The Vintners Quality Alliance of British Columbia has decided that it will only give its seal of quality approval to wines packaged in glass bottles.
The decree created something of a glass ceiling for wineries that want to market wines that meet VQA standards in alternative formats, such as PET, Tetra Pak formats and, in the case of 30,000-case Summerhill Pyramid Organic Winery in Kelowna, the venerable bag-in-box.
Responding to a sommelier’s suggestion, Summerhill is preparing to launch two wines in a 3L bag-in-box format later this month. The two wines in question, an Ehrenfelser and a Merlot, will primarily be available in traditional bottles bearing the VQA designation. But casks of the same wines won’t bear the designation because it’s against the law.
The dawning understanding that packaging doesn’t effect the quality of a wine has led to enormous innovation. The trend in the last few years has been for better and better wines to end up in alternative packaging — which is cheaper, leaves less of a carbon footprint and, in many cases, is more consumer friendly than bottles. It is particularly popular with younger consumers prized by marketers.
A big setback for alternative packaging? Not exactly. According to figures provided by Wines of Canada and The World Wine Market Survey, BC produces roughly 0.05% of the world’s wines. That’s roughly one-third of the amount of wine produced by Gallo.
So if BC wants to shut itself off from one of the dominant trends in wine marketing, they can do it without it affecting the rest of us even a little.
h/t Dr. Vino