Friday, September 9, 2011

Make Mine Virginia Wine - And Box It Up, Please!

I'm going to talk about two often misunderstood things: Virginia wine and boxed wine. My folks loved boxed wine when I was a kid. I think it wasn't their preferred wine, but it was fairly tasty and cheap. Even as a kid, I understood that there was something funny about boxed wine. Maybe it was the silvery interior bag? Maybe it was the cork-less spout? Maybe it was the bulk-sized offering? Or maybe it was that my folks joked about it? Either way, there is something about wine in a box that always garners a chuckle.

Let me be clear. I am not a wine expert. I drink wine and my husband has dreams of growing grapes in Virginia. Last year we took a big step forward to realizing this dream when we purchased nine acres of land south of Charlottesville. In order to prepare for our future life as wine makers, we drink wine and we visit vineyards as often as possible (it's our job!).

Sometimes people complain about the cost of Virginia wine - they say it is expensive. Often times it can be. But, remember that these wine producers probably have mortgages on their land, unlike their French and Italian counterparts with more established businesses. And, with any market, there are good deals and not so good deals. It is all about finding what is tasty to you at a price point that matches your budget. And, hey (!), the more we drink it the cheaper it will be become!

Wineworks by Michael Shaps, located in Charlottesville area, is a great option. And yes, it comes in a box. Shaps makes 100% Virginia wine and has a focus on making tasty wine at a tasty price. A box offers about 4 bottles of wine and the price is nice. We purchased a box of 2009 Cabernet Franc for less than 30 bucks (on sale). This is a tasty and approachable wine. Cab Franc grows well in Virginia, and so the flavors are balanced and not beaten to oblivion with oak. With boxed wine, you aren't looking at a product to let age over the years, but you are going to have a product that will be enjoyable for weeks after opening and easy to share at parties. Plus, you won't have to worry about a corked product. So, open your hearts and minds to Shaps's boxed Virginia wine. You won't be sorry you did.


  1. Okay I'm game! I'm gonna get some to get me through my mayonnaise-making weekend!

  2. If Michael Shaps makes it, I'll drink it!

  3. It is good! I'll bring some at our next meeting!