Tuesday wine bits 65: Open that bottle night, box wine sales, screw tops

? Wall Street Journal wine tradition: That ?s Feb. 28, the ninth annual Open That Bottle Night, devised by Journal wine writers John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter. Their goal is to get wine drinkers to open a bottle they ?ve been saving for a special occasion, and otherwise would have forgotten about. The Wine Curmudgeon, of course, does not have this problem. My Solaz is always handy. And is that really my pals Bruce and Birgit Anderson of Texas ? Sunset Winery featured in this year ?s article? Nice to see Brecher and Gaiter recognize regional wine.

? Box wine sales up: And by a lot — 32 percent last year, according to Nielsen, compared to 4.4 percent for wine overall. Granted, that increase is from a small base (only about 1 percent of all wine sales in the U.S.), but it does show that consumers are looking for value. A typical 3-liter box contains is the equivalent of four bottles, and is usually heavily discounted compared to the price of a bottle of similar quality.

? Screw tops carry the day: A California tasting, featuring a bevy of wine experts, identified a screw top as the most effective closure in a test with a Washington state sauvignon blanc. The same wine was closed with a cork, two plastic corks, and screw top. The latter ?s wine was ?fresh and the most aromatic ? and the favorite of the tasters.

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