03/13/2018

Beyond The Glass Bottle

While glass bottles still dominate the market as the most popular way to package wine, use of alternative vessels is on the rise, much like the use of alternatives to the wine cork. Learn what other vessels may be storing your wine:

Wine Cans

Taking a cue from beer culture, winemakers are increasingly putting their wine in cans. Great vessels for the beach or other locations where glass is prohibited, cans are typically half-bottle serving sizes of 375ml or single servings of 187ml. They're also an airtight, lightweight alternative to bottles that work well for wines consumed within their first year. Obviously, once the top is open it’s best to consume the entire container.

Wine Bags
Plastic bladders featuring spigots, either Bag-in-Box (BiB) or standalone, are another short-term solution for wine storage. Offering a similar airtight, lightweight quality as cans, wine bags are typically reserved for larger quantities, often holding 1.5 liters, two regular bottles' worth of wine. Unlike cans, however, which can’t be reclosed once opened, bagged wine's spigots may help prevent oxidation a day or two longer than a bottle recorked by hand would. The bag, being the lightest way to transport wine, is a great vessel for backpackers who enjoy a glass of vino around the campfire.

Wine Cartons

An aseptic container similar to a milk carton, there's an argument to be made that a wine carton is environmentally friendly as its main compound is paper, a renewable resource unlike glass. Lightweight and easy to stack and transport, cartons are getting attention from supermarket bulk buyers. Like other alternatives to glass, though, cartons are not suitable for wine that’s meant to be aged.

PET Wine Bottles
Lightweight and recyclable, PET allows more oxygen ingress than glass, giving the wine within a shorter life span. The cheap appearance of plastic bottles has kept many winemakers away, but the low cost means interest is rising.

Wine Kegs
Wine on tap is a great solution for bars, offering quick serving time and eliminating the risk of oxidation. For the average home drinker, however, the commitment of a kegerator and limitations of finding kegged-wine producers make this less optimal for most households.

While glass bottle alternatives offer an impressive range of solutions for wine meant to be consumed within a year of packaging, glass wine bottles stopped with natural or well-made synthetic corks remain the best way to age wine properly for years to come.