Sippy box Bordeaux a big gamble

Boxed wine is nothing new on the American market, and many European countries are selling it as well. The thing is, most such wines are run-of-the-mill. Would they sell even better if they came from a high-level French producer?

Cordier Mestrezat Grands Crus (above), an upscale Bordeaux house for more than 100 years, is hoping that will be the case with its new offering, called Tandem. It's quite a departure from Cordier's top-shelf wines which can go for four figures.

Tandem is packaged in an 8.5-ounce carton containing red, white or rosé wines. Each carton has a straw with four holes, which is supposed to spray the wine into the consumer's mouth and, thus, mimic the sensation to drinking from a glass.

The winemaker is test marketing Tandem in 600 supermarkets in Belgium at $2.50 a carton. It will go on sale in France next year and abroad as well.

Cordier officials says they are trying to attract younger consumers in a market that is seeing a dropoff in sales of French wine in favor of American and South American imports and, indeed, a dropoff in wine sales in general as spirits gains market share.

"It is a product that can sell in stadiums, hotels and airlines," Vincent Bonhur, Cordier's head of marketing, said in a press release. "In France, the wine market is still very traditional, but in markets such as Canada, the U.K. and Northern Europe, this new format should be a hit."

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