Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Tote Bag For Boxed Wine

Here's another photo of the Twisted Tea at the pig pickin' last weekend. We took the bag out of the cardboard and hung it in a tote bag designed for the purpose. It's called a Tapsack, sold at Fairtradewind. Really handy for outdoors. We had tables, but needed to free up all the table surface for the piles of food. And in this bag, we could drop it into the cooler full of melting ice - got it nice and icy cold without soggy cardboard.

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Have Boxed Wine, Will Travel

I came across a great post on the Cruise Talk Central blog called Fine Wine, Alternative Packaging about taking wine on cruise ships. I didn't even know that cruise lines allowed passengers to bring wine to keep and consume in their cabins. Boxed wine is great for travel.

Screwcap Bottle or Box of Fine Wine

Thinking of bringing wine on board for consumption in your room? Some vintners of fine wine are now selling their quality wine with a screw cap. Others are offering fine wine in alternative packaging. For in room consumption you can’t beat the convenience, and the wine makers insist that you are getting the same or better quality wine as you would in a corked bottle.

OK, this wine lover needed some convincing! A fine wine with a screw cap instead of a cork? A quality wine in a box? I have been a wine lover for almost 15 years, starting when I first started dating my husband and he introduced me into his favorite wine at the time, Graves. Since that time my husband and I attended numerous different wine tasting classes and parties and have enjoyed wines from all around the world. We consider ourselves wine lovers, not wine snobs, and have always been willing to try just about any wine or style. During our trips to Germany, Austria, and France we simply enjoy the local wines. When in Italy we love to go to an Enotech or wine bar and try their wonderful variety of Italian wines at different price ranges. However, we have always had one rule: It has to have a cork.

The Screw Cap

Over the last few years I’ve been reading about fine winemakers starting to use screw caps. Wine makers have three choices for sealing off their bottles of wine: natural cork make from tree bark, synthetic cork, or a screw cap. Each of these choices have their own draw backs and advantages. Could it possibly be true that a maker of a fine wine would choose the screw cap over a cork, and why on earth would they do this?

This week we attended a wine tasting event featuring wines from around the world. Many of the wine makers were present and provided us with a wealth of information about their wines. I talked with Mat Garretson, of Garretson Wine Company, Garretsons Wines, who has recently made a switch to a screw cap from a cork. He was able to answer all my concerns about the “Screw Cap” issue. He explained to me that he has done extensive research, visiting many wineries in Australia that have been using the screw cap for years. His dislike for cork stems from the fact that because cork is an organic product its quality and performance is inconsistent. Garretson says he looses 10% of his production to failed cork. Frustrated with this loss of product, he set out to find a better solution. He decided on the screw cap because of its consistent quality. He also said that he has not had to change or adjust his wine making methods in any way to accommodate the screw cap instead of a cork. He feels that the only drawback of the screw cap is that it a less elegant than the cork, but feels that consistent quality more than make up for this. For more information on Mat’s move to the screw cap you can visit Garretsons Wines.

Quality Boxed Wine

Black Box has pioneered the release of quality wine in bag-in-box package. This is not the box of “Burgundy” or “Chablis”, which is basically just inexpensive jug wine packaged in the more convenient bag-in-box. Black Box’s website says “Forget the old stereotype - quality boxed wine is finally here! You can now enjoy excellent tasting wine in our 3-liter box for about half the price you would pay for a bottled wine of the same quality. “ Vintner Ryan Sproule says that while visiting Europe he found many quality wines packaged in the cost saving and freshness preserving bag-in-box. When he found that no winemakers in America were putting higher quality wines in this packaging, he founded Black Box Wine. He now offers a variety of wine including two different California Chardonay’s, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Australian Borrosa Valley Shiraz. To find out more about Black Box wines visit BlackBox Wines.

So for your next cruise you may want to bring along one of these fine wines in the easier to open packaging. Be sure to check your cruise line’s alcohol policy. Most lines will allow you to bring wine onboard for in room consumption, some ask you not to do this, but do not enforce the policy, others will confiscate all alcohol from you luggage and return it to you at the end of the cruise. You may want to ask previous passengers on how the alcohol policy is enforced. Also, many lines allow you bring your own wine to the dining room for a corkage fee. I guess if you bring a screw cap bottle of wine it might be considered a “Screwage” fee?

Cruise Talk Central » Fine Wine, Alternative Packaging

Boxed wine would be even easier to pack on a cruise if the box was left behind - much easier to get it into the luggage. There's a bag available for carrying the wine bag without the box at

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Boxed Wine - NOT - This Is Hard Cider In a Box

I am a hard cider fan. I have been, ever since I first tried hard cider in Canada 15 years ago. At that time there were no good hard ciders available in the US as far as I could tell. Our local liquor and wine store stocked Woodpecker, which is perfectly vile stuff. Fortunately there are now a number of quite tasty hard ciders available in the US, some imports, some homegrown. Too bad the US is not so forward looking as Britain on packaging.

A few days back I posted about Buffy's traditional ale in a box. Britain is also home to a hard cider in a box. H. Weston & Sons is located in Herefordshire. They offer a six of their ciders in 20L boxes, and two in a 3L package.

1st Quality Cider 3 Litre (4 x 3L boxes per case) Smooth, well-balanced fruity flavour with a clean apple finish. Unlike the cloudy scrumpies this is filtered to be clear and bright. Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs. Alc 5.0% Vol 4 x 3L bag-in-box Still Cider

H Weston & Sons Limited

Organic Draught Vintage Cider 3 Litre (4 x 3L boxes per case) Highly Commended at the Organic Food Awards 2003. Produced from specially selected top quality organic cider apples from a single year's crop. Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs. Alc 7.3% Vol Still Cider 4 x 3 Litre Bag-in-Box

H Weston & Sons Limited

I would love to try this, but the Weston's web store says they do not ship internationally at this time. Attention US hard cider makers: I would love to have something like this in my fridge.

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