Pros: All eleven 'flavors' satisfy many knowledgeable consumers, with light alcohol and long shelf lives.
Cons: Can't ask the restaurant to waive the corkage fee.
What's In a Name? We know what Shakespeare thought about roses but I ask what's in the Wine Box?
Based upon Peter VELLA Delicious Red Wine 5L Box
PETER VELLA WINES
600 Yosemite Blvd
MODESTO, CA 95354
WHY BOX INSTEAD OF GLASS?
Simple Economics: Each box contains 5 Litres or 6 1/2 750ml bottles. The latter collection will take up about 74 square inches of shelf space or about twice as much as a box.
A typical VELLA Box measures approximately 3.5" W x 10.5" or about 37 square inches of shelf space. Volume is economical, the lack of necks, punts, and cylindrical shape allows the max in the min. We can store as many as 4 of these slim packages on half of a shelf in a pantry size cabinet. Storage is at room temperature; the very bulk acts as a heat sink. Spoilage is unknown, although Vella claims a two month shelf life if refrigerated. In reality, that is far below the potential shelf life, even after opening the tap keeps oxygen away from the wine which allows small servings without spoiling the remainder. (We keep a carafe of white in the 'fridge @ 44 degrees, adding ice cubes to suit.)
The closure is an instant-off press-on button that is molded into the bag, similar in concept to the dead man switch on a locomotive. Compared to the twist knob, accidents are unlikely unless my sister is at the control. Age and arthritis make those small knobs hard to grasp and almost impossible to twist.
Another factor is that much of VELLA is made from Gallo Grapes. Not all of it, however. Bulk grapes, juices, and wines are readily available. Numerous small wineries have contracts to sell the commodities to given wineries. It is a brisk market. Blending is common. Labels are considered to be reliable.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Mulling over this subject, a lot of research led me to take a look at attitudes about bulk beverages and why we buy them. The results included several surprises:
From the very man hisownself, Peter Vella:
"... In 1993, we decided to come out with a wine in a box in order to compete in that emerging market. Our research showed that we had a tie between calling it a fanciful name and naming it after me. When Julio heard about the tie, he immediately made the decision to use the Peter Vella name because I was the winemaker."
"We", if you have not already guessed, stands for GALLO ; Mr. Vella's employer for more than 40 years. In fact, Vella is almost synonymous with WIB or Wine In a Box.
Although box wine is a bit low-brow and the premium wine heroes tried to defeat this effort to Sell Lots of Wine to the masses; it is better than cheap bottle wine that has to offset the costs of glass, closures, capsules, artistic labels, advertising and freight. The bag in a box concept is profitable to the bag makers for sure - those bags are the best selling component in the wine industry.
Premium brands had tried to defeat the bag because, among other things, it '...fostered drunkenness...and binge drinking..." Look who's talking. Whereas the VELLA box products hover in the 10% range, the average alcohol content by volume in a bottle has been 12% to, say 15.5% - 19% or "BIG". Big enough to qualify a reckless drinker for DUI citations. No matter the body bulk, the human liver cannot metabolize more than an ounce of alcohol per hour.
PETER VELLA products:
There are 3 major categories; all of which share common production, packaging and marketing.
Federal Law governs labeling practices - Germane portions reproduced in Notes, below.
No special claims regarding grape nor AVA (American Viticultural Area) are made for the first category.
...Red, Blush, and White
...Burgundy, Chablis, Sangria, and White Zinfandel
...Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot
No bragging rights included. In moderation, box wine is affordable and even enjoyable.
We have consumed and liked the Burgundy, Chablis, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines by PETER VELLA and have found them to be consistent in quality and always drinkable.
In the United States, the wine laws are more flexible than European standards in regards to regulations on what viticultural and winemaking practice are allowed in each wine region. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) defines and approves applications for regions to become American Viticultural Areas. This system was established in 1978 with the Augusta AVA in Missouri designated as the first recognized AVA on June 20, 1980. A sizable portion of American wine laws relate to Wine label practices and include the stipulations that if an AVA name appears on the label that at least 85% of grapes used to produce the wine must come from that AVA. In addition to AVAs, every American state and County (United States) can produce wine and label it under their state/county wide appellation provided at least 75% of the grapes come from that area. The states of California wine and Texas wines have wine laws increasing the requirement to 100% and 85%, respectively, for use of a state-wide appellation on the wine label. Wine law#cite note-MacNeil_pg_632-635-9
The appearance of grape variety and Vintage year is also regulated by US wine labeling laws with requirements of at least 75% for the grape variety and 95% being Harvested (wine) in that vintage year for either to appear on the wine label.