Off the Vine: Put your box in a Bag

June 27, 2012 

"Box wine" -- as it has come to be called -- was first introduced in Australia in the mid-1960s. Although these box wines ultimately became popular throughout Australia and even in some parts of Europe, many people in the United States consider wines that are sold in a box to be inferior to those sold in glass bottles.

That sentiment has changed over the past decade, mainly because there are many decent wines that are available in this type of alternative packaging.

There are many different types and sizes of box wines that are available, some of which seem to be cumbersome to use. One product, the Bag O' Wine insulated carrier, proves that box wine doesn't necessarily have to stay inside the cardboard box to be enjoyed. In fact, the Bag O' Wine makes it easy to drink box wine on a boat, tailgating at sporting events or anywhere else on the go. The insulated wine bag is designed for 3-liter and 5-liter boxed wines.

In putting the Bag O' Wine to the test, I chose the 2010 Herding Cats Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend from South Africa that is part of the Underdog Wine Merchants portfolio. Herding Cats is available in both a 3-liter box as well as in 750ml bottles. The 3-liter box is called the Octavin Home Wine Bar, which as the name implies in an eight-sided wine container. The Octavin Home Wine Bar consists of a plastic bag containing wine that is placed inside of a cardboard box.

After several hours in the refrigerator, the Herding Cats Octavin cardboard box was carefully opened and the plastic bag was placed

in the Bag O' Wine and after aligning the wine tap with the carrier tap opening, it was ready to be tested. As promised, the Bag O' Wine carrier kept the wine at the proper drinking temperature for several hours, even outdoors on a 90-degree Florida day. Actually, the carrier is large enough to hold a backup 3-liter plastic bag for those occasions when there is a large group of people.

A 3-liter box is equal to four regular 750ml bottles, yet typically doesn't cost four times as much. Compare the price between a single bottle of the Herding Cats that sells for $9 to the 3-liter priced at $20, which is equivalent to $5 a bottle.

A 3-liter package should provide about 20 glasses of wine consisting of 5 ounces each.

Another advantage of the Bag O' Wine carrier is that when you're out for a relaxing boat cruise along the intracoastal waterway, you don't have to worry about your wine bottle breaking as the bow of the boat slams into a large wake from one of those weekend warriors who own a 35-footer with three engines and think they own the water.

Find more information on Bag O'Wine at www.bagowinecarrier.com.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at jimrawe@gmail.com.

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