London Free Press
Wine boxes a mixed bag
Sat, October 28, 2006
By BILL MUNNELLY, FREELANCE WRITER
Now that we've seen boxed wines for a while -- Tetra Paks -- it's time to start evaluating them. My understanding of why box wine was a good idea was that it allowed wineries to sell wine more cheaply, especially in two- and four-litre sizes. In Australia and Scandinavian countries, thousands switched to drinking wine because the box variety became affordable.
The LCBOs introduction of box wines from around the globe has nothing to do with savings. All Tetras are one litre and all cost $12.95. These boxes are about fulfilling corporate aims on the environment. (Those who know more than me about environmental issues say the board is feeding us a lot of B.S.).
So why won't the LCBO let us have big boxes at price savings? Why not ask them? I suspect that offering customers cheap wine might interfere with year-end profits. While they are very public with their commitment to the environment, they are not as public about their commitment to increased profits each year.
But what about the box itself? It's easy to open, but I get that convenience now with a screwcap. I really dislike the wobbly feel of the carton and it tips easily. Also, I miss the cold-to-the-touch feeling with bottles of white wine. I guess I'm not a fan.
Now the good news. Here's a really good red in a box. Most of you are familiar with a pair of great-value Spanish reds from a company called Osborne. Their Tetra, called 'Ducal,' is another delicious wine. It's heartwarming and charming and tastes like a $50 wine at a steak house -- especially if you put it in a decanter.
OSBORNE 2004 Merlot- Tempranillo, Ducal, Spain
LCBO No. 11767 Price:1Lt Tetra $12.95
It appears that many in Canada believe the LCBO is pulling the wool over their eyes regarding Tetra Paks, the environment, and the real reasons for the LCBO pushing Tetras.