January 7, 2016
Wine plays a pivotal role in our gourmet life. Sipping a glass of red or white wine with one hand and savouring food with the other hand has become a status symbol in India. The first fermented wine was born years ago and is believed to be the one made from honey, often referred as ‘mead’.
Initially, wines were stored in large clay containers called 'amphorae'. As years passed by, glass bottles and wooden casks replaced amphorae and were used extensively to store wine. But what about storing and selling wine in plastic bags? A concept first developed and introduced by late Australian winemaker, Thomas Angove. He might never have thought that his idea would one day gain so much of reputation among wine producers far and near. Nowadays, several wine makers prefer Angove’s method of packing as it is cheaper than the traditional way of packing wines.
The wines that are packaged in vacuum sealed bags and covered with a box made of corrugated fibreboard are termed as box wines. They come in two forms, TetraPak and Bag-in-a-Box (BIB), the major difference being the style of packing itself. TetraPak comes in carton style packaging with a tight cap which is removed before consumption. Though by looks it’s attractive, it comes with a disadvantage. Once the cap is opened, TetraPak wines start deteriorating since the wine comes into contact with the atmospheric oxygen. If opened and stored for prolonged time, it becomes unpalatable too. On the contrary, BIB wines can stay fresh for few weeks after they are opened. The box features a plastic air tight bag/bladder which collapses when it becomes empty thereby stopping the air from coming in contact with wine. These wines come in 3 (equivalent to four 750 ml glass bottles of wine) to 5 litre pack and are ideal for excursions and get together parties. Before dispensing, a hole is created on the perforated lines seen on the box. Finally, the spigot fixed to the bag is pulled out (opening the box can be difficult at times) for serving wine. Once purchased, BIB wines should be consumed within one year of its production.
Given below are a few advantages of box wines:
- Easy to transport
- Wine makers save much on the production cost as glass bottles tend to be expensive
- It consumes less energy to manufacture box wines
- The cardboard of box wine is recyclable
- No special wine equipment is needed for opening the box wine
- Wine faults are less compared to glass bottles
- After opening, the shelf life of a BIB wine is found to be better than that of a bottled wine
There is a drastic boom in the sales of BIB wines especially in countries like Australia, Italy and New Zealand. Here in India, though we are not new to this concept, so far no wineries have taken any steps in this style of packing wines. Examples of bag in the box wines include Hardys Chardonnay, Banrock Station Merlot and Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon, all wine brands from Australia.