Eric Corti brings the Wine Balloon to episode 304, hoping to entice the Sharks to take a sip of his product. Corti and his wife enjoy an occasional glass of wine, but rarely finish a bottle in a single sitting. Wasting expensive wine by leaving it to oxidize in the bottle is a frustrating quandary for many wine drinkers, and the Cortis were no exception. Eric Corti came up with a solution. He dismantled a blood pressure cuff, and, using the tubing and pump, created a simple, effective new way to “cork” wine. The balloon takes up the air space in the bottle, preventing the wine from being spoiled by exposure to air. Will the Sharks pull the cork on Corti's invention?
The Wine Balloon Shark Tank Recap
Corti comes into the Tank seeking an investment of $40,000 in return for 30% of the Wine Balloon business. He gives a brief demonstration of his product, showing how the balloon fills the bottle, eliminating air space and preventing oxidation of the wine.
The Sharks are intrigued. Lori Greiner wants to know if the product is patented. Corti has a patent pending. He has laboratory testing to back up his claim that the bladder has no effect on the wine.
Kevin O'Leary wants to know if he's tested the Wine Balloon to see exactly how long it will protect wine. Corti explains that the Wine Balloon stays inflated for about 3-4 days, and can be re-inflated periodically to keep the wine fresh. With no advertising or marketing, simply by putting up the website, he was able to sell over 700 units.
While Corti's sales to date aren't stellar, the Sharks are impressed with the product's practicality and appeal to wine lovers. Kevin O'Leary makes the first offer. He offers the $40,000, on the condition that Corti allows him to license the product to an existing wine preservation company that has sold hundreds of thousands of an inferior unit.
Before Corti can accept, Lori Greiner makes another offer. She's not interested in licensing the product, but she wants to buy Corti out for $500,000. Mark Cuban jumps in, encouraging Corti to take Greiner's offer. He joins Greiner, upping her deal to a $600,000 buy out. Cuban pressures Corti for an immediate decision.
Corti counter-offers, requesting a 3% royalty as part of the deal. Cuban refuses to put a royalty into the offer. When Corti asks for a 2% royalty, Cuban goes out. Greiner lowers her offer to $500,000, and asks Robert Herjavec to come in, but he refuses, going out. Cuban comes back in, but lowers the offer to no royalty and $400,000. Daymond John is out as well. Under pressure from the Sharks, Corti accepts the $400,000 and leaves the Tank with a deal.
The Wine Balloon Shark Tank Update
Deals made under pressure almost always come with regrets. When the time came to sign the final paperwork, Corti backed out of the deal for $400,000. He decided, instead, to retain control of his company and see how far he could get without a Shark investment. It appears that he made the right decision. He changed the name of the Wine Balloon to the “Air Cork.”
Eric also appeared on appeared on Kitchen Inventors on the Food Network – a Shark Tank-like show featuring kitchen/food products. This time, he got a deal, which resulted in the name change to Air Cork and wide distribution. Sales have been steady and impressive, and he's well on his way to monopolizing the market.