Purchasing and opening a bottle of wine is a big commitment. With 5 or 6 glasses in a bottle that can easily cost hundreds of dollars, it’s easy to understand why the wine world is so intimidating to people. Bet wrong and you’re out a small fortune — and possibly wasting a whole lot of wine, too.
While devices like the Coravin and Vacu Vin have made it easier to save half-empty bottles of wine, they’re still not great options if you just want to sample something without committing to a whole bottle.
Enter Tubes, which hopes to solve a number of these problems — and expose the world to higher-end, rarer wines (and spirits) in a more affordable fashion.
Tubes is a technology, not a product you can buy, and to showcase its offerings the company recently sent a collection of products made using its tech. The idea is pretty simple: Wine is repackaged into 100ml tubes — more or less a single glass of wine, but easily shared between two people — with a container that includes some basic information about what’s in the glass. Vials are made of glass, with a sturdy metal screwcap, and the bases are flat so you can leave them standing upright — if you’re confident in your ability not to jostle the table.
Folks are using Tubes to put out tasting boxes — like Vivant‘s set of six Alsatian grand cru whites — many well-aged ($75), Catena Zapata’s malbec collection, or Vinebox‘s 12-night Advent calendar of interesting Spanish wines ($97, pictured). The Advent calendar idea is arguably the best one I’ve seen for the Tubes concept to date, as giving someone a full case of wine to consume over 12 weeks is a) costly, b) boozy, and c) ghastly expensive.
I tasted all of these wines (and more) and found them all to be well-preserved and worthwhile — the only challenge being that when you refrigerate whites, they tend to roll around in your fridge.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had wines served in test tubes — a few brands used to send out samples in a similar concept years ago — but this is the first time I’ve seen the concept commercialized on this scale. I love that high-end producers are using Tubes for their wares, giving consumers access to wines that would otherwise only be available by scouring wine shops and online stores, fingers invariably crossed.