I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Matt Richman » Thu May 08, 2008 5:01 pm

This entire thread is like a plea for good wine to be sold in boxes. Boxed wine keeps fresh for a long time because within the box there is a plastic bag that contracts as the wine is removed, keeping harmful air out.

Having never bought boxed wine, I can only relay this information as conjecture not from personal experience.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robin Garr » Thu May 08, 2008 5:12 pm

Matt Richman wrote:Having never bought boxed wine, I can only relay this information as conjecture not from personal experience.

I've purchased box wine on occasion for the sake of science ... tasting it blind against wines in standard bottles to compare and contrast.

In my opinion, your point is valid but with limitations: First, the bag-in-box reduces air exposure but doesn't absolutely deter it, probably because the plastic allows some air transmission (would be my guess). I'd say the box is good for a month or six weeks in the fridge, but going longer is iffy.

The bigger problem, though, is that the box format is generally used for cheap, industrial wines below the standard most wine geeks would require. The Black Box brand from California is better than most (but also more expensive than most), and it's still competing against the Woodbridge level of generic, mass-produced wines. It would be interesting to see a manufacturer try putting higher-quality wine in box, but my guess is that it's a dubious commercial niche, at least unless they figure a way to market it that would overcome the downscale reputation of the genre. (Sort of like the prejudice that screw caps had to overcome before wine enthusiasts began accepting them.)
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Thomas » Thu May 08, 2008 5:37 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Matt Richman wrote:Having never bought boxed wine, I can only relay this information as conjecture not from personal experience.

I've purchased box wine on occasion for the sake of science ... tasting it blind against wines in standard bottles to compare and contrast.

In my opinion, your point is valid but with limitations: First, the bag-in-box reduces air exposure but doesn't absolutely deter it, probably because the plastic allows some air transmission (would be my guess). I'd say the box is good for a month or six weeks in the fridge, but going longer is iffy.

The bigger problem, though, is that the box format is generally used for cheap, industrial wines below the standard most wine geeks would require. The Black Box brand from California is better than most (but also more expensive than most), and it's still competing against the Woodbridge level of generic, mass-produced wines. It would be interesting to see a manufacturer try putting higher-quality wine in box, but my guess is that it's a dubious commercial niche, at least unless they figure a way to market it that would overcome the downscale reputation of the genre. (Sort of like the prejudice that screw caps had to overcome before wine enthusiasts began accepting them.)


Box wines with a little tarragon make for great marinades for meats headed to my smoker!
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Matt Richman » Thu May 08, 2008 5:43 pm

Exactly my point. Just as screwcaps are no longer looked down on, so it should be for boxes. Imagine if all wine intended for near term drinking came in boxes. Cardboard is lighter than glass, thus easier and cheaper to ship as well as produce (I think). No cork taint. Keeps for weeks instead of hours/days once opened. Easier to recycle. Keeps light away from the wine. They even come with carrying handles!
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu May 08, 2008 5:45 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Matt Richman wrote:The bigger problem, though, is that the box format is generally used for cheap, industrial wines below the standard most wine geeks would require. The Black Box brand from California is better than most (but also more expensive than most), and it's still competing against the Woodbridge level of generic, mass-produced wines. It would be interesting to see a manufacturer try putting higher-quality wine in box, but my guess is that it's a dubious commercial niche, at least unless they figure a way to market it that would overcome the downscale reputation of the genre. (Sort of like the prejudice that screw caps had to overcome before wine enthusiasts began accepting them.)


I was going to make that screwcap analogy until I saw your last sentence, Robin. Yes, there is that negative association, but, no, it's not immutable. As with screwcaps, it merely takes some initiative from wineries and some open-mindedness from consumers. Whereas the case for screwcaps was ready-made by cork taint (and the cork industry's lack of responsiveness to that problem), oxidation of opened bottles is a comparatively small problem, affecting mostly winegeeks. However, my friends in France tell me of very respectable Vin de Pays that is sold in 10 litre bag-in-boxes. If a retailer like Trader Joe's or Costco starts selling a low-cost, high quality wine in a box for e.g. $2.99 a litre, I wonder how much consumer resistance there will be then?

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robin Garr » Thu May 08, 2008 6:25 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:I was going to make that screwcap analogy until I saw your last sentence, Robin. Yes, there is that negative association, but, no, it's not immutable. As with screwcaps, it merely takes some initiative from wineries and some open-mindedness from consumers.

I don't think we're disagreeing at all, Mark. You're saying the exact thing I was trying to say, but maybe I didn't do it clearly.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Dale Williams » Thu May 08, 2008 6:42 pm

While I love trying different things and don't usually go for large formats, even I would love to see good wines in BiB. As they last months, I could buy a 3L and still have variety. I think Brocard was importing some 3L BiB of either their Jurassic or Kimmeridgean Bourgognes, but haven't heard of lately, so maybe they didn't sell. That and Black Box were only "premium" ones I've seen.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu May 08, 2008 6:51 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:I was going to make that screwcap analogy until I saw your last sentence, Robin. Yes, there is that negative association, but, no, it's not immutable. As with screwcaps, it merely takes some initiative from wineries and some open-mindedness from consumers.

I don't think we're disagreeing at all, Mark. You're saying the exact thing I was trying to say, but maybe I didn't do it clearly.


Well, Robin, since you were trained as a journalist, no one really expects you to have great writing skills. Now, if you'd just received a science degree, like moi... :P

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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Robin Garr » Thu May 08, 2008 7:12 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Well, Robin, since you were trained as a journalist, no one really expects you to have great writing skills.

Good point!

Now, if you'd just received a science degree, like moi... :P

D'oh!
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Mike Pollard » Fri May 09, 2008 2:18 pm

Matt Richman wrote:This entire thread is like a plea for good wine to be sold in boxes. Boxed wine keeps fresh for a long time because within the box there is a plastic bag that contracts as the wine is removed, keeping harmful air out.

Having never bought boxed wine, I can only relay this information as conjecture not from personal experience.


Wine in a box or cask has been sold in Australia since the mid-1960s. Supposedly invented by Angove's of South Australia. The amount of cask wine (or bag in a box or Chateau Cardboard) sold in Australia far exceeds any other format. The wines are OK. As Robin says you wouldn't want to devote your life to them. But my mother used to have cask of Fruity Lexia (a sweetish white)in the 'fridge that she would draw the odd glass from while watching TV at night, and my aunt does the same with a red after I told her a glass or two of wine has health benefits. I haven't taken much note of technical developments in terms of wine stability but I believe that the cask will keep the wine quite drinkable for more than several weeks, and the refective silver bladders are great for keeping birds off fruit trees; at least that was one of my mother's excuses for drinking cask wine.

Mike

EDIT: Angove's received a 16 year patent for the wine cask.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Michael Pronay » Sat May 10, 2008 4:43 am

FWIW, just my 2¢ to the topic of BiB.

Three years ago, in June 2005, Jean Guyon, owner of Château Rollan de By and producer of premium wine Haut Condissas, presented Rollan de By 2003 in pink Escada-designed boxes at Vinexpo ni Bordeaux. I asked him about the presumable ageing curve. Guyon: "The producer guarantees a shelf life of 15 months after filling, and 6 months after opening."

I have nothing against fine wines in BiB, but I do not see any future for vins de garde — it's definitely not screwcaps with a proven ageing curve of 40+ years for red (Mercurey test bottlings from Université de Dijon from the mid 1960s) and 35+ years for white (Penfold's rieslings from the early 1970s).
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Tim York » Sat May 10, 2008 9:31 am

Michael Pronay wrote:— it's definitely not screwcaps with a proven ageing curve of 40+ years for red (Mercurey test bottlings from Université de Dijon from the mid 1960s) and 35+ years for white (Penfold's rieslings from the early 1970s).


That is interesting information about a 40+ year ageing test of red Mercurey under screwcap by Dijon University. Have you got a link to the report on their findings? I am aware of some Australian anecdotal information on tests on reds but this is the first I have heard from an European university under presumably rigorous conditions. I have also heard reports that Haut-Brion has been doing experiments.

If the results are positive, it is curious that more energy is not being shown over here to market under screwcap even for wines with quite short life expectation.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Michael Pronay » Sat May 10, 2008 9:42 am

Sorry Tim, and it's only anecdotical in the sense that a bottle of Mercuerey 1966 from the University trials at the time apparently had survived and was tasted a few years back in the presence of Michel Laroche, the Chablis négociant. He stated that the wine was absolutely perfect and had evolved beautifully. It was this tasting experience that finally led him to switch to screwcaps for hin entire range (although not 100%, afaik). My source, iirc, was an article about screwcaps in the Revue du Vin de France something like two or three years ago.
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Alan Wolfe » Sat May 10, 2008 10:37 am

I purchased more-than-perfectly respectable BiB wine in a 10 liter bag at the Coop in Tain L'Hermitage in 1988 for 18FF/liter, about $3/liter at the time. There were 3 levels of quality, FF6, FF18 and FF20. I watched them fill the bag with a hand valve that looked exactly like the hand valve I used to fill the gas tank in my car. Someone is doing it, we just aren't getting it..
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Re: I have just been reading here that Vacu-Vin is

Postby Michael Pronay » Sat May 10, 2008 10:43 am

Back in the early 1970s, driving through the south of France (heading to the Sanfermines in Pamplona), we saw the price list of a coop, handwritten in chalk at the entry on a blackboard:

Vin de Pays 10° . . . 10 F
Vin de Pays 11° . . . 11 F
Vin de Pays 12° . . . 12 F

It somehow made very much sense ... :D
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