Adventure-friendly wine in cans, packs, and boxes.

Who doesn’t love sipping a refreshing glass of wine while staring at a gorgeous alpine vista? The problem is lugging that heavy, breakable bottle (and the glasses) up the mountain — or out to the hot tub.

For the past 300 years, the glass bottle has proved to be the best vessel for packaging and aging wine. But times are changing and slopeside sipping is getting easier, lighter, and less conventional. With a growing market of outdoor enthusiasts clamoring for onthe-go and single-serve options, producers are now offering wines in adventure-friendly, sustainable packaging that makes them ideal for outdoor occasions, whether on the mountain or back in the hot tub at your ski home.

Don’t let the can, box, or Tetra Pak put you off. While glass is ideal for age-worthy wines, most wines are meant to be drunk young. An estimated 90 percent of the wine purchased in the U.S. is consumed within 24 hours of buying. Additionally, while glass is 100 percent recyclable, its carbon footprint is heavier than these alternative options. Plus, lighter packaging makes the wine simple to transport, enjoy, and pack out easily. No need to worry about heavy bottles, breakage, or corkscrews. With cans and small Tetra Paks, you don’t even need a glass.

But what about the quality of the juice? An increasing number of reputable wine producers are making deliciously quaffable wines in alternative packaging. While living in France, natural wine importer Jenny Lefcourt was inspired to create a boxed wine called From the Tank. In addition to getting four bottles of wine in one lightweight box, the vacuum-sealed bag-in-box technology preserves the wine for up to a month once opened, whereas an open bottle of wine is only good for a day or two.

Lefcourt likes to bring good wine wherever she goes, especially on ski weekends with friends and family. “This winter when my daughter got her first ski lesson,” she says, “we brought From the Tank with us and served it in cups to the grown-ups who were hanging out during the lesson.”

Alicia Ysais, winemaker for the award-winning Bota Box, explains that the Bota bag-in-box was inspired by the original Spanish bota, leather bags used by the ancient vintners of Rioja to transport wine. “Bota bags gained global popularity in the ‘60s and ‘70s with skiers, outdoor enthusiasts, and the early eco-conscious,” she says, adding that people are much more accepting of alternative packaging these days. “They recognize that the wine in these packages is high quality and convenient.”

Ryan Harms is the winemaker and owner of Oregon-based Union Wine Company, located west of Mt. Hood. He launched his Underwood wines in cans because he wanted to create a product that embodied the culture of great craft wine minus the fuss. “You can’t easily sniff or swirl wine in a can,” he says. “It forces you to just drink it and enjoy it without over-thinking the activity.”

When it comes to the craft of winemaking, Harms points out that quality is not necessarily tied to traditional concepts of sophistication. As he says, “We’re at the forefront of a new trend: the beerfication of wine.”

Nighthawk Black

by Bota Box

MANTECA, California

$20 (3L Boxes); $5 (500 ML tetra pak)

Juicy, full-bodied red grape blend with jammy blackberry, cherry, and raspberry flavors. Long fi nish with additional caramel and vanilla notes.

Please follow and like us:
error