Gone are the days of thinking good wine has to come in a bottle. And taking your vino on the go has never been easier with the latest innovations in packaging. Here with some of her favourite canned and boxed sippers is Natalie MacLean, who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes.
We’re excited to get tasting but before we start sipping the specific wines you’re recommending, tell us what’s driving the shift in these packaging trends?
There are three big reasons. First, convenience. All three formats are much easier to open than a bottle: no corkscrew required. You can also store them in your fridge or the pantry without worrying about the cellar conditions of light and humidity that affect bottled wine.
The second reason is portability. They’re all easier to carry, and safer to drop than glass bottles. That makes them ideal for camping, poolside, dockside and backyard barbecues. Some parks actually ban glass. They’re also lighter for producers to ship than glass so there’s cost savings passed on to consumers.
Finally, these formats eliminate the possibility of corked wine. That’s important when it’s estimated that 3 to 5 percent of wine bottled with cork closures sold each year are faulty.
Let’s start with the Tetra Pak. Why is it a great option?
Tetra Pak is a layer of paper/cardboard on the outside glued to a layer of aluminium foil on the inside with a plastic cap on top. It was invented to keep all kinds of liquid sterile, from juice and soup to wine. They minimize packaging and are completely recyclable.
We’re starting with the perfect summer wine, rosé. Tell us about the ones you have for us to try today.
I have the Stel + Mar Rosé, produced and made in Mendocino, California, but owned by a couple of Canadians who created the brand from the first names of their kids, Stella and Marcus. It has lovely notes of field berries. This is a 500 ml, so it’s three-quarters of a bottle.
Stel + Mar Premium Rosé
California, United States
Whereas the second rosé is 250 ml, a single serving size. I’m going to have you taste the XOXO Rosé, a lively, summery wine with notes of field strawberries and melon. It comes in this gorgeous single serve Tetra Pak that would look so pretty on a picnic table.
XOXO Mini Rosé
Next let’s talk about boxed wine because it wasn’t all too long ago that people turned their noses up at it. You say that’s nonsense now and good wine truly can come in a box, it doesn’t require a corkscrew. Why do you recommend we go for the box?
- True, these bag-in-a-box wines in the past have had a nasty reputation. But new premium boxed wines that are driving growth in this category and changing consumer perceptions.
- Plus boxed wine is one of the best ways to preserve wine because as you pour wine out, the bag shrinks and creates an airtight seal. Boxed wine can stay fresh for up to 6 weeks after you open it, unlike a bottle of wine, which is usually best consumed within a day or two.
- However, these wines usually aren’t meant to age, even if unopened. They’re best enjoyed within six months of purchase and often they’ll have a best before date on them.
- I think we all need to get over our hang-ups about boxed wine being plonk. It’s a great way to go with a larger party.
- I’ll give you an insider tip: If you don’t want a box on the table, pour the wine into a fancy decanter.
So how much wine are we getting in these boxes?
- A three-litre box is the equivalent of four regular 750 ml bottles. When you multiply the price of one bottle of the same wine times 4, you usually are paying more by the bottle than the box.
- Plus there’s a lot less packaging. A three-litre box has just one box and one bag. The same amount of wine would have four bottles, four corks and four labels.
- As a result, boxed wines have about half the carbon footprint of bottled wines, and their packaging is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
What do you have for us to try?
I have the Folonari Pinot Grigio, crisp, fresh Italian wine has tasty flavours of white peach and lime zest.
Folonari Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC 3L
Delle Venezie D.O.C., Italy
I also have a full-bodied Cabernet Merlot blend from Gretzky Estates in Niagara that I’d like you to taste. It has aromas of fleshy ripe dark berries, plums and smoke.
Wayne Gretzky Estates Cabernet Merlot 3L
Our final trend is canned wine. Why do you love wine in a can?
- In addition to how light cans are compared to glass, people also like the idea of portion control and not having to open an entire bottle.
- Cans have two advantages over Tetra Paks: They stay colder longer due to the metal, and they can contain sparkling wines, whereas Tetra Paks cannot have carbonated drinks, only still wines.
- There’s a protective BPA-free PET lining (thermoplastic polymer resin) that sits between the wine and the can that preserves freshness and flavour, and it also provides a cushion if you drop it.
- Canned wines, along with wine spritzers and wine-based cocktails, are the category’s answer to canned hard selzers that are taking over the market.
Tell us about the cans you’ve brought for us to try.
This is a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from California from Sterling Vineyards with aromas of cassis and toasty oak. It may not look like it, but this sleek little number is actually 375ml, the equivalent of a half bottle of wine. So be sure you read the label for the actual amount of wine you’re getting.
Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
California United States
We also have a summery, off-dry Moscato from Barefoot in California that I’m going to get you to try. This 250ml or about 8.5 ounces, for those who like a heavy pour in their glass versus the standard 5 ounces. It has aromas of honeydew, melon and peach.
Barefoot Moscato Spritzer
California, United States
Natalie, thank you for sharing these wonderful on-the-go wines! Cheers everybody!