Yep you read that right, wine is now being distributed in test tubes. Actually it’s been a thing for quite a number of years however I haven’t come across much of it in Australia or New Zealand. So is it just another cheap alternative to the bottle like box wine/goon? Not quite my fellow wine lovers.
A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to be sent a Secret Bottle tasting pack. This pack included 3 vials of wine, or test tubes if you will. Each tube had a 60ml ‘taste’ inside of a local Australian wine. The concept behind these tasting packs is to try a variety of wines at a cost-effective price. The tasting tube packs you can get on an automatic monthly subscription (no lock in contracts FYI) for $17 including shipping which is not too bad. It’s a great idea for those wanting to learn more about wine and different tastes without having to buy full bottles all the time.
So naturally I had a bit of fun with my sample pack and made a few jokes about drinking it from the tube when in fact I actually sat down with a nice Riedel wine glass and did proper tasting notes one afternoon. I really wanted to see if the wine was noticeably different – which maybe would have been better if I went and got a bottle of each to compare – but hey I trust my palate can still pick up quality levels when needed.
Check me out drinking wine from a test tube on Instagram.
How is test tube wine made?
So before I get stuck into what I thought of the wines – how exactly is test tube wine made? I spoke with Paul, from Secret Bottle who told me a bit about the process of creating these little vials of goodness.
Basically it is a bottling machine where you load a 750ml bottle of wine which then pneumatically (air pressure) dispenses the wine with the nitrogen into the tubes before being sealed with a screw cap (caps much like you get on your regular bottles of wine). The tubes are also primed with nitrogen prior to the wine going in. The nitrogen basically helps minimise the impact of any oxidisation to the wine. This process means the wine in its little test tube can now maintain a shelf life of approximately 5-6 months.
It’s a pretty cool way to create sample sizes of wines. As like anything, of course this sort of packaging will have a slight impact on the wine. But then again, so many things can impact the taste of a wine you’re drinking from the type of glass you use to where you are and the atmosphere. Jeeze even your mood can affect what you think of a wine. That’s why there’s certain people in the wine world who can push all the distractions aside and taste a wine for what it is – i.e. wine judges, reviewers, etc.
Were my test tube wines any good?
That’s the golden question right. To be honest all my samples were pretty spot on – they tasted just as they would if coming out of a bottle in my opinion – the only issue I faced was that 60ml was definitely not enough. By the time I gave Mr. Spittoon a sip, and then did my analysis I was left high and dry. That teaches me for sharing!
Haha but in all honesty, I think these tasting samples are a great idea, it was a bit of at-home-tasting-party fun for one!
I liked how in the box, each wine came with a tasting card that explained about the region, the winery and the wine (including cellar door and Secret Bottle prices). It was also very cool that the pack came with a card to explain how to taste wine and aromas to look out for. Very cool!
So here are the wines I received and my thoughts on them:
Tatler 2013 Chardonnay, Hunter Valley NSW
Pale golden on the eye with a gorgeous oaky, buttery, creamy nose. The palate surprised me after the nose with its crisp juicy apple finish and beautiful elegant flavours of honeyed nectarine and peach mid-palate. Yum!
Hewitson 2013 Grenache, Mouvedre, Shiraz, Cinsault & Carignan, Barossa Valley SA
Love that line-up of grape varieties in the mix! Garnet on the eye with blackberry, spice and cedar on the nose. The palate is dark, sexy and concentrated.
Gem Tree ‘Sacred Tree’ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, SA
Inky deep red-purple colour on the eye. The aromatics rush out of the glass with gusto – dark fruit and chocolate. Full bodied palate yet very approachable. This baby made me crave a big juicy steak!
So there you have it, that was my experience with drinking wine out of test tubes! For more information please check out the Secret Bottle website or connect with them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.