Monday, July 14, 2008

Get this wine - but I DARE you to close it back up!

I was impressed with the new cardboard-with-a-screw-top environmentally-friendly liter package of red wine I saw at the Wine Source a few months back. The Yellow + Blue 2007 Malbec comes in "1L TetraPac" packaging. It's sitting in my recycle bin right now.

This is a tasty, tangy red wine, one of a few reds that I can actually stomach (not a big red wine fan here). I confess, however, that I did not get through the whole thing. You see, not long after I opened and, yes, closed it back up, I found this happening to the top of the "TetraPac":

Note the bubbles coming out the side of the base of the fully closed screw cap. No, I did not violently open the screw cap, nor violently close it either. And it's not even normal wear and tear, as this happened the moment I opened it up. So really this has been sitting, sort of "open" and yet "not open" for days in my fridge.

Now I REALLY love the idea of alternatives to glass wine bottles that have to be stopped with a cork, especially in environmentally friendly and freshness-saving packaging. But it's gotta not leak, you know? It left this hateful ring of red wine underneath it in the fridge - at least I had the foresight to put a paper towel underneath it.

Someone convince me to buy this again because I don't feel like wasting another $10 of wine.

UPDATE - You know, it just doesn't seem worth it to buy this wine, unless, as Kitt suggested, you do indeed transfer it to another, more re-sealable vessel. And apparently it isn't even recyclable after all! (Hence, not "green" as I thought.)

UPDATE II - I just got a very helpful and informative comment from Matthew Cain, owner/importer of Yellow+Blue Malbec. I am impressed! Go to comments to read it.


Kitt said...

You could pour the leftover wine into another sealable container to save it. Such as a wine bottle! But even a mason jar would work.

Summer said...

I just got a couple of those with similar packaging, but I think it was more foil/cardboard than plastic. i.e. not recyclable... which doesn't make sense. A bottle IS recyclable. But less transit costs, blah blah. I haven't opened it yet though and if this is what I have to look forward to, I'm not that excited.

I did buy some Black Diamond boxed wine a few months ago. Not bad, and it just has the spout, not a lid.

John said...

Y'all aren't convincing me to buy it again! (I don't think you were trying to anyway...)

Summer: Now THAT annoys me if it really isn't recyclable. WTF!?!?

Kitt: That is one of the funniest images I have had my head for a while - having to transfer your store-bought wine into a Mason jar. Too much trouble.

Yep, I'm convinced: I'm not buying the stuff again, and I'm telling all my friends.

Matthew Cain said...

Hi John,
Matthew Cain here. I am the owner importer of Yellow+Blue Malbec, the wine you wrote about above. A friend passed along your comments, and I'd like to respond to you if you don't mind.

1. I am glad you like the wine.

2. In general, the Tetra Pak closures are very sturdy. That being said, as the paks are 75% paper, there is a limit to the amount of stacked weight they can hold. The pallets are 60 cases, and this is just fine. However, at times in the name of warehouse space, one pallet gets stacked on top of another. This is a bit too much for the bottom pallet, resulting at times in the situation you found. We've gone to a system of putting very large and bright "Do Not Double Stack" stickers on the outside of the pallets to alleviate this problem. I do apologize you got a "leaker", and I am happy to replace it. Take yours back to the Wine Source and get another on me. I've already called the store, and they are waiting for you. Ask for William or Matt.

3. Worldwide the recycling rate of TetraPak is nearly equal to glass. In the U.S. currently, about 20% of the population can recycle Tetra Paks. TetraPak is working on expanding this number.

Recyclability isn't the only thing to consider when weighing the benefits of TetraPak however...

A 1 liter Tetra Pak is 94% wine, 6%packaging. A wine bottle is 55% wine and 45% packaging.

The total energy used to produce 1 Tetra Pak is 1/3 the energy required to produce 1 glass bottle.

The total greenhouse gas emissions to produce and transport 1 Tetra Pak is about 20% of the greenhouse emissions to produce and transport 1 glass bottle.

For the containers that don't make it to the recycling bin, you can drink and discard 30 Tetra Paks before you take up the same space as one glass bottle in the landfill.

I could go on and on. Check out this link for more information:

No system is perfect. However our goal in selcting wine, transporting it, and packaging it is to be as low impact and sustainable as possible.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions or comments you may have. My e-mail address is:

John said...

Matt: Thanks for your helpful comment and very quick quality control! I am quite impressed at your thoughtful and info-packed comment.

I'll take the carton back definitely. Also glad to see that it can be recycled after all, and that it saves on manufacturing energy (something a shopper doesn't always read when he's deciding between a $10 bottle of red wine or a six pack of witte bier).

Again, thanks!

Kitt said...

Wow! Now that's customer service!

Summer said...

I am really impressed by this level of service! I'm also wondering if that's the brand I bought... need to check tonight. I would definitely buy from this company! Awesome! :-)

Tim said... that was sincere customer service from Matt Cain - I'm sold and will be buying Y&B...already tasted it at Farmers and Fishers in DC and really liked it, more so than the $20 bottle I just bought last week.

My one cent to Matt Cain though - as demand grows bigger and your company becomes larger, please keep in mind the excellent customer service everyone witnessed here. Thanks.