jamie goode's wine blog: Test-tube wines

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Test-tube wines

Alison Mann of EW PR sent me this link, and asked me what I thought of it, the idea being that press samples could be delivered this way.

The design is a test-tube-like arrangement with a screwcap seal. But - and this is the significant bit - it would only contain 6 cl of wine. This invention will send a chill of fear down the spines of all professional wine writers - it would certainly be a disaster for my friends and family who are used to receiving almost full bottles of wine at regular intervals!

More seriously, it's a good idea in principle, but I would be uncomfortable with the idea of it being used for press samples. There aren't that many wine journos who have a readership and impact high enough for it to be worth sending samples to, so I suspect for many wineries the extra hassle involved in bottling these test tubes with wine would outweigh the cost of wine and freight involved with whole bottles. There's also the issue of fraud: it would be so easy, if you are doing a separate bottling for journalists only, to do something different with the wine, or bottle a slightly different wine - ideally, I want the wines I taste to be taken from the batch of stock that is supplying the UK trade. At least one well known winery has attracted negative publicity for allegedly bottling a separate batch of wine for competitions. There's an issue of trust, here.

Technically, wine bottled in these test-tubes will behave differently to wines bottled in 75 cl bottles just because of the volume/oxygen transmission issues, and because it is unlikely that oxygen pick-up at filling will differ from normal bottles. It may not represent a huge difference, but it's a difference nonetheless.

Where this technique could be useful is in sampling to consumers. You could post out a large number of these samples to bloggers, for example, or to people who express an interest alerted via a magazine insert. It could also be used for tank samples, for example, of expensive wines. What do you think?


At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

I would guess that the clinical sterility of such a sample arrangement might have a subconscious effect on the reviewer no matter how hard one might struggle to be impartial. Unless all producers simultaneously agreed to use such an arrangement, it could place some at a disadvantage. A good wine bottle and glass are both objects of beauty and part of the overall experience. Therefore I'll lend my considerable influence to the opposition of these kits. Bottles have served us well for the past pair of millennia.

As a wine blogger of sorts, I am quite willing to offer my opinion to any producers interested in submitting a sample. My preferred vessel of delivery can be viewed here.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Dave, thanks for the comment. Enjoyed your blog - nice to see what you are up to, although the comment about veraison being two weeks ago surprised me a bit - looking at my vines, veraison is about 8 weeks away!

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These test-tubes have been floating around for at least 10 years. I remember during my student days (a late starter) that the girls used to drink a lethal cocktail in pint glass made from a bottle of Two Dogs and a test-tube of some luminous coloured liquid - from memory it came in 5 or 6 day-glow colours.

Possibly more amusing than watching people drink those things is that it's taken someone over ten years to come up with an even more vain use for them.

On a more serious note wouldn't the carbon footprint of these things be similar in size to that of Godzilla. ROTEs are known to be fairly poor but glass is terrible. Given the amount of carbon used to produce them it hardly seems to be worth putting any wine in them.

Who would benefit from putting samples into these things unless you're a student who likes drinking light shocked booze that can be mixed with in a pint glass with an RTD?


PS my research all, those years ago, showed that the bright green one drunk near a florescent light was the most popular.

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

Thanks for taking a look Jamie...and as for veraison, you shouldn't be too surprised: we're probably only two weeks ahead. Add to that some early ripening cultivars, a 14-day premature bud break this year (climate change) and my three-week amature's margin of error, and you get 8 weeks.

How's the vine plot progressing...any success with the organic methods?

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

My plot of vines is going OK, although I haven't visited in the last couple of weeks and I'm worried that my sulfur regime may not be enough to combat the almost constant rain we had through June.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Paul Tudor said...

I am interested in the "carbon footprint" comment above re. ROTEs. Do you have any data on this? I have been trying to find accurate sources for this information, although few manufacturers (glassworks mainly) willing to share any material on their energy expenditure.
Best wishes

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

That might be one way to get your own wine onto an airplane.

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can try it on www.vinotinto.fr I liked it. The wines wher good. As I'n not a professional I'd love to get yours. And the selection of wines was great


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