Wine Wednesdays: BIB

As wineries in Virginia continue to grow in popularity, a new way to deliver their product to the people is quickly gaining steam.

It's the BIB, or "bag in box." For Wine Wednesday, we went to Michael Shaps WineWorks, the first place on the east coast to use this packaging.

For years, people overseas have been their wine in a BIB. In Europe where I spend a lot of time with my winery in France, you see in the stores just rows and rows of bag in box wines.

That's why Michael Shaps decided to begin boxing some of his wines about four years ago. You get four bottles in a box for about $40, and once you open it, it can stay fresh for weeks, even months.

"We can package a bag in box here which is four bottles, for the same cost of one bottle of traditional packaging, glass, cork, label etc.," said Michael Shaps, WineWorks Wine Maker.

One person can run the machine that makes it work. You've got your empty bags lined up, and you push down. It gets filled with wine very quickly, turns, caps goes in, air pulled out, the cap is sealed, and you've got a full bag of wine; it's 4 bottles worth.

"We were the first ones here on the east coast to do it, now there are several others doing it here.You go into wine shops throughout the state here, and you'll see more and more box offerings in shops and restaurants," added Shaps.

There are also West Coast wineries putting some of their best wines in a bag in box. The technology makes it possible to get the exact same quality out of a bottle, and there is also the impact on the carbon footprint. When it comes to shipping empty containers, a tradition bottle simply can't stack up, and these boxes have a special Virginia flair.

"You can buy a bag in box chardonnay from anywhere in the world, but by offering a viognier or Cab Franc that we specialize in in Virginia, it draws people's attention to something different and putting a higher quality in the bag," said Shaps.

One of the biggest problems with the boxes is public perception. Shaps says some people still associate boxes with cheap wine, but with a little more time, American wine drinkers will make it just as popular as their European counterparts.


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