To bottle or to box

I’ve recently had the opportunity to experiment with packaging my wine in box format.

imageWhen this was first suggested to me my reaction was amusingly shocked. ‘My wine is too good for that’ was what I’m sure I thought although didn’t say. However, the suggestion came from 2 highly reputable London clients and the first, Hamish Anderson, the food and drinks buyer from the Tate was convincingly persusive.

30% less transport and packaging cost and less breakages in transport. That’s quite an argument. But what about quality? Well the wine can keep for 10 days once opened and the shelf life is at least a year according to the tests that Anderson had carried out. He had also compared wine in boxes stored in cellar conditions with that stored in a hot restaurant.

But what about the perception? This is indeed the issue. There is a lot of bad wine out there in larger box format and there is a perception that anything in a box is cheap. So putting a decent wine in a box needed careful thought about packaging and presentation.

we came up with the idea of using the style of an IPhone box: more rigid and sleeker than a traditional box,  and the extra space available in the packaging allowed us to feature some high quality art reproduction. A fantastic medium to combine 2 of my loves: wine and art. I just need to now work out how to integrate the 3rd passion: music.

The Bordealise have thought that I’m mad to do this and resistance has been typically robust at any new idea. However, during bottling I was surrounded by a group of more traditional makers all looking and feeling the result with almost heart warming appreciation. “Maybe you have something here Mark”

The result of our labors is now out there so it is now up to the clients and customers to decide whether or not this is an acceptable way of packaging a decent Bordeaux red. Im quietly confident that the UK public will be interested and responsive to buying wine in this format. Certainly, initial corporate customers are immediately persuaded with the cost savings and environmental argument.

Having now gone through the experience, I am keen to develop this further. I would not use this format for every wine; particularly wines that are destined to mature and age. The traditional bottle (preferable magnum) is still the best format for this. However, for drinking wines I’m impressed.

Mark: www.chateaucivrac.com

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