I’m all for recycling. It’s quite amazing to see how many glass wine bottles go into my recycle bin each week. But should I instead fetch myself a box of Franzia and pretend to act serious with my pour-swirl-sniff-swish routine (see my previous post, Bad wine, maybe, but good camp shower)?
Similarly to the screwcap idea (see my December 2005 posts, Tainted Love and More Screwy Stuff), I’m trying hard to get beyond the “bottom shelf” concept – the notion that a wine’s container, when sealed with a screwcap or packaged in a large jug or box with a mylar bladder, should suggest that the quality of the wine within will be sub-par.
Yet as wine slowly becomes part of American day-to-day life rather than a special-occasion affair, grass-roots acceptance, say some, is growing for boxed wines — or, a la spin-speak (a.k.a. “you gotta be kidding me, right?”), quality cask wines.
Here’s how it works, courtesy of the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
A wine box’s inner bag is made of several layers of clear plastic film to which a spigot or tap is attached. After the bag is filled (the box is used only for stability and shelf presentation), the wine is in a sterile and nearly anaerobic environment. Oxygen doesn’t enter the bag through use; the bag simply collapses as it empties, so if the wine is consumed within a month or so, the wine poured into the last glass should be in the same condition as the first wine poured.
However, since the bag and the tap are not utterly impervious to oxygen, small amounts will enter the wine over time, causing the quality to eventually deteriorate.
But a month sure beats mere days when compared to a cork!
They say that full-scale acceptance of boxed wines is inevitable in America, as it’s already proven to be in Australia. The box revolution supposedly will dramatically change the way we buy and drink our wine, making it less expensive, more accessible, and less mysterious, thereby causing consumption to increase.
Could there be a “Great Democratization Of Wine” ahead of us? I don’t know – the jury is still out (and likely guzzling wine from a bottle). Despite the prospects of value pricing and wine longevity, the whole idea of drinking wine from a box still kinda makes me feel unclean somehow – recycling notwithstanding.
I think I’ll go take a shower.