Monday, March 10, 2014

Rant: Don't Bottle Yourself In

When you peruse the shelves of a wine store and see a wine in a Tetra Pak, what do you think about it? Do you pass by it, thinking it contains lesser wine? Will you only buy wine that comes in a bottle? If so, why are you such a wine snob? Stop ignoring the Tetra Pak.

In some respects, you can consider wine in a Tetra Pak to be akin to grownup juice box, but without a straw (though I'd love to see one come with a straw). Tetra Paks are better for the environment in a number of ways, making it a more sustainable choice than a bottle. It is said: "Tetra Pak cartons* use 54% less energy, create 80% less greenhouse gasses, produce 60% less solid waste volume and also have 92% less package weight, compared to a 750ml glass wine bottle." A Tetra Pak gives you more wine, as it contains a liter of wine rather than the 750ml of the average wine bottle. They are portable and convenient, not requiring a corkscrew. You can take them to the beach, on a camping trip, on a boat, and much more with the worries of glass.

I have previously trumpeted the Tetra Pak wines of Y+B Wines, which sell a variety of organic wines from all over the world. No matter how good the packaging, the wine inside them has to be good and Y+B Wines proved that delicious wine can come in a Tetra Pak. You just need to get past any preconceptions you have that wine must come in a glass bottle.

This past Saturday, I poured samples of a couple Tetra Pak wines at Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose. The wines were from Fuoristrada, which is owned by Michael Schmelzer of Monte Bernardi, a Biodynamic winery in Tuscany. They now produce two organic wines in Tetra Pak, a white and a red, a Grillo from Sicily and a Sangiovese from Tuscany. Both wines, priced at $15 for the one liter Tetra Pak, are good values and I recommend them both.

I found consumers to be initially curious about the Tetra Paks, even a little wary, but that soon changed once I discussed the benefits of Tetra Paks. They were especially pleased with the convenience of the Tetra Paks, and discussed how great they would be this summer. And once they tasted the wines, they were even more convinced, as they enjoyed the flavors of the wines. It was clear that there was ignorance about the existence of Tetra Paks, but that consumers were open minded about the possibilities once it was explained to them.

So throw away your prejudices about drinking only wine in a bottle. There are alternative packagings that offer different benefits, and the wine within them is just as good as many bottled wines.


Frederick Wright said...

In all sincerity, I judge wine solely by how good it tastes. So if they're putting high quality wines into these Tetra Packs, I'd have no qualms about buying. Save the glass bottles for champagnes, prosecco, and cava!

Todd - VT Wine Media said...

It was over ten years ago during a trip to Chile that I took notice of how much good quality wine was sold in one liter Tetra paks, and how often they were sold right next to the same wine in a glass 750ml bottle for exactly the same price. Granted most of their milk and juice comes in the same aseptic containers, so consumers have more familiarity with the packaging. I did a couple of side-by-sides at the time and was hard pressed to tell the difference.
If folks aren't planning on storing it for a long time, it is a reasonable choice to go with the alternative format. I look forward to seeing alt packs here if it helps to make wine for the daily table more affordable.