Should the romance of opening wine under cork be prioritized over sustainable, alternative packaging for everyday drinking? It seems more producers and wine trade are embracing the shift.
Until recently, bag-in-the-box wine options were limited to large scale producers, filling the gaps in the market for the most affordable house wines, mainly with commercial blends. Even if the sustainably-conscious wine trade wanted to get behind this economical, practical and environmentally-friendly option, most boxes didn’t reflect the same ethos on the inside – until now…
Quality-focused producers like Catherine & Pierre Breton in Bourgeuil have taken the leap and are now releasing some of their most iconic wines in this format. A fairly risky and bold move that has been well received by the local crowd as well as a few brave importers. After all, wines like their bistro-style ‘Trinch’ Cabernet Franc are meant to be consumed soon after release or placed on the table without fuss (or how they like to say; “Sans Chichi!”).
This juicy red poured straight out of a tap, is everything you would expect from a classic, youthful Loire Valley Cabernet Franc – bright and fresh with a waft of sweet herbs and a burst of crunchy raspberries on the palate. It is made thoughtfully at every step of the way by following organic and biodynamic farming principles, harvesting and sorting grapes meticulously by hand as well as guiding the wine during the fermentation and cellaring process without the help of additives. Why stop there?
The lighter Bag-in-the-box has been proven to reduce carbon footprint significantly in its production and transport compared to its heavier glass counterpart. The same volume of wine in standard glass would on average weigh 1.2kg per 750ml, versus 0.8kg with this alternative. A small difference that would have a massive impact if adopted on a larger scale. The compact boxes also conveniently reduce the chance of breakage and are a much more efficient way to maximize space in shipping containers, making it an economical way to transport. In the province of British Columbia in Canada, the price per 750ml glass bottles of the same Catherine & Pierre Breton ‘Trinch’ 2020 vintage came in at $27.44 wholesale before tax, compared to the significantly lower price of $20.28 wholesale per 750ml of the 3L bag-in-the-box format. Ultimately offering much better value for the end consumer.
As most wines are consumed within hours of purchase and as the shift toward quality over quantity continues to grow, this could be a great alternative wine packaging to the more traditional glass bottle. With its practical collapsible bag design, the contact between oxygen and wine is very minimal, conveniently keeping wine fresher longer once opened, about 4 to 6 weeks. Now that quality-focused producers and importers are onboard, we all have a responsibility in changing our perception linking the heavier glass bottle to quality for wine when intended for early consumption. With its reduced environmental impact, affordability and practicality, it is only natural that the bag-in-the-box should be considered as a smart option going forward for all households, events and the hospitality sector.