I’M GUESSING THAT PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE won’t think much of this development:

The next big thing for the wine industry could be small, screw-capped and shatterproof.

Single-serve plastic bottles are starting to show up on supermarket shelves in a bid to win over new customers by moving wine beyond posh white-tablecloth dinners to the informal ease of a picnic.

I haven’t ever bought a plastic bottle, but I usually keep some of the single-serving airplane bottles of merlot, shiraz, etc. around. I often have a glass of wine at night, but it’s usually just one, and I hate to open a bottle for that — especially as the resveratrol and other beneficial antioxidants go bad within 24 hours of opening. And hey, if Bainbridge is open-minded about box wines, maybe he won’t be upset after all.

UPDATE: A reader in the wine business emails:

Wine in non traditional containers is growing rapidly and will continue to grow. I see it changing year by year. Many people have the same issues you do with opening a bottle during the week and having it go bad before it’s consumed. Smaller containers and 3L boxed wine are filling the need. A 3L boxed wine can last 5-6 weeks without degradation and contains like 18-20 servings. Many of these offerings are vintage dated Napa and Sonoma wine like Black Box. It’s not all cheap valley plonk anymore.

Convenience will win over many converts. Cork became a tradition by default because there was no other viable closure solution for many decades. That is changing now, and there’s no going back.

Another advantage of plastic bottles/boxes if they ever get more widely adopted, is the weight advantage over glass. Most wine loads are shipped by truck or intermodal and are maxed out first by weight not by cube. You would need fewer trucks and consume less fuel per liter of wine shipped with either plastic or boxed wine vs traditional glass bottles.

Cool. Now if I could just order it over the Internet. Meanwhile, another reader emails:

I was alarmed to read your comment that wine loses all this good stuff after 24 hours. Here’s a quote that I found on the Web that indicates all is not lost after opening:

Resveratrol is available in pill form, but it is reported to be unstable because the resveratrol molecule is destroyed by contact with air. However, Creasy’s [Dr. Leroy Creasy, professor emeritus in the department of horticulture at Cornell University] tests show that resveratrol is preserved even in open wine, with only a 3 percent reduction after 17 days sitting open on a counter at about 70 degrees or refrigerated at about 35 degrees. He believes that resveratrol lasts longer in wine than in pill form because of the anti-oxidant properties in wine. However, wine will lose its resveratrol if it is exposed to light, so keep an opened bottle away from a window.


Please get to bottom of this.

Anybody know more?