The Vinebox Cometh: 12 Nights of Wine

14 11 2018

After 7+ years of blogging about and immersing myself in wine, I am in many ways an open book about what I like and don’t like, vinously speaking — there are now over 450 posts on this site, and other musings elsewhere, that spell out exactly what gets me pumped about a new product or wine experience.  Three of the things that rank high on the good side of my ledger, backed up emphatically by past history, are (1) savvy labelling and branding (my love of which is the basis for every Cork Rating I’ve ever done), (2) clever alternative packaging (bring me your wines in cans, your 1L bottles, and everything in between), and (3) Advent calendars.  If you rolled your eyes about the last one, feel free to consult PnP’s 125+ December postings over the past four years and then get back to me…if I’m not a boozy Advent authority by now, I never will be.  As we approach another holiday season, little did I expect to be dumbfounded by a sleek, shiny, downright sexy combination of all three of these things.  Meet Vinebox:


Oh yes.  It gets better.  Take a look inside:


OH YES.  Bring it.  That’s what I’m talking about.

Vinebox is a San Francisco-based company that, up until right this minute, was a US-only subscription service for by-the-glass-sized portions of new, interesting, high-quality wines.  This special holiday release box marks their first foray into the Canadian market, and luckily for us locals, it is exclusive to Richmond Hill Wines and a select few other boutiques right here in Calgary.  Given my prior history of Advent proselytizing, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Vinebox’s 12 Nights of Wine holiday kit is not technically an Advent calendar, as it offers 12 different holiday wine offerings instead of the classic Advent 24-day December countdown to Christmas.  It is instead intended to mirror the 12 days of Christmas (which, I was shocked to discover, all actually occur AFTER Christmas — they run from December 25th through January 5th, marking the time in Christian lore that it took the three wise men to arrive and visit the newborn Jesus…mind formally blown).  Practically speaking, this means that you can either crack a glass on every even day in December as a sort of quasi-Advent replacement (or get two and create your very own full-scale Advent calendar, with a critical revisit of each offering every second day) or get the coolest Christmas gift ever for somebody to enjoy on Christmas Day and the next eleven following.


In recent years, because the progress of the species is a real and abiding thing, we have seen a proliferation of wine, beer and spirits-based Advent and holiday calendars in a variety of shapes and sizes.  What sets the Vinebox addition to this growing December lineup apart is the unique and patented way the wines are delivered, in Stelvin-enclosed, test tube-like — yet still amazingly labelled and producer-branded! — 100 mL glass cylinders that make a stunning visual impression.


Vinebox uses a closed nitrogen-heavy environment at their facilities to extract their chosen wines from their original bottles or other vessels and then insert them into their new smaller portion-sized homes without the wine ever coming into contact with oxygen and without it ever losing its flavour profile or stability.  Each 100 mL tube equates to slightly less than an average-sized glass (a standard pour would allow for 5 glasses of wine per 750 mL bottle, making an average glass 150 mL), allowing for a solid if not substantial sample of the daily pour…which would also allow for the potential of a multi-Advent calendar intake this December, as I gleefully experienced last year and which I would highly recommend.  Vinebox seeks out high-end, lesser-known artisanal producers mainly from western Europe, only working with about 1% of the wines they try in an aim to keep quality high and the product as intriguing as possible.  Expect a high dose of the classics, albeit from names you wouldn’t be able to track down elsewhere or sub-areas that haven’t been given their full chance to shine.


The Twelve Nights of Wine retails for $129 + GST (or just a shade over 10 bucks a wine) and is available for sale as of tomorrow, November 15th.  This particular box selection isn’t available in the US or anywhere else, so if you want it you’ll have to swing by a participating YYC shop to find it.  Stay tuned to this site for daily write-ups of the holiday wine vials on offer as the Days of Christmas arrive — Vinebox buyers will also get access to a “Reveal” website with full details and information about each day’s wine, but there’s no way I’m going to give you the website address now, since that would defeat the purpose and cheaters never prosper.  With any luck, this will be the first of many Vinebox products that will grace our retail shelves, as each box is a fun, aesthetically thrilling, professionally curated way to get a small taste of what the wine world has to offer.  These will sell out fast, so find one and follow along with us next month!  Happy Holidays!




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