Wine on the beach: Easier than you think

Posted: May 23, 2014

BUZZ: Hey, Marnie, how come cheap wine doesn't come in cans, like beer or soda? My wife always wants to pack some for the Shore, but glass bottles aren't allowed on the beach.

Marnie: You can only find a handful of canned wines in the U.S., Buzz, and they aren't necessarily "cheap." In fact, one of the trailblazers is a sparkling wine marketed in nightclubs. I'm sure more will follow soon - cans are already popular in places like Australia that have fewer hang-ups about wine than America. Millennials are in the driver's seat on wine trends here, and they aren't as stodgy about bottles or corks as their parents.

Buzz: Since my first name is Cheap, I'd like to see canned bargain brands. Like with beer, where the fancy-pants brews are in bottles and my Old Milwaukee's in cans.

Marnie: Well, that's not the case anymore. Cans used to compromise flavor in everything from light beer to soup, but technology has done away with that "tinny" taste.

Now that food-safe coatings have resolved that issue, many premium beers are coming out in cans because they preserve pristine flavor better than glass. Sooner or later, the wine world will follow suit, because wine is similarly susceptible to light damage. Cans also are much more cost and energy efficient. For now, though, you can get similar benefits from the new wave of wines that come in "tetrapaks."

Buzz: Tetrapak? Wasn't that a monster Godzilla fought?

Marnie: I'm sure you've seen them before - tetrapaks look like juice boxes with a screw top spout, like the ones on milk cartons. They're smaller than the big, bag-in-box formats - typically 1 liter or 500 ml rather than 3 or 5 liters.

Buzz: Are you saying these tetra things are better than cans?

Marnie: These boxes are as affordable and environmentally friendly as cans and have an advantage in that they can be resealed.

Wine can keep quite well in them if you remember to squeeze the air out and refrigerate after opening.

Buzz: Wow. I hope they don't start using them for beer - I'd miss crunching up my empties.

Marnie: Don't worry - your beer cans are safe. Tetrapaks are great for protecting against oxidation and UV damage but can't handle carbonated drinks that have to be kept under pressure.

Buzz: That's great. My daily exercise includes six crunches every night.

State Store Pick of the Week

Moscato Black Box [500ML]

Coquimbo, Chile $5.49 Sale Price through 6/1. Regularly $5.99 [PLCB Item #6370]

Wine in tetrapaks, like this sweet-tart Chilean Moscato, make it easier to enjoy your drink of choice in the great outdoors. These mini-boxes are cooler-friendly and lightweight—perfect for picnics and barbecues, beaches and boats. They’re safer in places where glass can be problematic, such as poolside or around little kids. This style has all of Moscato’s classic peachy-lychee flavors and sweet, low-alcohol balance, but without the vigorous fizz found in many others. This half-liter size contains three full portions, for a per-glass cost comparable to a $10 bottle. The box is not much bigger than a Snapple, so you can save your cooler space for hot dogs and hoagies this Memorial Day.  - Marnie Old


Marnie Old is a local sommelier and wine author (MarnieOld.com or @MarnieOld). Buzz's musings are interpreted by Daily News Assistant Managing Editor Gar Joseph.

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