God Help Us: Aluminum?

A few weeks ago, I told you to drink whatever you want. It’s no one’s business but yours. I still think that’s true. You should drink white wine. You should even drink Two-Buck Chuck. It goes without saying, but I also think you should treat yourself to a few bottles as a long-term investment, and drink those too. Why should you drink cheap wine, you ask? For the same reason you should drink expensive wine. Experimenting with a broad selection of vintages and varietals, from a large number of regions at varying price points, will help expand your palate and hone your wine drinking persona.

As I was drafting this post, Robert and I exchanged the following dialogue via text message:

Me: What’s the worst wine we ever drank (non-corked)?
Robert: Probably something from Virginia.* <long pause>
Robert: NO!
Robert: That Merlot from Woodrose.
Robert: Yes.

It did taste like feet, you guys. For real. Only with a high level of skepticism would I drink anything from Woodrose Winery again. I would, though. Most winemakers change, grow, and improve. We’re pulling for them. Some winemakers, on the other hand, are consistently reliable. For example, I will always buy Phantom. Wide-ranging trial-and-error helped me draw these conclusions.

Some wine is cheap because it’s mass produced. Some wine is cheap because it’s terrible. But the price of a wine neither indicates nor guarantees quality. A cheap wine can taste great and an expensive wine can taste like feet. You need two skills to ensure you always get a good value:

  1. You need to know what you like.
  2. You need to be able to describe it to a wine merchant, winemaker, or sommelier.

Wine can be terrible because it just doesn’t taste good. Maybe the winemaker is not good at their job. Or maybe they don’t care about the product, they only care about profit. Some winemakers who say they make wine aren’t really making wine at all. I’m talking to you, Arbor Mist, you assholes. This is the first category of bad wine.

Wine can also terrible because of a specific fault, the most well-known of which is cork taint. A wine is corked when a compound (specifically, 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, known as TCA, and/or 2,4,6-tribromoanisole, known as TBA) is transferred from or through the cork. Corked wine containing TCA and/or TBA has a characteristic odor: moldy, filthy, and damp. Other faults, like oxidation, can be harder to identify, but we can cover the general topic of potential faults after bottling in a future post. This is the second category of bad wine.

There is a third category. Unfortunately for you, me, and the future of humanity, there is a third category. Wine can be terrible because the entire concept is so deeply flawed and antithetical to the entire point of wine drinking that you’re going to want to put yourself into a medicated coma over it. That’s a gross exaggeration. But I am concerned. I am really, really concerned about Copa Di Vino.

Copa Di Vino is a sealed plastic drinking cup that looks like glass and contains good-quality Washington State wine. Each Copa Di Vino contains the equivalent of a quarter of a bottle of wine and is designed for younger wine drinkers who want grab-and-go convenience and don’t want to drink a whole bottle at a time. Good Fruit Grower

Single-serving wine sealed with aluminum isn’t a new concept, unfortunately. The maker of Copa di Vino got the idea when he was on a train with his wife during a vacation in France in 2008. The company that produces the single-serving wine in France, ¼ Vin, agreed to partner with Copa di Vino to patent the bottling and sealing technology in the United States. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a big fan of wine technology. I think cork alternatives (i.e., screw tops) are a great idea. I will definitely have a vineyard robot. I have to draw the line at single-serving wine. My issues? I have two. First of all, wine is not a soft drink, nor is it beer. Grab-and-go convenience isn’t a phrase you should be using to describe what you’re looking for in a wine. Second of all, wine is a living thing. It should never be vacuum-sealed. These are the commandments of this blog. They’ve both been broken.

There is also this: real-life quotes in support of Copa di Vino. I am not making any of these up:

It combines the classiness of a bottle of fine wine with the convenience of a drink pouch.

I may be a wine snob, but I’m a wine snob on the go.

Mr. Franzia will always live on in our hearts for one of the most wonderful inventions of all time, but it may be time for us to move on…each sealed disposable wine glass comes filled with six ounces of red, white or rosé that look good enough to drink at a fancy dinner party.

No. Just…no. Just stop it. No they don’t look good enough to drink at a fancy dinner party. Someone help me. Is anything sacred? Drink whatever you want. Just not Copa di Vino.

*We’ve had some very good wines from Virginia. Barboursville and Valhalla come to mind.

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