I love the personal attention you get when you walk into a small wine shop. You end up talking to very knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate people. That’s something you don’t really get when you shop at larger chain stores. I missed that for the last year or so, as I’ve been sent a lot of press samples and purchased my wine mainly from Trader Joe’s or Costco, which do provide good values, but do lack what I just described.
I just dropped into a store I’ve been meaning to visit for some time now in Alameda, Farmstead Cheeses and Wines. With a selection of more than 300 different wines and 150 different cheeses, you are bound to discover something you like. They carry everything from Sauternes and Assorted Vinegar’s to trophy wines and rare finds. With Craig’s help, I picked up a Pinot from Napa for $10 that normally sells for $37 in restaurants from a little known winery with virtually no distribution. Not bad.
Here’s to a first class wine purchasing experience.
Would you drink from a plastic bag? What if a piece of cardboard with pretty lettering was wrapped around it? Most people would answer no, but guess what? If you have ever purchased a fountain soda, you’ve done just that. That syrup concoction that gets mixed with carbonation just before being pumped out of a pretty plastic dispenser is a cheap and efficient way to hide the original packaging and deliver a product people pay for. Now what about in the wine world? We consume our wine out of pretty glass bottles, but there is a ton of weight tied up in that package, and a lot of waste. Is it possible to put the same quality product in a different container and get people to drink it? So far the answer is not really.
I was sent three press samples of the Octavin, a wine in a plastic bag stuffed inside a pretty cardboard box. I took one of these bad boys to a gathering and found something unsurprising: most people didn’t want to touch it. Wine from a glass bottle that was opened was gone before people could wipe off the blank stares on their faces while they gazed at the plastic twist spigot the Octavin uses for dispensing. As far as the wine itself goes, it wasn’t terrible. I would rate each (Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon) about 80-82 pts (B-). They’re comparable to most wines that sell for under $7 at your local retailer.
The convenience is there though. Each one stores the equivalent of 4 bottles (3 Liters) and isn’t much bigger than a single glass bottle. It’s also nice to have a container you can leave in the fridge and pour from when you want just a glass, or even 1/2 a cup for that recipe your trying.
Unfortunately, most wine lovers aren’t ready for this. Even if you could find your prized Bordeaux or Napa Cab in this, most wouldn’t want it; it’s all mental. I do think that a company like DeLoach, who is making a refillable wine barrel for restaurants with by the glass sales might be on to something. Plastic Eco bags are swapped out of a faux barrel that is purchased separately in its Barrel to Barrel program. Perhaps someone will take a tip from soda and beer producers and set up a tap system with multiple wines with a Oak barrel facade. Easy to store, refill, temperature control, and serve. The customer won’t care, just as long as he doesn’t really think about the plastic bag it came from. Seems to already be a winning concept.
Do you love wine? Do you love free wine? How about free wine and free food that also tastes good? I have available 2 free tickets for you and a friend to attend the “PS I Love You’s Dark & Delicious Event” in Alameda on Friday, February 18th from 6-9pm. The event will be showcasing petite syrah from 40 different wineries and serving food from 30 different producers. Normally, tickets are $63 each!
Dark and Delicious 2011
Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501-7509
February 18, 2011 6PM – 9PM
HOW TO ENTER
Simply add a comment to this post with your name and you will be entered. I will randomly select a winner next week.
One entry per person please. Open to U.S. residents only. The winner will be announced next week, randomly chosen posts from the comments section of this page! Click the photo below for more details.
Disclaimer: These tickets are being provided to me for free from the PR company putting on the event. Sure I could have taken them for myself, but what fun would that be? Maybe I’ll buy a couple tickets and join you!
After almost 8 years, I have decided that my Wine Blogging journey has come to an end. Thanks to all the readers, PR staff, and fellow wine bloggers that supported me through this journey. I have a few posts to finish up and will explain a bit more, but basically this forum has run it’s course in my life and I am ready to move on. I have valued the feedback I have received and thank you all for your support. Stay tuned for a few more posts with the most valuable wine lessons I’ve learned, tips for wine bloggers, and some final reviews and notes from recent tastings I have attended.