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New Trends in Wine Packaging

Nov 10, 2010 10:18PM ● By Anonymous

Trends in packaging have surfaced for various reasons. Screw caps and synthetic corks combat the devastating effects of cork taint, or that musty taste when wines are “corked.” A compound called trichloranisole (TCA) can infect natural corks, making wines taste like musty basement. Wine connoisseurs are resistant to change, but cork alternatives have become mainstream. Fancy new closures are yesterday’s news; today, winemakers are thinking outside the bottle.

What’s wrong with the old bottling method? As it turns out, plenty. While bottles have been the trusted method for preserving wines, glass breaks easily and is heavy; thus, wine bottles cost a fortune to transport. With rising fuel prices innovative options for packaging your favorite vino are becoming a necessity. If you enjoy outdoor festivals, boating, or camping, one of these new packages will make savoring a great glass of wine much easier.

One noteworthy new package is the ultra-modern Tetra Prisma. It is the younger, cooler sibling of Tetra Paks—those rectangular cartons that contain chicken broth, soy milk, and, as of five years ago, a few daring varietal wines. They are composed of 70 percent paper, making them a far more renewable resource than glass. This packaging is more earth-friendly because of the materials used and they are significant decrease in weight from glass. Transporting Tetra products drastically reduces carbon dioxide emissions and saves a fortune on fuel. It takes 26 truckloads of wine bottles to equal one truckload of Tetra Paks!

Paper cartons aren’t the only packaging innovations. Wine in a can is starting to gain traction thanks to innovators from Down Under. This is hardly a new trend—producers have attempted to can wine for decades. Recent advancements have resulted in compact, lightweight packaging that properly seals in quality and freshness. Barokes Australian Premium Wine, an Australian-based vineyard, created a process called Vinsafe. This patented creation grants longevity to wine in a can, which previous versions lacked. Neibaum-Coppola Winery (U.S.) started using cans with Sophia Minis, a sparkling wine in a can. Paris Hilton (recently released from the can) launched a line of sparklers called Rich Prosecco in trendy gold cans. Delicious beer and soft drinks are canned, so is it a stretch to think this could work for wine? You decide.

Lastly, do not forget to think inside the box. Boxed wines have come a long way from their lackluster start, and for worthwhile reasons. Once reserved for cheap wines, boxes now contain more premium brands, such as Blackstone’s Black Box, Target’s Wine Cube, and one called the X box. You can get quality wines in a box. Premium boxes are usually 3 liters (roughly four bottles). These boxes stay fresh for up to 3 weeks after opening. Look for boxes that list the vintage year and are varietal wines, e.g., Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, not something vague like red or white blend.

Wines that don’t come from a bottle should no longer conjure up images of frat parties and cheap dates. Producers daring to use these packaging options are spending just as much time on the wine inside. Many of these options are easier to store, ideal for outdoor activities, planet friendly, and less expensive. If you are the sole wine lover in your house or you live alone, the single-serving options will allow you to enjoy a fresh glass of wine anytime! The only thing standing between obscurity and mainstream success for these new packages is perception—so expand your wine world and think outside the bottle.

Try these wines when you want to think inside the box:

Sofia Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine Minis (Can)
What do you give your daughter for a gift when you are Francis Ford Coppola? Apparently, a line of California wines named in her honor. Sofia Wines began with this Blanc de Blancs sparkler made from a blend of Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscat. Crisp and effervescent with flavors of pear and melon, this rebellious sparkler is sold by the can or in packs of four. It is shown served in the can with a straw, but I prefer this tasty sparkler the old-fashioned way—in a glass!
Four-pack of cans retails for $15.

French Rabbit Chardonnay (Tetra Pak)

This Chardonnay from the South of France is sold in a 1-liter Tetra Pak. Made in a Burgundian style, this Chardonnay is crisp with flavors of citrus and stone fruits. The rabbit’s food-friendly acidity makes this a perfect pairing for seafood or poultry whether you are at home, on the boat, or on a romantic picnic at the beach. Its slogan is “Savor the wine. Save the planet.” Now that is one smart rabbit!
One liter retails for about $10.

Blackstone Black Box Merlot (Box)

If boxed wine brings back bad memories of days gone by this wine will change your mind! Blackstone’s line of box wines has quickly moved to the fore of the premium box revolution. While I am not much of a Merlot drinker, I really enjoyed this medium-bodied red with red berry flavors and velvety tannins. Apparently so did the judges at the 2007 San Francisco International Wine Competition, from which it went home with a gold medal! Had I not known this was from a box, I am not sure I would have ever guessed. The box, which equals four bottles’ worth of wine, retails for about $20.

Professional wine coach Laurie Forster studied with the American Sommelier Association in Manhattan and earned a certificate in viticulture and vinification.