Decanter’s online news section reports that Bordeaux négociant Cordier Mestrezat has started selling Bordeaux in a fruit-juice-box-like TetraPak with a straw. The product, called Tandem, features a special straw with four holes, so that it feels more like drinking from the glass when you suck on it. It’s being tested in Belgian supermarkets, and should be introduced in France (where resistance is expected) and in Canada (aren’t we lucky) next year.
I’m not convinced.
I’ve argued in a previous post that we may be oversensitive to packaging, and that great wine will still taste as great coming out of a bag-in-a-box than out of a glass bottle. I maintain that there can be advantages to alternative packagings.
This feels different, however, because you’re deprived of a good part of the sensory experience, when you drink through a straw, no matter how high-tech said straw is. Forget color, forget aromas, you’re just getting a quick taste through a straw – a device that some of my friends used to get drunk quicker, when I was a teenager. As a marketing ploy, it certainly doesn’t convey an idea of quality, of a special experience surrounding wine.
The marketing intention seems to be about fighting the coolers and spiked lemonades and other fruity drinks used by youngsters to get sloshed. Getting wine to compete in that manner seems a bit like dumbing down the curriculum in schools, because “the young people of today” are used to quick clips and can’t settle down long enough to do anything sustained and serious. Here, it’s like saying wine is just a fruit juice. I don’t buy it. And I won’t buy it.