Back to the future with wine pouches

Tue Jun 7, 2011 6:03am EDT
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The quest for the perfect wine container has been going on since the Stone Age when our ancestors drank naturally fermented grapes from animal-skin pouches.

They are now back in vogue in the United States where at least three U.S. wineries are offering wines in high tech foil pouches that resemble children's fruit drinks -- only for adults.

Glenora Winery in New York and the Clif Family Winery and Farm in California's Napa Valley use the pouches for wines from their vineyards, while Indulge, a start-up based in Santa Barbara, California is selling its wines, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes sourced from growers in California, in the containers.

"We use it for our Riesling and Chardonnay. It's the same wine as you'll find in the bottles and it's really good quality," said Glenora's winemaker Steve DiFrancesco, adding the pouches flew off shelves when they appeared last summer.

The pouches, made in South Africa by AstraPouch, take half as long to chill as a bottle, weigh much less, and will keep the 1.5 liters, the equivalent of two regular-size bottles, of wine they contain fresh for a month after they've been open, DiFrancesco said.

Clif, which also produces the energy snack of the same name, put a karabiner, or metal loop, on the pouch and added it to its line of Climber wines, which include California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, organic wines also available in bottles

"It's easy to pack in and pack out. It rolls into this tiny ball," said Linzi Gay, the winery's general manager. "It's the perfect way to take wine into the woods to go camping or hiking."

Indulge winery's owner Pierre LaBarge said its 2009 Pinot Noir and its 2009 Sauvignon Blanc are the first vintage it is selling in the pouches.   Continued...