I love the concept of wine to go (aka, wine with you all the time!). Half bottles are perfect movie theater wine (particularly with a screw top and a straw) and I quickly latched on to the idea of carrying wine in plastic water pouches (sometimes difficult to fill, but amazingly handy).
For the last couple of years, winemakers have been on and testing out new, easily portable (and sometimes single serving) wines in easily recyclable containers. Jackpot! Other than portability, these wines benefit from cheaper packaging and shipping (a Tetra Pak costs less than a cork!) so you are paying for wine, not packaging. Some ideas for next time you are looking for easy picnic wine…
WINE IN CANS
While it may seem a little counter-intuitive to buy wine in a 6 pack – why not. Easy to carry, easy to chill and easy to open!
- 2014 Fiction Red ($40 for 4 500ml cans) – Produced by Field Recordings, a blend of Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Touriga Nacional (a grape I’ve never seen!), Mourvedre and Cinsault. I’m sure this is delicious! You can also get Pinot Gris and a Rosé blend. http://fieldrecordingswine.com/shop/
- Alloy Rose (500ml cans – prices vary from about $7.59) – produced by the same producer as Fiction.
- Underwood – Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Rosé (500ml cans, about $6 a can. http://shop.unionwinecompany.com
- Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blancs (375 ml cans, about $5 a can). Sparkling wine! A blend of Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat – packaged in little cans with straws. You’ve probably had this on a bus to a wedding! Widely available in supermarkets.
- The Infinite Monkey (500ml cans, 4 for $15) lightly carbonated wine in a can, produced in Denver with Colorado grapes. All new to me and I’m super excited to try it! Moscat, Red, White and Rose. http://www.theinfinitemonkeytheorem.com/shop
- Flasq wine comes in fancy cans (500ml cans, prices vary from about $6-$10) – Produced in Napa Valley. Merlot, Chardonnay and Cuvée Blanc (a slightly effervescent blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Muscat). http://flasqwines.com/index.php/en/great-wine
WINE IN BOXES
Boxed wine has come a long way since Franzia (goodbye college wine!). While some boxes may be too big to be portable – this is a great way to have wine you love available all the time. Most 3L boxes have dispensers and bags that prevent oxygen from getting in so wine lasts a long time after it is opened. That being said, 3L is a lot of wine – 3-5L so you better like it! Smaller boxes or “tetra paks” are the opposite and oxidize like a bottle of wine after opened – check out the packaging date on the box – Tetra Pak wine tends to oxidize in about 24 months. Options:
- Bandit available in 3 liter (about $17), 1.5l (about $11) or 500ml sizes (about ) – Pinot Grigio (award winning), Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet and red wine blend. Widely available in supermarkets. http://banditwines.com
- Bodegas Osborne Seven Red Wine. Blend of 7 varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. About $20 for 3l. Find using http://www.wine-searcher.com
- Bota Box – 15 different wines sold in 3L (about $17), 1.5L (about $10) or 500 ml (about $6) sizes. Wine Enthusiast has tasted all varieties and posted tasting notes. http://buyingguide.winemag.com/wineries/bota-box. Bota Box shows up on many “top ten boxed wine lists” – most frequent appearances by Old Vine Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio. Widely available in supermarkets.
- Fish Eye wines – produces a wide variety of 3L bottles – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Pinot Grigio often ranked in the top 10 of boxed wines. Sold in boutique grocery stores for about $16 a box – for locations near you http://www.fisheyewines.com.
- From The Tank boxed wine produced by a cooperative of growers in the south of France. Vin Rouge (blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan), Vin Gris (Chardonnay) and Rosé (blend of Cinsault, Grenache Noir and Syrah). Prices vary from about $22 to about $40. Find using http://www.wine-searcher.com.
- Wineberry – high-ish price point wine packaged in a pretty wood box – about $39-$50 a box (at $50, about $12.50 a bottle). Several options including Domaine de Garrigon Cotes du Rhone (Grenache, Carignan and Syrah); Chateau Moulin de la Roquille Côtes de Franc, Chateau Tassin Bordeaux Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc and) Semillon and Chateau Tassin Rosé.
- Yellow+Blue –an all-organic producer that buys wines from all over the world and packages them in Tetra paks –including Monastrell (a Spanish red that I’ve never seen), Malbec (Argentina), Red blend (CA – Santa Barbara), Chardonnay (CA – Lodi), Sauvignon Blanc (CA – Mendocino) and Rosé (Spain). Malbec frequently recommended. Available at Whole Foods and similar grocery stores.
- Other Boxed Wines that showed up frequently on top 10 lists – Big House Winery Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel, Black Box (lots of awards, varying reviews), French Rabbit Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Fuoristrada Sangiovese, Grillo and Cotes du Rhône La Petit Frog Picpoul de Pinot, Hardy Shiraz and Vinium Chardonnay.
WINE IN BAGS
Some wineries are ditching the outer box shell entirely and selling wine in bags. Obviously incredibly portable.
- Bonfire produces red (Petite Sirah and Grenache) and white blends (Muscat and Gewurtztraminer). 1.5L pouches, about $15 each. http://www.drinkbonfire.com
- Clif Family Winery – Astropouch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. 1.5l about $20.
- Nuvino wine is curated wine from all over the world sold in single serving pouches (pocket wine?!). Sauvignon Blanc (Chilé), Chardonnay (South Africa), Red Blend (Australia) and Malbec (Agentina). Pack of all 4 wines approximately $15.
My old favorite – half bottles (preferably with a screw top). Usually more expensive to produce than full bottles, so sometimes more expensive and also don’t age as well as bigger bottles. I just bought some half bottles of 2013 Meomi Pinot Noir at Cost Plus for $5 a bottle. What a deal.