There is still plenty of hot weather left, and summer isn’t officially over until September 22. So why not pack a picnic and head to the beach? A common sight around here is people schlepping beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, toddlers and towels while trying to find the ideal spot to spend a morning or afternoon.
The last thing you need is extra weight. That is why the new revolution of wines in Tetra Paks (aka, adult juice boxes), aluminum cans, and plastic containers with their own wine “glass” are becoming more commonplace. Egad! “Wine in a can,” you say?! “How gauche! How can that possibly taste good?” “Not if the wine actually tastes like it came from any other bottle,” I say. Trust me; I’ve tried all of them.
Even the millionaire investors on Shark Tank rejected that guy’s first pitch (you know, the one who invented a wine in its own cup, encased in plastic with a foil top). Now he’s laughing all the way to the bank. First, some wine snobs turned their noses up at bottles with screw caps. When, in actuality, screw caps are a better seal. No chance of a corked bottle of wine! Now, some consumers are suspicious of these new-fangled containers. Not to mention the cynics among us who think it’s all a marketing angle. However, the eye-catching, compact packaging, according to one U.S. environmental study, is actually more “green” because these containers can be recycled in a “closed loop” better than traditional glass bottles.
Tetra Paks have been on the market for over a decade. Mostly originating on the West coast, where new ideas and innovation pop up as frequently as those creatures in a Whack-a-Mole carnival game. One good idea spawns another and so the stories and inventions evolve. Now we, as the consumers, get to enjoy the convenience of good wine in alternative containers.
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The Cal Naturale Organic Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (from Sonoma) have been a staple at our store since 2012. It is 500 ML, two-thirds of a regulation 750 ML bottle of wine. So it contains three servings. They are super easy to store in your cooler, backpack or picnic basket, and most importantly, they taste like their respective varietals without the oak. (For the truly gauche among us – myself included – you can even sip the wine through a straw for more aeration.)
Similarly, the Steelhead line of Chardonnay and Merlot (also from Sonoma) offers the same lightweight convenience without sacrificing quality. You don’t even need to bring extra cups because these 375 ML wines come with their own wine glass-shaped plastic vessels. How cool is that?!
Not to be outdone, the new Alloy Wine Works’ (central California) canned Rosés and Pinot Noirs are all the rage. We’ve carried them in our shop since they were first released in April of this year. Customers tasted them at Half Full and have since flocked to Teller Wines to buy them. And just last month, Food & Wine magazine featured the Rosé in a can as an ideal picnic wine. Believe me when I say that Kevin and I taste every wine before we buy it. The Alloy wines have surprised us with their quality and integrity. And no, you absolutely cannot taste the aluminum. If you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t know the difference.
Summer is the time to chill, relax with friends and family in the back yard, at the beach and by the pool. You might want to enjoy one of these adult juice boxes or canned wines in the fall, during a football game, while your friends are drinking their beers. Just don’t forget to deposit the empties into a recycling bin after you’re finished.