3 Cheers For Tablas!

In 1995, Plumpjack Winery made an incredibly ballsy move to bottle their reserve cabernet (which today retails for around $300) under a screw cap - and charge more for it. It was an environmental statement intended to get people's attention.

Nearly 13 years ago, this review of a boxed chardonnay described the packaging as "...what is quite possibly the future of non-premium wine packaging." 

Since then I've had the pleasure of reviewing some surprisingly good wines packaged in box, most particularly the Natural Origins wines produced by the Argentinian masters at Domain Bousquet.

And as the pandemic was settling in for its first summer, I wondered whether the conditions were right to usher in a new era of wine packaging.

Looking back on that review from 2010, the proclamation of boxes as the future of packaging now seems naïve. Things definitely have changed, but it's not like there's more - or even equal - square footage dedicated to box wines versus glass bottles in retail stores. The reality is that it will still be some years before the tide really changes, but this week another brave winery has nudged things in the right direction.

Tablas Creek, the Paso Robles winery that made such a terrific impression back in 2013, announced via Twitter on Monday that it would be packaging some of its 2021 rosé (normally $28/bottle) in 3L boxes. From their Twitter account:

"...It seems to us like it's worth finding out if people will buy a high-end wine in a box. So we've decided to divert 100 cases of the 2021 Patelin de Tablas Rosé into 300 3L bag-in-box packages. Patelin Rose seems like the place to start since it's a near-term drinker anyway. Since we're paying less for the packaging, we'll pass along that savings to customers, pricing each box at $95 instead of the $112 that the four bottles would cost. Because it weighs less we can pass on shipping savings too, counting each box as two bottles rather than four..."

Members of the sustainability ecosystem at Tablas Creek

There is so much to applaud here, not the least of which is that they are passing the savings on to their customers. Bravo!!

For more details on this, with all sorts of nerdy/cool background on sustainable business practices, check out Jason Haas' fantastic blog. I, for one, will definitely be buying more Tablas Creek in 2022 than before.