PlatyPreserve can hold the equivalent of a 750ml bottle of wine.
—The acts of preserving and transporting partially consumed bottles of wine traditionally have been considered two separate issues, but a Seattle sporting goods manufacturer has devised a single solution. The founders of Cascade Designs Inc.
hope both consumers and the wine industry will use PlatyPreserve
to remove excess oxygen easily and securely transport and store the remaining wine for days or even weeks.
In appearance, PlatyPreserve is similar to the now familiar AstraPouch, introduced in the United States in 2010 by New York’s Glenora Winery
. Brainchild of John Burroughs, Cascade’s co-founder and chairman, PlatyPreserve has significant differences in materials, design and market.
At age 76, Burroughs remains Cascade’s chief product tester. “With any new idea,” he told Wines & Vines
, “I take it out and see if I can break it.”
Based on Cascade’s Platypus water containers, toted by backpackers for decades, PlatyPreserve is constructed of a three-layer laminate, starting with an inner polyethylene liner, a printed nylon layer and a third layer of protective film, all thermally laminated together at factories in Seattle and Ireland.
The materials, the company claims, “ensure superior leak protection and provide zero taste transfer to your wine.” Printing inks are opaque, to eliminate any potential ultra-violet damage to the wine inside.
How it works
All it requires is a steady hand. “Alternative methods might have you pump air out of the bottle or inject gas.…PlatyPreserve has you transfer your unfinished wine into an airtight reservoir.…Collapsible containers offer an easy, lightweight alternative,” company literature states.
Platypus is a flat, expandable envelope (about 6 x 12 inches) with a removable screwcap. The user pours in up to 750ml, loosely replaces the cap, squeezes air out of the top and securely tightens the cap.
Basically a bag-without-a-box, it has a gauge-line at the 350ml mark and a blank, white section to record the date, winery, variety and vintage, using dry-erase marker. “You could use a wax crayon or a ballpoint pen,” Burroughs noted, but then you wouldn’t be able to re-label it for your next wine.
Although they are recyclable, these packages are also endlessly re-usable. Once wine is consumed, just rinse with warm water (no soap) and drip-dry. “I’ve got some I’ve used this way for four or five years,” Burroughs said. “They don’t wear out.” He predicted a single PlatyPreserve could last as long as 25 years.
Can wineries play?
Wines & Vines tried the PlatyPreserve, and recommends, unless you’ve got the hands of a surgeon, making the bottle-to-bag transfer over a sink. The wine was preserved perfectly over an admittedly short trial period. We do not, however, recommend it for preserving sparkling wine: The brave bubbles valiantly resist being forced into the bag. Those that made it did not survive.
Currently, winery tasting rooms are an obvious market for the PlatyPreserve, which retails for about $10. “We have put their name on the front of the package,” for several wineries, Burroughs said. This requires a minimum order of 250 units, at a wholesale price of $4.80, plus $50 for the silkscreen personalization. To redesign the entire package, he estimated, would be another $15,000.
The existing package is bilingual English/French, to accommodate the Canadian market. “We sell quite a bit in Montreal and Quebec,” Burroughs said.
Cascade has brought the product to the past few Unified Symposium trade shows in Sacramento to show to winery personnel.
Realistically, though, Burroughs feels the larger market will be come from retailers like Whole Foods and Safeway. “We’re not there yet. No one wants to work with a single SKU,” he acknowledged. “We’re trying to get them into the Container Store.” Currently, the best retailers are sporting goods stores like REI and Eastern Mountain.
Its makers recommend the “Platy” for those who want to drink a glass or two, and also those who like to open more than one bottle at a time.
For more information, Burroughs asked that retailers or winemakers phone Kerry in Cascade’s marketing department, (206) 676-1400.