Forget wine in a box. Think Jack in a box

Tyler Colman of Dr. Vino has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times extolling the virtues of wine in a box.

I can’t argue with his argument. It’s cheaper to ship and once open the wine lasts longer. For the packaging to become more acceptable, he says, the wine has to become better.

It makes me think what would become of bottling lines? Expensive pieces of equipment that many would be loathe to assign to the landfill. Many wineries have just invested in bottling lines that employ screw caps. None of those will be willing to change over too soon.

But, the box would provide more room for some distinctive branding. Go to work graphic artists!

However, my first thought was “How do you serve boxed wine in a restaurant?”

For wine by the glass, it’s a no brainer. Already I look for wines with screw caps when buying wine to pour by the glass. The bartender is so busy, and anyone can open it. Not just someone with a wine opener who knows how to use it.

But to present something nice at the table?

The box would have to have a handle that makes the person holding it look elegant. And it would have to involve some sort of ceremony.

Already, however, the ceremony is getting a little tired. I present the bottle, name it and the vintage, the customer says “”uh huh” and then I grab the neck and twist off the cap. Do I put it on the table like a cork? Mostly, because I usually wear something without pockets. I pour a taste. If the customer is a little up on wine, we can joke “Ha, ha, it can’t be corked.” Fortunately, the general public doesn’t know what reduced is yet, or they’d be sniffing the screw cap.

The customer says, usually, “Oh that’s nice.” And then the wine drinking is underway.

But a box?

I’d present the box, naming the wine and the vintage. The customer cracks a joke about wine in a box. I smile, while expertly pulling off the plastic covering around the spigot and place it on the table. I then pull out the spigot and place the box on the edge of the table and place the customer’s glass under it. Some drips on the floor. I make light by saying something like “You have your own keg!” We all laugh. Ha ha. I then, one by one, take each diner’s glass and place it under the spigot filling it up pretty high because I want to repeat this routine as few times as possible.

At the end of the meal, the customer asks for the label because they enjoyed the wine so much, and I take out the scissors I have in the waiter’s station for this purpose and cut up the box saving the pertinent information.

Think of it. No more tossing empty wine bottles into the glass bin with that satisfying crash. No more accepting compliments on my deft use of a cork screw. No more using up more storage space than you thought possible once the bottles are unpacked.

Which just led to a brain storm! Vodka in a box! Perhaps the first and best path towards box-packaging acceptance would be to pressure the spirits industry.

A juice box of Jack. There you go, someone’s going to get rich. Go to it packaging designers.


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