Various Packaging News

Friday, February 26, 2021

This week we have an update on the latest in wine packaging.

YANKEE PENFOLDS:  Penfolds has just released its first American wines, labelled as the “California Collection”.  Sticking with its famous Bin names, the range consists of:

Bin 600 – a Cabernet Shiraz blend at US$50 per bottle

Bin 704 – Cabernet Sauvignon at US$70

Bin 149 – another Cabernet Sauvignon at US$149, with a splash of Aussie Cabernet in it.

Bin 98 Quantum – their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon at US$700, with a splash of Aussie Shiraz in it.

The first release of these wines are all from the 2018 vintage, and the latter two wines carry the “WINE OF THE WORLD” tag on them.

PORTUGUESE CASKS (BAG in BOX):  Next we go to Portugal, where venerated Port house, Symington, have just released their “Altano Rewilding” range which is aimed at “rewilding” abandoned/marginal scrub areas around/near their vineyards and includes the release of their first ever casks wines.

They have released a 2.25 litre (3 bottles) premium wine cask and are touting its convenience, a 20% saving on the 750mL bottles, fully recyclable and the story of the project on the packaging.

“Rewilding Portugal” is a project that aims to restore natural processes and 120,000 hectares of wildlife corridors in Northern Portugal.

COCA-COLA: Is about to launch its first paper bottle in Hungary with its AdeZ plant based soft drink (non-dairy based smoothie). The initial trial run will be of 2,000 x 250mL bottles, with a much bigger roll out expected to follow. This bottle consists of a paper outer and a PET film liner to prevent the liquid affecting the paper outer. Their aim is to eventually have the whole bottle made from sustainably sourced timber with a vegetable based liner thus making the bottle 100% recyclable. It will be interesting to see what level of acceptance these bottles receive from consumers.

CANS:  The march of wine cans continues to gain pace in many countries with rapidly rising sales figures and an increasing number of wines being offered in cans, with the USA leading the way. Here in Australia we are lagging behind, with most of the wines released by the larger corporations being fizzy, lightweight wines rather than serious quality wines. One company bucking that trend is, Riot Wines, who apart from having a fizzy Rosé also have some serious wines in a can, including their superb McLaren Vale Grenache.

CASKS:  Whilst Australia has pretty much walked away from casks other than four or five 2.0L producers, other parts of the world, especially Scandinavian countries, are embracing the concept wholeheartedly. Today in Sweden more around 30% of all wine sold is in 1.0L and 2.0L casks, with the proportion steadily rising.

FLAT BOTTLES:  As I have mentioned several times before, Garcon Wines, has created a very practical “flat” wine bottle that occupies significantly less space than conventional bottles. So much so that they fit a ten pack of their 750mL bottles into the same space as a normal six-pack.

Well that’s it for another week. Have a great week, enjoy fabulous wines and remember to #chooseaustralianwine


This Week's Wine Review:

In the over 350 weekly wine reviews I have done since I first started my weekly wine blog, I have never reviewed cask wine as the “Wine of the Week”. I have reviewed young wines, old wines, rare and unique wines, even a canned wine from the Riot Wine Company, but never a cask. Well that changes today as I am reviewing two excellent cask wines.

CALABRIA FAMILY WINES from Griffith have been making excellent wines for a long time, especially under their Three Bridges label and in particular, their Three Bridges Durif which is an absolute cracker of a wine. They are also the only (to my knowledge) producer of a varietal Saint Macaire wine in the world – another stonkingly good wine. Saint Macaire is an old Bordeaux variety named after the local village, which has virtually disappeared in its native France. CALABRIA now having the largest single planting in the world.

Recently, I received two samples of their latest offering, their new ‘BANTA BOX’ 2.0 litre emerging variety casks. The wines were a Pinot Grigio and a Montepulciano (Note: a Nero d’Avola being launched later this year).

Apart from the convenience of their 2.0L packaging, the wine is packaged in fully recyclable casks. Also these wines have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than if they were bottled in glass, not only in the energy required to make the glass, but also in the freight carbon footprint due to the fact that each cask weighs less than half of what three glass bottles of wine would. Another positive note is that these wines are 100% vegan friendly.

Okay, that is great but the overriding consideration is the taste.

BANTA BOX PINOT GRIGIO N/V:  This wine has vibrant, citrus led fruity aromas on the bouquet, crisp, bright citrus flavours on the palate, is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of acidity and has a delightfully refreshing finish. All in all a brilliant, everyday drinking white wine – just open the cask, tuck it in the fridge and it will be ready and waiting for you when you need/want a glass of very pleasant, attractive white wine.

BANTA BOX MONTEPULCIANO N/V:  Quite possibly the world’s first Monte in a cask? This wine has a deep, bright purple colour (very attractive), has subtle aromas of red berries, dried herbs and a hint of earthiness on the bouquet. The palate has stacks of lovely flavours, is smooth, rich and round with a tight, slightly grippy finish that lingers delightfully. It is easier to drink on its own than most young Montes which are typically too acidic/tannic to be enjoyed without food, until they mellow out with a fair degree of aging. This Monte is raring to go with food or solo – enjoy it now!

These are a couple of cracking ready to drink wines that well and truly earn a place in the drinking repertoire of non-snobby wine drinkers.

Winery Link:

Until next week, enjoy good wine and stay safe. Oh, and remember to #chooseaustralianwine.