Tag Archives: open wine

Ask the WC 6: Box wine, wine closeouts, open wine

wine questionsBecause the customers always have wine questions, and the Wine Curmudgeon has answers in this irregular feature. Ask me a wine-related question by clicking here.

Wine Curmudgeon:
Are there any box wines that you would find acceptable for someone who can’t afford $15 or $20 for wine every night ? I have been buying several of the Almaden wines and find them quite good. Are they, or is it just my unsophisticated taste buds? Could I be getting a better taste for my buck?
Bottles aren’t necessary

Dear Bottles:
Box wine comes in varying degrees of quality, just like wine in bottles. Many are of higher quality than the Alamaden, though they won’t be as sweet. You can try Bota Box, Black Box, Bandit/Three Thieves, and Big House, for example. But realize you don’t have to spend $15 or $20 for a bottle; check out the $10 Hall of Fame or the $10 wine link at the top of the page.

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Curmudgeonly one:
How do wineries get rid of excess inventory, if they make too much and have to sell it off? Can you find good deals on wine this way?
Looking for a bargain

Dear Looking:
It’s difficult to do thanks to our friend, three-tier. Can’t have a warehouse sale, since it’s illegal, and it’s rare to find a wine retailer that specializes in closeouts and discontinued items like Big Lots because the process is so difficult. Some retailers buy excess wine and discount it, but there isn’t much rhyme or reason to how they do it. You need to find a good retailer and ask them to let you know when they have that kind of sale. In fact, most excess wine sits in a distributor warehouse until it is sold, returned, or destroyed (which is what multi-national Treasury did in 2013).

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Wine Curmudgeon:
How long will an open bottle of wine stay good? Is there anything I can do to make it last longer?
Can’t drink a bottle in one sitting

Dear Can’t drink:
The answer to this used to be simple — if you didn’t finish an open bottle within 24 hours, it oxidized and tasted like bad brandy. Hence, closures like the VacuVin. But improvements in winemaking have complicated the issue, and I’ve had wine, including cheap wine, that stayed drinkable for a couple of days after it had been opened. My suggestion? Put it in the refrigerator and hope for the best if it’s there longer than 36 hours.

More Ask the Wine Curmudgeon:
? Ask the WC 4: Green wine, screwcaps, mold
? Ask the WC 3: Availability, prices, headaches
? Ask the WC 2: Health, food pairings, weddings

Winebits 286: Aussie wine, French bloggers, leftover wine

? Hope down under? All that gloom and doom seems less gloomy and doomy in Australia, thanks to a rapid and significant decline in the Australian dollar. Australian winemakers big and small have been getting hammered for the past couple of years, ever since their dollar was worth as much as the U.S. dollar. Over the last couple of weeks, though, the Aussie dollar has dropped to US$.90 and could get as low as 85 cents ? still not the heyday of a decade ago, when it was worth 50 cents, but 15 percent is 15 percent. Why does that matter? Because a cheaper Aussie dollar makes Australian wines cheaper in the U.S.. Hence, they ?ll sell more at higher margins.

? No more French wine blogging? A group of experts says one way to cut alcoholism in France is to outlaw wine blogging, a novel approach that assumes wine bloggers actually influence drinking habits. The French are so quaint, aren ?t they? This is an amazing proposal, not only because wine is part of the French national identity, but because the French fought a particularly bloody revolution to guarantee liberty, equality and fraternity. Also, though I ?m cutting myself in the throat here (pun sort of intended), it ?s worth noting that general interest web sites that feature wine probably have more influence than wine blogs. Research for the cheap wine book found that the Wine Spectator ?s site gets about one-third fewer visitors a month than TheHairpin, aimed at 20-something women, that does regular posts about wine.

? Best way to preserve open wine? And, in fact, this demonstrates the reach of non-wine blogs. There is a reasonably accurate article and great discussion on Lifehacker, another more or less general interest blog, about a subject wine blogs mostly ignore. Because, as I wrote in a comment to the post, we drink our wine after we open it and there isn ?t usually any left over. I wonder how the French would regulate something like this.