I've written before how in our household we always have one or more bottles of wine open in the fridge. Modern wine, especially New Zealand, Australian and American wines are generally made in non-oxygenated styles and benefit from being opened to the point where we keep wine open for up to a week and it is still pleasant drinking.
This of course means that, red or white, they are kept in the refrigerator, not on a warm kitchen bench.
We're finding that we don't have as many visitors dropping in now, especially since we've relocated to a remote area so the opened wines are more likely to be just one or two variants, not the three or four of the past. In addition we aren't drinking as much as we used to which is I guess just another one of those things that happen as you grow older.
What I would really like is to have a comprehensive selection of half bottles of wine so that wine tasting drinking can be more enjoyable without the commitment to imbibing full bottles of the stuff.
When I first stated in the industry New Zealand and even Australian wine was not as popular and available as it is today and (I'm talking 1970s here) good stuff was very hard to find. The predominance of wine was European and most brands and styles had offerings in 375ml bottles along with the 750ml ones.
This all changed in the 1990s with supply chain and production efficiencies driving down costs while increasing volumes and one of the casualties was the disappearance of the 375ml quality wine. Today it's almost impossible to find a chardonnay, pinot noir or indeed any decent varietals in 375ml packaging, the only consistent offerings being sweet white wines, champagne and sparkling wines.
Producers have decided that consumers (or not enough of them) are willing to pay the premium that production of smaller size bottles demands. It's not just the cost of the volume of wine or the tax that makes up the cost (half) as the cost of the bottles, labels, packaging and bottling labour costs are nowhere near half of that of the 750ml variant and in the case of small production runs can be more expensive. Bottling lines are configured for 750ml runs and anything outside of this is a costly hassle.
Furthermore, wine retailing is stacked in favour of big chains whether supermarket or not to a factor of 80:20 and these customers just want to move as much product as quickly as possible so can't be arsed about fiddly other sized packaging. Bugger what the consumer wants.
There have been many wine column's and wine blog posts written about how half bottles of wine are the 'next big thing' but I challenge anyone to try and find any decent half bottles that are available with continuity of supply. Doing internet searches and trawling in-line retailers offerings is a fruitless endeavour as is going to individual winery websites. I know that Thorndon New world in Wellington has a small selection of half bottles but their website won't show these. I've purchased Te Mata Elston Chardonnay there in a half bottle but Te Mata's own website makes no mention of this.
As soon as I find a supplier, at a reasonable price (and I'm prepared to pay a premium) of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris I'll happily buy cases of the stuff. The frustrating things is where.
i'll keep trawling and will update this post should I find any.
Please comment if you know of any.