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To Infinity (Bottling) and Beyond -- a New Era for Tablas Creek Wine Boxes

By Chelsea Franchi

Tablas Creek is well-versed in the meaning of partnership.  After all, in business and practice, we are a partnership ourselves.  This winery was built upon the personal and professional relationship of two esteemed families: the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel and the Haas Family of Vineyard Brands.  This initial partnership not only shaped our present approach to business but also serves as a guiding principle in nurturing future collaborations.  We take great pride in the work we put forth in the vineyard, the cellar, and the business, so any ancillary associations we forge have some high standards to live up to.

In addition to taking pride in how we conduct ourselves with others, we prioritize sustainability and recognize the profound impact our actions have on the planet.  In 2022, we released our first wine packaged in the bag-in-box format.  This radical decision was driven by several factors, many of which Jason has outlined in previous blog posts (also here, here and here) but at its core was reducing our carbon footprint.  Bag-in-box packaging offers an impressive 84% reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional glass bottles.  However, venturing into the realm of boxed wine presented challenges due to our smaller production scale.  Dry goods (the bags and boxes) are difficult to source at a reasonable minimum order quantity and companies that have traditionally filled bags for boxed wine are built to run tens of thousands of bags in a day.  We were able to source packaging supplies from a company that works with our scale and we purchased a small semi-automatic filling machine, enabling us to launch our boxed wine program.

After six successful runs during 2022 and 2023 of the three colors of Patelin de Tablas, we decided it was time to increase production so we could send a small number of boxes out into the market (so you may now see them on the shelf of your favorite wine shop!)  This expanded production meant we needed to find a packaging partner with expertise in bottling; as much as we'd like to keep everything in-house, we simply don't have the time to do it all ourselves.

We'd been in close contact with the team at Really Good Boxed Wine - a high-end boxed wine project started in 2021 - and their guidance was an invaluable resource as we navigated our way through this new-to-us world of boxed wine.  Jake, the founder of RGBW, connected us with Infinity Bottling in Napa Valley, as they had recently invested in a bag-in-box filling machine that would be able to accommodate our production amounts.

Infinity ExteriorInfinity Bottling in American Canyon

A few months, some Zoom meetings, phone calls, and countless emails later, we loaded portable tanks of the 2023 Patelin de Tablas Blanc onto a temperature-controlled semi-truck bound for Infinity Bottling.  On the day of the boxing, I drove up to tour the facility, observe the boxing run, and meet the Infinity crew in person.  It was well worth the trip.  The facility is gleaming and maintained with obvious care, the team is small and tight with strong leadership at the helm, and the quality control is continuous, consistent, and robust.  The team's efficiency and expertise ensured a seamless boxing process, giving us peace of mind knowing our wine was in capable, caring hands.  Partnering with Infinity Bottling underscored our commitment to working with companies that share our values of excellence and integrity while simultaneously reflecting our dedication to delivering only the highest quality wines to our customers.

Here's a little of what the process looked like (compare, if you'd like, to what it looked like when we were doing it in-house):

Bags Being Filled at InfinityThe semi-automatic Torr filling machine manned by a bottling expert at Infinity

Close up of Case BoxTablas Creek 3L boxes getting sealed shut

Full Pallet at InfinityFinished 3L boxes are packaged in case boxes and palletized for shipping

This journey has led us to outstanding partners and immersed us in a community of like-minded individuals striving to redefine industry standards.  If you're curious about that community, check out the new Alternative Packaging Alliance, which we and six other brands formed earlier this year to help spread the word on this customer-friendly, low-carbon package.  Whether it's reducing the carbon footprint of packaging, elevating the quality of boxed wine, or maintaining impeccable standards in the packaging process, we're thrilled to be part of this exciting and transformative movement.  We've found some excellent partners, indeed.

2023 Patelin Blanc four bottles and one boxPatelin Blanc in a 3L box and its bottled equivalent