When Pennsylvania introduced by-the-bottle wine vending machines, it caused quite a stir in the States, but as ever in matters oenological, France is far ahead of us: Some French supermarkets have gas station-like wine pumps. You bring a jug, water bottle, or what have you to the store and fill it up with red, white, or rosé, print out a receipt, and then pay prices as low as $2 a liter, or roughly $8 a gallon, for your bounty. Considering that the standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters (for the metric illiterate, that’s three-quarters of a liter), you get a lot of bang for your Euro. And did we mention it’s environmentally friendly?
Dr. Vino fills us in:
[Astrid Terzian, creator of the concept] started this scheme in fall 2008 to fill a niche, tapping into two key themes, environmental awareness and the economy. (She actually wanted to buy a wine property and run a B&B but it was too expensive. So she turned to what she says she knew how to do: sales.) The elimination of packaging mass means that the wine can be shipped much more efficiently from a cost and carbon perspective.
The cost-savings are passed on to the consumer in the form of low prices of 1.45 euros/liter (about $2/liter). She installed her first machine in June 2009 at the Cora supermarket in Dunkirk and now has them installed in eight supermarkets in France. The wines vary; one is a 2009 from the Rhone, technically a vin de pays méditerranée.
In addition to the novelty and the saving of bottles, this makes wine far cheaper for the consumer, although we imagine it’s a ways a way from catching on stateside. Bars are just now introducing wine on tap, and the matter of alcohol abuse is always a pertinent one. Moreover, would New Jersey residents be able to use it themselves, or would they need an attendant to help them out?