Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's the End of the World as We Know It: Box Wine in a Fine Wine Store

Time to confront all the snobbish notions you hold about wine and what it's supposed to be....box wine has made the New York Times!! Check out Dr. Vino's op/ed piece right here. For even more fun, check out the comments related to the article on his blog. I find these comments especially interesting for two reasons.

First, they highlight how complex the whole notion of 'green' consumption is. I'm not in the mood to get on my high horse about the complexities of organic vs sustainable vs the ever-looming carbon footprint, but trust me, you don't want to come into the shop and ask for organic wine when I'm in an 'educational' frame of mind. You'll leave with a nice wine, but your head will be spinning. It's not a simple subject.

Second, the comments highlight how much snobbery there is built into the whole wine experience. Call it 'ritual' if you want, but turning up your nose at screw caps or box wine simply because you miss the pop of a cork or the glint of light on a bottle....it really just blows my mind. These are two packaging options that are a good thing, period. You can't argue that screw caps are the best way to cap off wine meant to be consumed within a year or two of bottling (which is most wines, really.) And there's nothing about putting a wine into a tetrapak that magically turns that wine into complete crap. Just because there isn't much good wine out there in a tetrapak doesn't mean it can't be done. And while the recycle-ability of tetrapaks vs. bottles may be debatable, the fuel savings related to shipping the lighter packing material aren't.

Frankly Wines already carries one of the wines mentioned in the Times piece - the 'unoaked malbec made from organically grown grapes'. It's called Yellow + Blue (make green, get it?) and I brought it in for the same reason I bring in every wine - it represents great wine for the price. The fact that it was in a tetrapak was just an added bonus - it's always fun to have something on the shelves that will tweak people's expectations about what wine is supposed to be...good wine in a box? Absolutely!

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