Two of my favorite California wineries made announcements this past week that should help push the needle further on alternative packaging for wine. On February 1, Morgan Twain-Peterson, co-owner of Bedrock Wine Co., announced on Instagram that Bedrock was releasing some of its 2022 rosé, called Ode to Lulu, in bag-in-box format.
“Environmental costs associated with glass bottles represent nearly 50% of the wine industry’s carbon footprint, according to several industry audits,” Twain-Peterson wrote. “Bag-in-Box (BiB) represents a nearly 80% reduction in overall carbon footprint due to less weight, recyclable materials (the lining, though plastic, is made from predominately post-recyclable material and is recyclable, as is the box itself), and ease of shipping.”
He also said the format is “perfect for wines made for nearer-term drinking and will remain fresher when tapped than a bottle once opened,” and perfect for occasions when a single glass is called for rather than a whole bottle. And, he adds, “I never got to play ‘slap the bag’ in college.”
The 2022 Ode to Lulu in 3-liter box format is a trial, and will be in distribution in the California and New York markets, and available at Bedrock’s tasting room in Sonoma. Let’s hope the trial is successful and the wine will be easier to find in future vintages.
Morgan credited Tablas Creek winery in Paso Robles for the inspiration. Tablas Creek trialed its rosé in BiB last year, on the heels of Really Good Boxed Wine demonstrating that high quality wine can succeed in this format.
The same day as Bedrock’s announcement, Tablas Creek general manager Jason Haas announced on Instagram and on the winery’s blog that Tablas had switched to kegs for most of the wines it will serve in its tasting room.
Tablas has been kegging wines since 2013. Kegs accounted for 12% of the volume Tablas sold last year, totaling 640 kegs sold to restaurants and wine bars. Using kegs for the tasting room should save about 9,000 bottles, which were “sourced, shipped to us, filled, closed, labeled, opened, poured, and recycled within a year,” Jason wrote. The winery purchased its own kegs and kegging system for the tasting room, rather than going through a third-party service as it does for wholesale kegs.
Advantages will be freshness for customers, less cost and waste for the winery, and of course lower carbon footprint for the environment.
“What’s the most useless glass bottle?” Jason asked in the title of his blog post. “One that never leaves the winery.”
This makes so much sense, I hope other wineries follow suit and make the investment for kegs in their tasting rooms. It could help boost consumer awareness and demand for kegs in more restaurants and wine bars. At the very least, these announcements by Bedrock Wine Co. and Tablas Creek represent another step toward social responsibility and sustainability for the environment. We as consumers should support them.
What do you think about better wines in boxes and kegs? Tell me in the comments.
Postscript: If you haven’t discovered the Tablas Creek blog, I highly recommend it. Jason Haas is the most eloquent thinker and writer on sustainability issues facing the wine industry. His posts are well worth the read.
Excellent ideas. The more high-quality wines that go this route, the better for the industry and consumers. I’ve had that rosé and it’s excellent.
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