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Treading Lightly

posted on April 19th, 2012 by Geoff Nicoll

Flasq Merlot and Chardonnay Wine in a CanWith energy costs skyrocketing, and an increased consciousness of our impact on the environment, there are numerous innovators that are seeking alternatives to the standard glass vessel. As the vast majority of wine consumers are traditionalists, it is not an easy transition away from the norm. Most recently, the Stelvin closure (or screw top) was the test tube for the elitists to poo poo, stating that only natural cork allows the wine to properly evolve, or breathe and mature into a more regal, stately beverage in maturity. And the detractors still exist. But there are a great many world class producers that are investigating the potential. I for one, am happy to utilize the easy, more efficient and certainly more neutral closure that completely decimates the potential for cork taint that ruins a bottle.

Next come PET (plastic), and Tetra Pack, along with aluminum and “The Pouch.” Each has its benefits and drawbacks, but each plays a role in alternative packaging by which to contain your favorite beverage. The main advantage of these alternative materials lies in the significant weight savings over the cumbersome, clumsy glass. Considering that bulky, heavy glass is transported from factory, to bottling line, to distribution hub, to retailer or restaurant. Multiply those fuel and handling costs when it comes from overseas. Added up, it is a big chunk of change and a significant source of carbon.

While professionals agree that glass is the best, most inert containment system for long term storage and aging, most of us don’t age wine, and we don’t need the long term benefits that glass provides. Studies convey that about three fourths of wines purchased are consumed in the very short term. This opens the door for the compact, efficient, less bulky and easily recycled formats that are more environmentally friendly. In comparison, a 9 ltr case of glass bottles can weigh 25 pounds whereas a 9 ltr case of aluminum would be under 3.

A new and unique entry into the marketplace is Flasq wines from California. Flasq offers a tasty, fun, compact and smart way to enjoy wine, with a conscience. The wines come in a slender, light yet sturdy aluminum canister, with a screw top closure. The wide mouth top was designed to make it easy to dispense, which one would assume was inspired by concerts in the park, picnics and other venues where one would not find convenient to tote your finest Riedel stemware. The can is lined, so there is no metallic taste (first thing that came to mind when the concept was presented), the wine is clean, fresh, and enticing. Ideal for outdoor activities, around the pool or patio, and for the adventurous, pack a picnic lunch and take a stroll and see the great outdoors that you are being instrumental in saving.

Flasq comes in a crisp Monterey Chardonnay, a delightfully fruity Paso Robles Merlot and the Cuvee Blanc which is an off dry-fruity blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Muscat. The wines retail for $6.99 for a 375 ml can, but in celebration of Earth Day, for the month of April we are offering them @ 2 for $10.  Stop by your local Bristol Farms, pick up a few cans for you and your friends, and come back and let us know what you think!

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