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Are plastic wine bottles common in your area? And, OMG that wine is awful....

cleobeach Mar 21, 2011 11:41 AM

My dear husband arrived home recently with a case of wine. He is bidding on a project for a winery and the owner sort of pressured him into purchasing a case. (red flag #1)

A dry white was bottled in plastic bottles with plastic caps, just like soda. When my DH expressed surprise, the owner told him that "everyone is switching to plastic" This is news to me.

Plastic bottles? really? Anyone else see this coming down the pike?

I tried to keep an open mind but holy cow! The whites were absolutely horrible! The sauv blanc had an overwhelming sulfur smell. I don't know that I ever had wine so bad, I HAD to spit it out.

  1. s
    sedimental Mar 21, 2011 06:17 PM

    No. It is not common and I can't imagine it will ever be popular unless they can figure out to make plastic taste- free. Maybe for home wine makers?

    1. Bill Hunt Mar 21, 2011 08:47 PM

      I have never encountered any wines in plastic.

      That does not mean that some wineries are not doing it, but considering the acid in most wines, I would be hesitant to put them into most plastics. Maybe they are using Nalgen, or similar, and the polymers are not leaching out?

      Can you mention the winery?


      5 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt
        cleobeach Mar 22, 2011 06:20 AM

        Definately not Nalgen. The bottles were coded 1 for recycling, whatever that is.

        In the interest of family economics, I won't name names! (it is a small winery)

        My aunt saw the remaining bottles on our dining room table and through the course of the conversation, she teased me that I was too snotty about my wine and that it couldn't possibly be that bad so I sent the rest home with her. She emailed me yesterday and said "you are right, it is BAD!"

        1. re: Bill Hunt
          MelMM Mar 24, 2011 08:59 AM

          Vinegar is sold in plastic bottles, and it is more acidic than wine. As are some some soft drinks, for which plastic bottles are the norm. So I don't think the acid in wine would preclude it being sold in a plastic bottle.

          That said, I believe that plastics have some degree of permeability to oxygen and wouldn't be the best choice for long-term storage of wine.

          1. re: MelMM
            Bill Hunt Apr 1, 2011 09:08 PM

            Well, I seldom drink my vinegar, so cannot tell you how a plastic bottle might affect it, or not.


            1. re: Bill Hunt
              sunshine842 Apr 2, 2011 11:57 AM

              agreed -- I just read an article this week (and drat it, forgot where, so I can't link it) -- that yes,it's the ability of oxygen to traverse the plastic bottle that is the problem -- carbonation will eventually leach out of a sealed soda...and oxygen will eventually pass into the wine and destroy it. (plus the lesser ability of plastic to insulate the wine from small and temporary changes in storage temperature and from exposure to UV)

            2. re: MelMM
              dustbuddy Apr 26, 2011 03:54 AM

              This is spot on - my understanding is that a membrane has been developed which reduces the permeability of plastic to oxygen. However, this is only a partial solution - wines will still only have a shelf life using this method of production of c. 6-12 months. Consequently, plastic bottles would appear to only be relevant to wine designed to be drunk young.

              Personally, I have not seen many about - though I can see the benefits in terms of shipping wine overseas in terms of i) reduced weight and ii) reduced bottle size. Whether consumers will be keen is another matter.

          2. sunshine842 Mar 22, 2011 12:30 AM

            I'm having a hard time with screw tops. I don't think I'm really ready for plastic bottles with a soda cap.

            I have seen wine sold in plastic bottles here in France, but it's the rotgut equivalent of Mad Dog...and I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. (No, not everyone is switching to plastic.)

            5 Replies
            1. re: sunshine842
              Bill Hunt Mar 22, 2011 08:24 PM

              Yeah, being the "purist," that I am, Stelvin (etc.) has had a hard road with me, but with zero corked wines, under Stelvin, I am coming around.

              Plastic bottle... well THAT might take a while, like a bag-in-a-box.


              1. re: Bill Hunt
                sunshine842 Mar 23, 2011 01:21 AM

                In Europe, there are some extremely drinkable BiBs available. We've had several that we really enjoyed.

                Unfortunately, there's also some utter crap out there...and it's way too easy to end up with 3L of plonk.

                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  sunshine842 Apr 4, 2011 02:45 PM

                  I found this last week and it's at least interesting to read - and makes it very obvious that the jury is still out and not coming back for quite a while:


                  1. re: sunshine842
                    sunshine842 Apr 25, 2011 02:47 PM

                    and more:


                    Still don't see much of it on the shelves here.

                2. re: sunshine842
                  jock Mar 23, 2011 12:00 AM

                  plastic - glass it doesn't matter which if the wine is lousy. i do not see plastic bottles for anything but cheap, not necessarily bad, wine for immediate consumption.

                  screw caps, on the other hand!!! it is taking way too long to completely eliminate cork. it no longer has a place in the wine industry. that is, unless nostalgia is the overriding factor and, unfortunately, for far too many nostalgia is the overriding factor.

                3. Akitist Mar 23, 2011 04:10 PM

                  I haven't seen these yet, but it could be a solution to storing a partialy-finished bottle. Just squeeze the bottle to expel the air, then close with the screw-on cap. No apparatus, inert gas, nothing. Similar concept to wine in the bag, but in a smaller size.

                  The aesthetics would be lacking, but hidden in the fridge that shouldn't be a problem. For serving, decant into a carafe.

                  This is just about the container, nothing to do with the quality of what's sold in it.

                  1. Midlife Apr 25, 2011 02:37 PM

                    Finally got around to checking at our local Albertson's market. There are, indeed, several 187ml-ish packs of basic variety wines in plastic. Gallo, Sutter Home were two. There was also a small selection of something in a soft pack bag as well. Whatever.................

                    1. c
                      comestible Apr 26, 2011 11:37 AM

                      I occasionally visit the Czech Republic -- which does have a good wine culture, though for most foreigners it is eclipsed by their excellent beer -- it's common to bring your plastic soda bottle to the wine shop and have it filled direct from a cask...or if you don't bring your plastic bottle, they'll provide one. Granted, this is the everyday wine, and it's quite decent, but their better wines are in glass. For the short time the wine is in plastic, it probably doesn't hurt it. I've bought some this way, and it was fine, certainly better than Sutter Home or similar. I would imagine this is common elsewhere in Europe as well.

                      Which, of course, is different from bottling and marketing wine in plastic...but I wouldn't be surprised if a small US winery did this for some portion of its output, for quick sale and quick drinking. Sorry to hear your experience that this particular wine was terrible.

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