Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wine in a Box? Get your "wine on" Costa Rica style

I have read on numerous sites, from numerous sources, that wine is not a very popular drink in Costa Rica. Ticos seem to prefer beer or rum.
Now of course, just because they don't grow wine grapes in Costa Rica doest mean you can't get wine. Wine grapes cannot grow in hot, humid weather. That fact helps to drive up wine prices.  One way to keep prices down is to drink box wine.  Being a California girl I am not accustomed to sipping my wine from a box. So to find out what kind of wine my fellow expats drink...I took to social media and posted the question on one of the Costa Rica forums I belong to. And boy did I get answers. 
Two hundred and seventy of them to be exact!

here's what they told me-  Expats are, in fact, still enjoying wine and bottle wine is available. The most popular are from Chile, Argentina and Spain. However the cost can be double the price of wine in the U.S.  Many expats have moved to Costa Rica and are living on less money so they are not interested in spending so much of their disposable income on wine.  So they look for ways to budget,  I received loads of advice about which wines to drink and where to buy them.  One hint was to buy them at the duty free shop by the baggage claim.  There are also a few wine clubs which can help you save some money. 

One of the favorite box wine favorites is by Clos, an inexpensive Chilean box wine

A couple of commenters suggested trying a Malbec, bottle wine.  I've had Malbec before. So, later that evening we made a trip to our local Whole Foods to select a bottle of Malbec. 

While we were in the store, guess what we saw??
this brand new display!
Go figure! 

So we bought our first box wines (a mini Pinot Grigio and a mini Chardonnay).  We opened (and drank) the Chardonnay during the 49er game on Sunday (haven't checked out the Pinot yet).  I have to admit, it really wasn’t that bad (although my other half gave it a thumbs down). Certainly not anything close to that awful 2 buck chuck. I could actually drink this.  I’ve been paying a hefty penny for the Wente Brothers Rivas Ranch Chardonnay which I took a liking to after our recent visit to the Wente Vinyards.

The 500ml minis are priced @ $5.99 and the 3-liter is $23.99 @ Whole Foods
Great Wine Shouldn't Cost the Earth
About Bota Box

Premium wine in a box? You bet! Bota Box produces premium California wine in 3-liter box and 500ml Tetra Pak, both made from environmentally-friendly packaging. Bota Box 3L is packaged in 100% recyclable, unbleached, post-consumer fiber printed with soy-based inks. Using state of the art FlexTap™ technology, our wine is kept fresh for up to six weeks after opening, allowing consumers to enjoy a glass of our award-winning wine without worrying about waste or spoilage. Bota Box offers ten popular 3-liter wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Shiraz, Old Vine Zinfandel, and a red blend called RedVolution.
box wine missing the cap
But we had a little issue.  A problem with the cap. It came completely separated from the box and caused the wine to dribble down the side of the glass and onto the table. We finally had to resort to a funnel. Hopefully this was just a bad box, or possibly we removed the cap incorrectly.

box wine cap which came right out of the box
Now I dare say that I doubt the box wine they have in Costa Rica is as good as the Bota Box, but I’ll wait until I get there and can sample theirs BEFORE I make that decision. So stay tuned. 

As I was advised on the forum "don't knock it till you've tried it." 
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