Wine in a Bag?

posted Jun 29, 2011, 8:42 PM by Paul Wagner
Full disclosure:  P is a pretty much internationally recognized wine expert in his real life.  So he often receives samples of wine from people who hope that he will fall in love with them and tell everyone about them.  He doesn't have to pay for those wines.  He doesn't have to write about them, either, unless the wines are really good, and he gets kind of excited about them. 
This is one of those wines.
A few weeks ago an interesting package arrived: a bag of wine from Clif Winery.  (Yes, the same people who make Clif Bars etc., also have a winery.  And they are big supporters of lots of athletic activities, including cycling, hiking, and getting people outdoors.  That earns them points in our book--and on our blog!) 
This isn't the first wine ever packaged in a bag---but most of those bags are then packaged in a box.  This wine, called The Climber, is just the bag: no box. And so it is about as light as you can make a magnum of wine.  Yep, you got that right.  1.5 liters of wine in a single bag.  It has a convenient loop or two so that you can carry with a finger, a loop of rope....and P's bag even came with a cute little carabiner that you wouldn't actually want to trust your life to on a rappel....but cute, nevertheless.
So all that is well and good, and the packaging seems to work.  (Bags for wine are as old as goatskins, but the modern versions do a very good job of keeping the wine fresh and away from oxygen, which is what makes old wine taste old.  The bag collapses as the wine disappears....and there's no nasty air contact at all.  The last glass is every bit as good as the first!)
Why did he decide to write about The Climber?  Because the wine is really quite tasty.  In fact, it was a big hit around the office.  And when P discussed it with a fellow enology faculty member at Napa College, he found that just about everybody thought this wine was good--including some very well-known winemakers in the Napa Valley.  Cabernet Sauvignon that is full of flavor, nicely balanced, and should go just fine with any number of those freeze dried dinners...
Now I don't think that we are about to carry a magnum of wine up into the backcountry.  That's a lot of wine for the two of us to drink, and a lot of weight to carry for the days it would take us to drink it.  And while the package is much lighter than glass packaging, it's not as recyclable, so that's a concern over the long haul.
But if you are going out with a group and want to take something good to drink,  we're very comfortable recommending The Climber for both the convenient packaging and the quality of the wine inside the bag.
Just don't finish off the magnum while you are still on the face of El Capitan...