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Dave Hatfield

Wine in boxes

41 posts in this topic

Here's something I haven't seen before.  Wine in a plastic bottle. 

We had a party last night, and one of the guests brought over a bottle of Wolf Blass, 2004 Bilyara Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon.

I was completely taken by surprise when I picked it up and discovered it was a plastic bottle.

I haven't tried it yet, but something like this would also be great for camping/backpacking trips.

There was an article in our newspaper today about wine in plastic bottles.

A study commissioned by a plastic bottle manufacturer found that wine stored in glass and plastic tasted similar in the short term. After about eight months, however, the wine in the plastic starts deteriorating because PET bottles are permeable to air, which oxidises the wine.

Is the plastic in the wine boxes the same type, and would that hold true for boxed wine then? And I'm pretty sure there was something on the back of the bottle about drinking it now, or being ready to drink or something. So I did. :biggrin: It was quite good in fact.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The most recent issue of Wine Spectator rated the Wine Cube brand 2007 California Chardonnay at 88 points. So of course I had to try some. I don't know that I'd give it all that high of a rating, but it was certainly very drinkable, and at $10/1.5 L it's a great deal. It did have a stamp on the bottom saying "best before 11/09", so there might be some concern with the plastic breaking down in the long term.


"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

Visit my food blog! http://goodformeblog.blogspot.com/

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Reading Alexis Kahn's wine blog, A Thirsty Spirit, I recently learned about the Black Box Wines video challenge. They're asking consumers to serve their wine-in-a-box blind to guests and then record Folgers-like reactions. Alexis is the general manager and beverage director at the French Culinary Institute's restaurant in New York City. I know her because she was a student in my class recently. She has, in my experience, very reliable taste. She recommends the "From the Tank" boxed wines from Jenny & François Selections. These are natural, unfiltered wines. If you're in New York City they can be had at Astor.

Here's some media coverage of the product:

http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/47545/

http://www.esquire.com/features/drinking/best-box-wines-0309

http://www.drvino.com/2008/09/17/jenny-fra...inside-the-box/

http://www.bloombergnews.com/apps/news?pid...id=am6kAHVrJ5G4


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I find that a very strange argument for the environment.  Unless I missed it, it seems that the whole point of recycling has been missed. 

Recyclability is one aspect of a product's environmental impact. Glass is generally more recyclable than plastic, however glass requires energy to produce, transport and recycle. The plastic used for boxed wines is partly recyclable and, perhaps more importantly, is often made from largely recycled material. In addition, boxed wine requires less energy to produce and transport than bottled wine. I've see at least one credible-seeming claim that the overall "carbon footprint" of boxed wine is half that of bottled. In addition, while glass can be recycled, it often is not. And the process of recycling itself carries both economic and environmental costs that have to be weighed.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For what its worth, purchased a box of 'Black Box 2008 Monterey County Chardonnay'.

My wife refuses to drink it and I am not far behind, so for cooking it is. Haven't listen to a wine review in 20 years so I should have known better. So much for Wines Spectator and other reviews!-Dick

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I've had okay luck with the Black Box and Killer Juice brands, but I'm not the pickiest about these things. I definitely preferred the latter, which had a bit more fruitiness and excitement.

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Personally the thought of plastic --liners and bottles, and wine turns me off.

Wine in boxes is limited in most places at least in the Paso Robles region of the California Central Coast. It is still there, but actually has relatively little shelf space compared to bottled wines. That is probably because we have so much really good inexpensive local wine available here. We produce (and consume) a lot from mostly from smaller wineries who probably cannot afford the cost of "boxing" their wine anyway. In fact most smaller wineries outsource their bottling to mobile bottling stations who come to the winery to bottle the wine. So packaging options are limited to start. We are seeing more screw caps and synthetic corks, but not necessarily on cheaper wines, it is more a "green" thing than a cost savings.

For lower production wineries and vineyards doing mostly dry farming and low production growing methods for high quality like head pruning, wine grape production may have a lot of manual labor, but is not an energy intensive AG process. In the scheme of things, the impact of glass packaging on total energy cost is relatively negligible. The big producers are all mechanized and have massive irrigation systems. They DO use a lot of energy so maybe boxing may have a positive impact. But, when you think about it, how much annual "wine-waste", bottles or boxes, would the average consumer create anyway compared to say getting a daily newspaper?

There are a LOT of top notch wineries, large and small here, over 200 in Paso Robles itself, and at last count a little under 500 within two hours drive of Paso Robles, producing great wines mostly in the $8-$15 dollar range. Shipping cost is not a really big issue, so boxing is not going to save much. I imagine that outside California in general and the Central Coast in particular shipping costs and the 3-tiered distribution system inflate the prices so you rarely see a lot of the Central Coast wines in any form.

Anyway, a lot of the fun of drinking wine is to try a lot of different wines, it is part of the life style of living here. We all have our favorite wineries, kind of like baseball teams.

Is it the same for others in major wine producing regions?


Larry McGourty

TheRomanticTable.com Food and Wine News from the California Central Coast.

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I'm a fan of the Black Box cab as a cooking and random-glass-here-and-there wine -- it's my default red for braising these days, and I almost always have a box on the kitchen counter. The Black Box whites are okay but seem to go off relatively quickly, even if refrigerated. I've tried a few other brands, but Black Box is the only one I've liked enough to buy a second time.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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As highlighted in the OpEd piece, this is regretably more about marketing than about wine packaging technology and ecological goodness. The move by some winemakers to artificial corks is driven in part by cork becoming a scarce resource.

Why do we think that vintners are going to be less short-term profit motivated in their packaging choices? And while restaurants might buy boxes for wine in the kitchen, how soon do you think it will be before you can order a box of wine from the menu?

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Well, portability is an issue too - for a weeklong camping trip, a box is perfect. Right now, I like Washington Hills and Domaine Roger Perrin. I also like Black Box and Almaden, depending on the occasion.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Box wine is great stuff..I buy it to make vinegar,its cheaper,,,and works well...

Bud..

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In several wine making countries, you can schlep your big jug to the vintners, and decant a jug of wine for the week. Whats the diff between that and the box? The box does a better job of preventing oxidization of the wine. Its a good thing.

It may not be the thing for the very best wines, but there's a lot of enjoyable 'vin ordinaire' in the world.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Nobody has tried to lay down a vintage wine in a box. (Although, I imagine some radical vintners are experimenting even now.)

My understanding is that wine aged in bags would be superior to wine aged in bottles -- so long as the bag lining doesn't degrade over decades.

Just like canned beer is better than bottled beer. A lot of craft beer drinkers think bottles are better, but that's just marketing. A lot of older drinkers remember the original cans, which left a metallic taste to the beer. That doesn't happen any more.

If you don't believe me, put a Young's Chocolate Stout can vs. bottle to the test.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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In several wine making countries, you can schlep your big jug to the vintners, and decant a jug of wine for the week. Whats the diff between that and the box? The box does a better job of preventing oxidization of the wine. Its a good thing.

It may not be the thing for the very best wines, but there's a lot of enjoyable 'vin ordinaire' in the world.

An excellent point, in my opinion.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Its nearly 4 years since I started this topic and I'm wondering how much change of opinion has occurred regarding boxed wines.

My opinion hasn't changed a lot. I still think they're a good idea and I'm still disappointed that vintners don't put better quality wines in boxes.

I must admit that our 'house wine' has switched from Paul's boxes to a bottled wine from Gaillac. For white wine that is. The reason being that we've found a really nice white for about 3€. This winery also has some nice oaked whites for a good price. Interestingly, Christian who makes the wine as well as some wonderful reds recently told me that he was now making a boxed wine.

He was reluctant to sell me any because the wine was intended for restaurant & café use. With a fair amount of arm twisting (I am a pretty good long standing customer) he finally agreed to sell me a box. I should have listened to him in the first place. It was pretty foul, barely drinkable. And this is from a winery that makes excellent wines across their range.

My point is that if one puts plonk in the box you'll get the traditional negative reaction. I just wish more wineries would try putting decent wine in boxes.

In any case I'd love to hear everyone's opinion of boxed wine as it is today. Better? Or worse than in 2009?

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