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November 23, 2009

Wine boxes grow up?

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I’m not a big wine drinker. I like a glass now and then, but rarely more than two. And the others in my household drink wine even less often. And that presents us with a problem. Drinking a whole bottle before it goes off. I can make myself drink a bottle in two days, but would much prefer to take longer. But even my unsophisticated palate can tell that by then the wine is no longer at its best. The solution to that has always seemed like a wine box, which should let the wine keep for a bit longer since it isn’t exposed to the air when you pour, but wine boxes always seem to contain wine people often describe as “plonk”. Again, even my unsophisticated palate tends to prefer something a little more upmarket.

A few weeks ago I found out about FRESHCASE – a new style of wine box with a better quality of wine inside. Even better, I was given the opportunity to try one out. Better still, when the delivery arrived there were two in the box, one red and one white.

Before I go on, I should point out that I didn’t pay for these, and unlike the mobile phones I occasionally review here I didn’t have to give the wine back afterwards:-) These boxes sell for £17.99 each, for a box containing the equivalent of 3 bottles. Tesco currently sell the same wine for £7.25 a bottle, so that’s the first benefit.

As you’d expect, as soon as the delivery arrived I opened and tried both boxes. The wine is as good as any other at that price point. Not exceptional, to be fair, but that’s not the point. As it turns out, I was almost immediately struck down by a cold/flu thing that kept be off work for a while and off wine for a while longer. Both boxes sat around untouched for a couple of weeks, and I’m still drinking my way through them now, four weeks later. Both red and white have survived pretty well so far. The white, of course, is being kept in the fridge which I’m sure helps it. The red isn’t, and still tastes fine to me. I expect both will be gone by the end of this week, five weeks or so after opening.

So, three bottles of wine in a box that lets it keep for at least 5 weeks – 6 according to the blurb on the box. That suits me perfectly. I can have a box lying around the house and just have a glass when I feel the urge, without worrying about having to finish off the rest of the bottle. Perfect.

That’s the main attraction for me, but isn’t the only benefit to wine boxes in general and the FreshCase in particular. The three bottle equivalents in one of these boxes take up very little more space than a single glass bottle, reducing transport costs, etc. And the boxes are designed to pull apart to make recyling the various pieces easier.

These are supposed to be in Sainsburys stores from last week. I didn’t see any in my local Sainsburys at the weekend, but that’s the place to look for them.

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