What’s so meta?

Everything seems pretty meta nowadays, with the entire world of knowledge and information just a click away. The perception of wine as your mom’s Chard or your dad’s Cab has expanded to the entire world of wine options, and Meta Wine takes wine consumers there and beyond.

“Meta” is a classical Greek word dating back over 3,000 years; a prefix that suggests a higher level of abstraction to the word it modifies. For example, metaphysics is the study of the physical world through broader concepts to define reality and our fundamental understanding of it.

Meta Wine expands on the definition of wine, beyond what is traditionally expected, or a wine that it rooted in a brand or label. Removing the constraints and formalities of wine culture enables a higher level of appreciation for wine with infinite possibilities.

Fast forward to today, and meta has been adopted by popular culture as an adjective that means something akin to “consciously self-referential.” For example, “meta data” is data about data.

Meta Wine enables customers to consume and enjoy wine the way they want it every time. Wine becomes consciously self-referential, as wine that is about the customer.

What is a winery doing here?

Of course by here you mean Evanston, Illinois. Not quite traditional wine country, most would say. And wasn’t Evanston once the driest town in America?

But despite offering wine in a way that is not currently offered in the United States, Meta Wine operates as a winery in a fashion found very commonly throughout Europe’s wine producing regions.

Indeed, this is how wine was offered for thousands of years, as old as a clay amphora found sitting at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

And in the United States, up until Prohibition, city-dwelling immigrants would buy grapes that arrived by train, in bulk, and bring the grapes to be processed either in a basement or neighborhood facility, and then to be aged in bottles.

Why have I never seen wine sold like this before?

Maybe you have, if you remember buying wine in the United States before the advent of Prohibition in 1920. Or perhaps if you experienced this mode for wine consumption while traveling abroad, as it has existed all along in Italy as vino sfuso at a cantina sociale, or Spain as vino a granel at a bodega, or France as vin en vrac. Or, if you have traveled to these countries and others and eaten at a local restaurant and enjoyed their wine in a carafe, you have tried wine in this way (after all, why would someone pour wine from a wine bottle into a carafe?).

Meanwhile, in the United States we have a deeply engrained wine culture and powerful wine and alcohol distribution industry that likes things “business as usual” ever since the repeal of Prohibition.

But the explosive growth of the craft beer industry, and the new modes of marketing and consuming beer has opened the door for wine.

Why would anyone buy wine that’s not in a traditional wine bottle?

Any wine that is not sold in a 750ml glass bottle is considered wine in innovative packaging. And wine in innovative packaging has seen its market grow by over 20 percent every year since 2000.

Consumers are gravitating towards wine in innovative packaging because it is vastly more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly than the traditional glass bottle.

While the familiarity of the glass bottle and label are valuable to both wine consumers and marketers, it is no longer necessary since we now carry with us nearly the totality of knowledge developed in the entire history of humanity in a device a little bigger than a deck of cards.

Back to the glass bottle: 80 percent of wine bottles get landfilled, and 20 get recycled. Almost none are retained by the consumer. So what’s is the real value in these things anyway?

What’s in it for me?

Wine, delicious wine, from the great wine regions of the world, some of which you are perfectly familiar, other varietals you have never heard of by must try. All offered as an exceptional economic value.

The efficiency that we gain through disrupting the supply chain and changing the way that wine is marketed, we pass along to customers by offering wine of a higher quality at a lower price.

An example of this efficiency is found in our shipment of wine. When wine is shipped in a cardboard case of bottles on a pallet, each case is comprised of just over 50 percent air between the cardboard and the glass.

By shipping wine in bulk, we cut our shipping costs in half, as well as our carbon footprint, but shipping twice as much wine as could be shipped in bottles. This is one example of about 10 transactions across the supply chain where we achieve this economic efficiency and green economy benefit.

What’s this blending all about?

Many wine consumers know the wine that they enjoy, but don’t know much about it. Many do not realize that some of the great wines of the world – Chianti, Bordeaux, Cote de Rhone – are all blends comprised of different grape varietals.

Most wines sold as varietals that are produced in the United States are required to have a certain amount of that specified varietal, say 85 percent, to be called that particular varietal. But a Cabernet Suavignon from Napa may well have 15 percent Merlot added to it, in order to improve its flavor (or profit margin for the producer).

Wines often benefit from being blended, as one varietal may provide good structure and backbone, another might provide some delicious fruity characteristics, and another might impart some sophisticated spicy counter-notes to the overall flavor profile.

But please note that in wine blending, at least at Meta Wine, there are no rules other than that you have a great time experimenting to find the wine that you like, that is suited to you.