Pack a pouch or two

How do you buy yours? The packaging that is. These days wine, and other alcoholic beverages, are available in a number of containers giving you the option to select the best option for that day’s particular activities.

We are familiar in this country with wine in a box. It may still carry an unwarranted stigma of low quality wine, but it is the same wine as in the under £7 ranges at supermarkets and convenient for summer sailing and beach picnics. Now how about wine in a pouch?

Wine in a box is simply wine in a thin metallised plastic bag with an airtight tap to preserve the quality inside a squared-up cardboard box. The wine pouch is a similar flexible bag without the cardboard outer.

Many wines are transported from their home countries in vast container bags anyway and then repackaged here.

I found Shorn wine pouches of Pinot Grigio and Malbec at my local Morrison’s at £11.50 for a 1.5 litre pouch, the equivalent of two bottles. Tesco also stocks them at a similar price.

Shorn is a trendy brand based in Marlborough, New Zealand, who source some of their wines from Europe and California. Their Moldova Pino Grigio, at 13 per cent abv, is fresh and citrusy; Moldova is a land-locked country between Romania and Ukraine. The Shorn Shiraz pouch, 13 per cent, and its Malbec pouch, 12 per cent, are both wines from California and full of rich black fruit and cherry flavours.

There are clear environmental challenges ahead if pouches grow in popularity as we are trying to reduce use of plastics, but on the plus side the lower weight and zero cardboard reduce production and shipping costs. And if that is a problem, the same Shorn wines are available in regular glass bottles at comparable prices.

The Tetra Pak, on the other hand, is recyclable in that its components, paperboard, polyethylene (plastic) and aluminium, can be turned into other products. It is a non-glass pack for staple products like milk or fruit juices, but less so for wine and alcoholic drinks. The benefits for on board storage are lightness and space efficiency and avoiding heavy and breakable glass.

Sangria, the famous wine based Spanish cocktail, can pep up any picnic on board or on the beach. Felix Solis Peñasol Sangria comes in a bright colours-of-Spain red and yellow one litre super convenient Tetra Pak. Billed as a refreshing wine and citrus blend at 5 per cent abv, this pack makes sense for the great outdoors and costs £3 at Morrison’s.

Cans also make packaging sense for a picnic or on board, whatever the type or size of your boat, and are recyclable. They are established for our beers and new brands with striking, funky graphics. There is a growing array of ready-mixed cocktails such as Pimm’s and Gordon’s G&T and some sparkling wines like Thomson & Scott’s Sparkler Rosé. Why not, then, still wine? It is in the US market and will surely be coming our way soon.

Pop ups in Cowes

Meantime, ashore, during next month’s Cowes Week (10 – 16 August) there will be pop up bars to enjoy Island Ales and to savour Slingsby gin at the Fever Tree bar in the Yacht Haven marina.

Harrogate-based Slingsby London Dry gin is made from local Yorkshire ingredients and is the official London Dry Gin supplier for this year’s regatta and headline sponsor of Ladies Day. In the marina bars you can also taste their Yorkshire Rhubarb, Gooseberry and Navy Strength gins.