ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I had a discussion with a friend about low-cost, bag-in-box wines. He said in order to lower the production costs, the company imported wine powder from South Africa to produce the wine. Is that possible?

—Efthimios S., Greece

Dear Efthimios,

No, I don’t think that’s possible. As I wrote a few months ago, powdered forms of alcohol are in development, but not yet available.

But the whole bag-in-box thing is used on a larger scale for importing large quantities of wine. “Bladders” (I’ve also heard them referred to as “flexitanks”) of wine have become an industry standard for shipping bulk wine, as well as other beverages, from one country to another. By not shipping the weight of all of those bottles, importers can cut down on shipping costs, then bottle the wine onsite and charge less for it. I’ve seen wine bladders in oil drums, but I’ve heard there are bladders large enough to line an entire shipping container.

—Dr. Vinny


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