While many enjoy the ceremony of opening a wine bottle cork, traditional glass bottles and corks aren’t necessary for sipping high-quality vino.
In fact, there are several benefits to venturing beyond your standard 750 ml bottles. Cans are stackable and can travel well. Boxes like those from Lieb Cellars’ sister label Bridge Lane can stay fresh for up to a month after opening.
As consumer preferences change, more Long Island brands are embracing alternative packaging. Here are some new-to-the-region options for enjoying local wine.
ON THE GO
Wine in a can
Canned wine is easily transportable, can be opened without a wine key (in case you forgot yours) and has an automatic serving size built into its design. Mattituck’s Bridge Lane, the first Long Island winery to sell cans, sold out of its inaugural 1,000-can run this summer, but look for more canned cabernet franc rosé and other varieties this spring. They’re sold in 375 ml containers, or half a bottle.
Wölffer Estate offers a different sort of single-drinker packaging with their No. 139 white and rosé dry ciders ($16 per four-pack). These effervescent, slightly sweet drinks are fun and festive and can be enjoyed on a picnic or anywhere else the heart desires — no glassware required.
Need more than a single serving? Consider a visit to Bedell Cellar’s Tap Room at Corey Creek, where you can purchase a growler to-go of any of the wines served on tap. These insulated metal bottles cost $30 for the growler and first fill, and can be reused whenever the occasion arises.
MAKE IT EASY
Wine in a bag
Palmer Vineyards sells 1.5 liter bags of wine, meaning no muss, no fuss and no uncorking. Sauvignon blanc is around $20 a bag, depending on the retailer.
Bridge Lane has established that wine in a box can be quite good (and stay good for about a month after opening.) Merlot, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc come in three-liter cardboard boxes for the low price of $38. That comes out to about $9.50 a bottle, if you’re taking notes.
Don’t overlook the screwcap. Many local wineries have embraced the aluminum enclosures, which not only makes opening and closing wine a snap, but eliminates the threat of cork taint. For example the majority of Paumanok Vineyards’ wines, from their riesling to cabernet sauvignon, are available in screwcap. They’re perfect for imbibing at that adorable Airbnb you rented that somehow lacks a corkscrew.
QUENCH A CROWD
Maybe a bottle isn’t enough to sate the thirst of your festive crowd. Macari Vineyards’ limited release 2010 Bergen Road (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot) is a stunning holiday wine. At $100 for 1.5 liters, it’s not cheap, but it’s well worth the extra coin. More than five years of cellaring means that this one’s ready to drink now.
If you’ve been dying to use the kegerator your husband bought a few years back (guilty), but are looking for something beyond Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., well, it’s back to Bridge Lane, which wins the award for most creative packaging on Long Island. For $240, you can invest in a disposable plastic keg of white merlot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, rosé, or their red blend. Each keg is the equivalent of 26 bottles of wine, which is probably enough to get you through this year’s holiday season.