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The château stands before me, cubic, compact, almost a little threatening, not a romantic sight, rather a matter-of-factly sober atmosphere. The large lettering and sparse ornaments give the impression that this is a highly stylised, technical product, that practicality dominates. But then, on entering the château, everything changes. The path to the content turns out to be a mature cabaret act.

A wine% that is on sale in Switzerland (COOP) both as a bag-in-box and in the bottle. Comparatively a third cheaper in the box.

It's all very simple, hygienic and highly user-friendly, I'm told. Moreover, fruit juice drinkers and olive oil consumers have long since experienced access to these modern "châteaux" and have long since overcome any difficulties. I am not a fruit juice drinker, and olive oil is still in the bottle in my kitchen and on the table. But - why should I, of all people, as a wine drinker, not take the hurdle? It's all very easy, and the wine flows into the glass. To be on the safe side, I consulted the Internet. I'm sure there's something on the subject of bag-in-box. And lo and behold, vividly, vividly, as if taken from real life. Don't switch off, after the obligatory commercial it comes: http://en.sevenload.com/videos/Yk8uWj3-Bag-in-Box-Wein-aus-dem-Schlauch. Mike Krüger's nipple-flap song accompanies me as I discover the château of my latest wine experience. If there are any wine freaks who don't know what I'm talking about, take a trip to youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwI9bNKUp88. But all this is not so new. I remember: a good forty years ago, a merchant appeared in our editorial office, a box in each hand filled with - wine. Yes, with wine! And he praised the new achievement - young wine from fresh wineskins - as fervently as if it were a "revolution in the wine cellar".

Opening the box is not so easy. But once the nipple is out, the wine can bubble.

At the time - it was the 1960s - we didn't report on this peaceful revolution. It seemed to us that an "unculture" was brewing here. The two boxes then wandered into my cellar, which was still a storage, fruit and vegetable cellar, and were then promptly forgotten there. A few years later, when the cellar was turned into a wine cellar, they reappeared. Rotten, the box soaked and mouldy, the wine probably undrinkable. In any case, I lost the desire for an experimental sip. The boxes were disposed of. A world revolution (in the wine cellar) just sloshed past me.

So - a good thirty years later - a report in the Tageszeigung did not surprise me: "...Cavino is shaking up an age-old cultural asset: the wine bottle. It relies instead on plastic bags and now has a Swiss vintner as a partner for the first time...."

Winemaker Reto Honegger% Stäfa (Switzerland)% who has embarked on the Bag-in-Box experiment.

Now, at the latest, comes the "crucial question", also for me. I am rather conservative when it comes to wine. For me, wine is also (and above all) a piece of culture. This includes not only the glass wine bottle, the slightly damp and dark wine cellar, the correctly shaped, tinkling glasses, even the tiresome cork (which has thoroughly spoiled many a wine for me). And now the all-important question: will I succeed in breaking the blockade in my head? Have the thirty or so well-shaped decanters in the cupboard really had their day?

Elisabeth, an acquaintance from our circle of friends, dares to put it to the test: "How do you feel about wine boxes?" Now I have to show my colours, and I'm surprised at myself and my answer: "I think the bag-in-box is a real opportunity!" How? An opportunity and not an unculture? And this statement from me of all people?

Presentation at a winegrowers' cooperative in the south of France. Above, the gift boxes% below, bag-in-box.

Indeed, images appear before me, experiences from my second home in the South of France. A glass of red on the beach, with lunch at the beach café. Ordinary "vin de table" - undrinkable, oxidised, open too long, obviously bottled from the "vracs", the tanks for open serving. Here, only rosé is drunk at midday, hardly any red wine, and certainly not from bottles. And all of a sudden, all the memories come flooding back of the times I was served "stale" wine to drink, in restaurants, even with acquaintances who are not really wine drinkers. They were always simple wines, but even they should at least not be faulty. Whenever possible, fresh, appealing, enjoyable, full of aromas and with a good balance of fruit, acidity, tannins and alcohol. Then rather a little less culture, but a "decent" wine. The same experience in the kitchen (I almost always cook with wine).

Advertisement of a producer of bag-in-box.

Right! I think the bag-in-box has little to do with culture, but all the more with the use of wine. For a certain segment of wines - the simple but good quality everyday wines - the château carton is an opportunity that must be seized. On the one hand, it significantly reduces the price, and on the other hand, it can represent a real leap in quality in the area of trivial mass wines. Provided that winegrowers are prepared to offer their good, simple wines in bag-in-box. If up to now the quality in the boxes has mostly been insufficient, then the boxes cannot be held responsible for that, only the winegrowers or the wholesalers are responsible for that, who use the practical (and cheaper) tubular packaging to bring their meaningless mass products to the consumer. Market advantage, after all!

No more stale and oxidised wines - not even on the beach!

In Germany (and also in Switzerland), bag-in-box has a hard time, both with consumers and in the wine world. Magazines, blogs, forums hardly take any notice of it, not a topic for discerning wine connoisseurs. Really not an issue? Or is it? For all those who only drink a good glass in the evening, where possible, who often have open bottles standing around and who can accept the tap not only for beer but also for wine. Perhaps only for those who have only heard the Bible saying: "Do not put new wine into old wineskins, or the wineskins will burst...", but who are prepared to accept new wineskins with good wine. It is up to the winegrowers to offer good wine in modern wineskins.


Yours sincerely

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