The Loh Down On Science

Out of the Box

Can boxed wine have grape expectations?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

These days, it’s hard to be a snooty wine-o-phile! Even the good stuff comes in boxes.
Top vintners are choosing bag-in-a-box packaging for cost and environmental reasons.
But how do these containers affect wine over time?

Food scientists at the University of California, Davis, recently tested some California Chardonnay. They stored samples in different packaging. Some they put in glass bottles, some in boxes.

They kept the samples at three different temperatures: fifty, seventy, and one-hundred degrees. Sensors in the containers tracked oxygen content. After three months they tested the flavor and chemistry.

And? At the higher temperatures, all the samples suffered. But boxed wine turned vinegary faster. Why? Oxygen gets through the boxes' inner plastic, reacting with wine compounds and affecting taste. Glass bottles? Keep oxygen out.

But at fifty degrees, all the samples aged just fine.

So keep boxed wine cool.

Or just drink it sooner. I "hear" that works too.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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