and Cuban's deal of $400,000 for 100% equity.

Corti isn't ready to let go of this balloon

As frequently happens after "Shark Tank," Eric Corti's deal with Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban wasn't finalized. Instead, Corti chose to retain ownership over the company and pursue other opportunities. 

It appears that Corti made a wise decision, as his product has proven to be quite a success in the years after his appearance. He appeared on another pitch show called "Invention Hunters" and eventually rebranded Wine Balloon to Air Cork.

The Air Cork website currently features four different designs, each of which are priced at $28.50. The website also offers the option of reselling the Air Cork, and the product can be found on Amazon. The company's Facebook page appears to be updated regularly, while Corti's LinkedIn profile lists him as the current owner of Air Cork. While Greiner and Cuban's deal was enticing, Corti ultimately chose to maintain ownership of his invention.