Stacks, cans, boxes free up wine to go

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - LORRI HAM­BUCHEN Lorri Ham­buchen is a mem­ber of Lon­don’s In­sti­tute of Wines and Spir­its. Con­tact her at the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Lit­tle Rock, Ark. 72203, or email: un­corked@thewine­cen­ter.com

Sum­mer has a way of slow­ing down our busy days, mak­ing us get out and en­joy the sun­shine. But en­joy­ing wine away from the con­ve­niences of home can pose a dilemma. Glass is gen­er­ally pro­hib­ited, but even where it isn’t, say a lake house or beach rental, we are still faced with lug­ging around the bot- tle of wine, re­mem­ber­ing to bring a corkscrew and deal­ing with frag­ile glass­ware.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo wine. There are more op­tions than ever be­fore when it comes to travel and out­door friendly wines.

STACKS

Stacked sin­gle wines are new to our mar­ket and just in time for sum­mer. In­stead of pack­ing a full bot­tle of wine and the glass­ware in your pic­nic bas­ket you can have it all in one sim­ple stack. The stack wines are a four pack of stem­less shat­ter­proof glasses of wine (187 mL each), shrink sealed to­gether in a tower. Just snap the glasses apart, peel off the foil seal and your wine is ready to be served. No corkscrew in­volved and no need for glass­ware.

2017 Wood­bridge by Robert Mon­davi Chardonnay Stacked Sin­gles, Cal­i­for­nia (about $9 re­tail for stack of 4)

CANS

Canned wines may be the most un­der­rated of my out­door rec­om­men­da­tions. Con­sid­er­ing many wine drinkers are just now warm­ing up to the idea of qual­ity wine with screw tops, there has been some re­sis­tance to canned wine. This type of clo­sure of­fers many sum­mer ben­e­fits of be­ing able to stay cold in cool­ers along­side other bev­er­ages, no corkscrew is needed, it’s light­weight for pack­ing and the cans are easily re­cy­clable. I think many con­sumers are con­cerned about taste. Over the past few weeks I ex­per­i­mented to see if my friends could taste a dif­fer­ence from what they would con­sider a nice, re­fresh­ing, in­ex­pen­sive, chilled pinot gri­gio. I poured the can into a wine glass. The con­clu­sion: Not one said a neg­a­tive com­ment about the qual­ity of the wine and, more im­por­tantly, they were shocked when I showed them the can. The only down­side is once a can is opened, it can’t be re­sealed.

2017 Un­der­wood Pinot Gri­gio, Ore­gon (about $7 re­tail for a 375 mL can)

BOXES

Boxes rank among my fa­vorites not only for con­ve­nience, but also their eco-friend­li­ness. Most of us are fa­mil­iar with the 3-liter box that fits snugly in a re­frig­er­a­tor but more winer­ies are also in­tro­duc­ing the “mini” 500 mL Tetra Paks. Most Tetra Pak car­tons are made from re­new­able, low car­bon raw ma­te­ri­als — pri­mar­ily pa­per­board made from wood — that re­quire less en­ergy to pro­duce than tra­di­tional glass bot­tles.

This is a good op­tion for sum­mer for many rea­sons: no glass, light weight for pic­nics and camp­ing and a plas­tic clo­sure that can be screwed back on. The draw­back of th­ese smaller boxes is, un­like their 3-liter coun­ter­parts, they don’t stay air­tight for weeks.

2017 Black Box Pinot Gri­gio, Cal­i­for­nia (about $5 for a 500 mL box)

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