Through the many years of winemaking, we’ve seen lots of various specialty wine bottles. From time to time, winemakers will purposely choose a new bottle shape to stand out from the crowd and get a better chance of being recognized and remembered by the consumer market. It’s a risky marketing move but if it works, it’s half the bottle … Uh, battle.
Back when I wrote my bottle shapes and sizes article (twelve basic wine bottle shapes), I did not know about the existence of Truett-Hurst Wines, the company behind California Square & Co. and the one-of-a-kind square wine bottles.
The square bottle is already used for many things: olive oil, vinegar (how ironic), whisky, liquor, soap, empty containers or decorative items. But wine? This is definitely new, and Wine Ponder likes new things, especially when wine is involved ; )
Wine bottles have always been round. Why you ask? Well, I came up with quite a few reasons:
1. In addition to being stronger and more shock resistant, they hold pressure a lot better than square bottles.
2. Back in the days, when glass was hand-blown, it was more common to produce a round bottle. The round spherical shape was easier to roll and forge. Due to the rudimentary methods of fabrication, square glass would have a tendency to chip and fracture in the corners.
3. Making square bottles is expensive, round is cheaper to mass produce. You need proof? When was the last time you saw a square bottle of Coke? … I rest my case.
4. The round shape of wine bottles simply rolled off the one of its predecessor: the amphora. Based on primordial fabrication methods, pottery only allowed for round shapes when made on the a pottery wheel.
5. How else would you play “Spin The Bottle”? I mean seriously… Think of all the couples that wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the existence of round bottles!
So why would anyone make square wine bottles, when everyone is so conventionally used to the round bottle shape? Like I said earlier in this article, it allows the winemaker to stand out and send a definite message about the wine, even before you get a chance to taste it. The winemaker is creating a visual identity that no one else is using, thus eliminating a certain percentage of his competition.
This is quite a bold marketing move for any company. It will either work on not and there’s not much that can be said or done before it is placed on the shelves of your local wine merchant. With the right promotion and awareness, people will start buying the stuff and so it starts. According to winemaker Ginny Lambrix, “Introducing an alternative package is tricky. The wine inside has to over deliver and create a memorable impression for the consumer.”
California Square & Co. was launched in Ontario on May 29th, 2014. The inventive wine is packaged in a custom made square bottle and aims to reduce environmental impact in a fun and tasty way. California Square is an environmentally-friendly wine. By combining winemaker Ginny Lambrix’s philosophy of sustainable farming and the reduced packaging for California Square, the production methods from vineyard to shelf “helps save millions of trees”.
The winemaker wanted to “shake up the common preconceptions of what wine should look like in a way that not only makes sense, but changes the traditional wine bottles into something hip and cool.” She claims that California Square makes packing sense, shipping sense, storage sense, and lifestyle sense with endless recycling and reusing opportunities. The elegantly etched square bottle begs for re-use and display. Try using it to hold olive oil, candy, flowers, or even a candle – the possibilities are endless.
Uh oh… Will this new wine bottle dethrone the infamous Chianti bottle and its decorative dominance?
Truett-Hurst Inc. is known for their ingenious and creative packaging endeavors. They own multiple wine labels, such as Paper Boy, The Fugitive, The Wine With No Name, The Criminal, Nearly Beloved, and more…
Steve J. (the other writer on this blog) got himself a couple of bottles of California Square wine and gave them a try…
This 2012 Chardonnay comes from the heart of the Russian River Valley, which is known for some amazing Chardonnays. I would categorize this one on the lighter side. It’s not big and buttery or heavily oaked. There is a bit of minerality, freshness and some floral and fruit. Think of it as a combination of barrel-aged and stainless, and that’s what it tastes like. Upon further research on the winemaker’s website, 70% of the wine was fermented in french oak and the rest was stainless. This pairs great with fish tacos covered in mango salsa… My mouth’s watering now just thinking about it…
This 2012 Three Red Blend is a great value for $15! It is a blend of five different varietals: Petite Sirah and Syrah give it the base of blueberries, cherries, chocolate and spice. Sangiovese and Zinfandel give it blackberry and raspberry jam. The Merlot fills in the mid-palate and gives it plum and juiciness. I’m not sure why they call it three red blend since there are five types of grapes in it. But then once you taste it, who cares… It really is a nice blend from Paso Robles. And according to the bottle, it pairs well with braised red meats as well as pastas with tangy tomato sauces. Yum…
According to the their website, California Square & Co. wine is available exclusively at Total Wine & More for $14.99 (They make a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a red blend).
I know I’m a bit of a square, but I like round bottles. That said, I hate going around in circles, so I will give “square” a whirl, only to be fair and square. Who knows… square might be the new round ; )
Here is to square wine bottles! … Cheers!