Wine to go
December 6th, 2006
Laura Brockman, Associate Features Editor
The act of opening a bottle of wine has become a ceremony to many people, so you can imagine what a sacrilege it must seem to those people to see wine in boxes and bags. But in today's "on-the-go" culture, wine bottles can be very inconvenient and are a pain to attempt to pack for a picnic or other activity. Luckily, some wine makers are able to see outside the bottle and are offering new packaging choices.
Imagine cracking open a cold one while watching the game — only this time it's a can of wine instead of a beer can. Companies such as Barokes (www.wineinacan.com) are offering this option to adventurous wine drinkers. The Australian company packages their wine using a patented Vinsafe process, which involves lining the cans to protect the wine from aluminum and assuring that the wine inside is good quality and can last several years.
Each can holds approximately two glasses of wine, a good size to enjoy anywhere, since you don't need a glass or corkscrew. The company offers six varieties of wines: a Merlot, Chardonnay and rosé either flat (normal) or bubbly.
The cans can be difficult to find, since the concept is fairly new, but you can purchase Barokes wines online at their website in packs of 24 cans at $96 for each pack.
Another convenient package is the juice box. This branched off from the larger boxed wines that are popular. Now you can purchase a single serving of wine in juice box form. The adult juice box makes sense for environmental reasons: the cardboard containers are recyclable, easily decompose and are cheaper to ship than heavier glass bottles. In addition, a juice box can be easily tossed in a backpack.
One company that makes these "adult" juice boxes is Three Thieves Winery (www.threethieves.com). Their "bullet" brand of juice boxes comes complete with witty sayings on the back like "this is what happens when winemakers and engineers hang out together."
The Californian company offers Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon in its juice boxes. Again, each box holds about two glasses of wine. I haven't seen these in local stores, but you can purchase them at the company's website at $10 for a four pack.
While on the topic of juice box wine, it is necessary to mention wine in a box. These wines are placed in a bag then placed inside a box. They are a great, inexpensive way to serve wine to a large crowd.
The box has a handle that makes it portable and an easy pour spout. Just because it is sold in bulk and in a box doesn't mean that it should taste awful. One classier box wine I recommend is Black Box Wines.
The box itself has a classic black and gold design and the wine inside is actually fairly tasty. One more benefit of box wine is shelf life — the wines can last several weeks after they've been opened because of the inner bag.
Of course, if you insist on keeping wine in a bottle but still want to travel with wine, many wineries make small, single serving sized bottles in six packs that can be found at the end of the wine aisle. If you want to bring a regular sized bottle along with you, BuiltNY makes a handy tote that can carry a bottle (or three) safely to its destination. Unfortunately, you'll still have to figure out how to package the glasses and corkscrew.
It is important to keep in mind that it is not packaging — or even price— that determines a good wine. A perfectly good wine can be served in a can — what makes a wine good is your enjoyment, whether it is a $100 bottle or a $3 can.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wine Goes to College
College students will drink anything (I know - I was one, and I did). Boxed wine has been a college party staple for years. Of course, for most of those years until recently, it was all plonk. This article in yesterday's Collegiate Times looks at the explosion in alternative package wines, pointing out that it's not the package, but what's inside it that counts.