Bigger is better: Gru Vee in one liter

berger_hoferWe all know bigger is better. No, not that way; get your mind out of the gutter. When it comes to wine, the reason is at least twofold. First, a bigger bottle has a lower carbon footprint per ounce of wine because there’s a more favorable wine to packaging ratio. Second, more wine!

I’m not sure how important the first of these two reasons is for wine consumers but the second is one of those things that everybody can agree is a good thing.

And so they have. Jonathan Schwartz, the hirsute portfolio manager of Terry Theise wines for distributor Michael Skurnik, says that sales of his five one-liter Gruner Veltliners from Austria have been zooming. “Restaurants like them because it’s an extra glass and a half per bottle for wine-by-the-glass pours. Wine shop customers like them because it’s a glass and a half more wine.” (A standard bottle has 750 ml.)

crown_cap_bergerHe said that people are interested in the closure too, which on the Hofer and the Berger, the two best selling of the wines, is a crown cap (think: beer).

So which is better? I tasted them at the Skurnik tasting today. Both are simple versions of Gruner Veltliner, clean and zesty with a minerally verve. The 08 Berger (about $11; find the 2007 or the 2008) is slightly softer and the 08 Hofer slightly more tart (about $11; find the 2007 or the 2008). The wines are both an easy extension for people who love pinot grigio but are looking for something new. Hofer is made biodynamically, which goes to show that biodynamics and low price are not antithetical to each other. Berger is practicing organic. Gru Vee.

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8 Responses to “Bigger is better: Gru Vee in one liter”

  1. I really liked the Hofer GV, though the crown cap made me a bit skeptical at first. Only problem–in our family, just two of us drink wine, and my husband doesn’t like Gru Vee much, so it wasn’t as fresh and delicious for me on day 4. If I were a restaurant owner I’d love it, though.

  2. I cannot keep them on my shelf!!!

    I am just happy that they are back in.

    Had a hell of a time when they ran out. Angry mobs of East Villagers. Took the bottle to a sushi joint with BYOB meeting up with friends. Big hit!!

    Oh and it is a good wine. Just like you said Doc: simple, zesty, well-rounded with some minerals swimming around. All this depending on the vintage but generally that is what people cant get enough of. It’s good stuff!


  3. I’m happy to see you were able to photoshop out my bandaged finger!

  4. Wow, so that means Jay-Z was trying to reduce his carbon footprint with the Champagne he purchased–those bottles make perfect sense now.

    The crown cap is an interesting addition, this is actually the first time I’ve seen it. Have they been around for a while and I just haven’t kept an open eye?

  5. I personally am ready for beer caps, or anything else that will reduce the insane percentage of corked wines, on grand cru Burgundy.

  6. Thanks for the post Tyler. I will keep my eyes peeled but I know that, unfortunately:
    a) neither of these wines will be available in my area; and
    b) if they are they will be 50% higher priced.

    Still, one liter of a fresh and respectable gruner sounds good to me!

  7. I’ve enjoyed the Berger for some time for a cheap GV which tastes good. I haven’t seen the newest vintages and don’t remember it having a crown cap. When did this start? Didn’t it used to have a screw top of some type?

    I haven’t seen the Hofer around my parts nearly as much whereas the Berger is everywhere.


  8. […] especially the ones with crown caps, is that they emit an aura of unpretentiousness. [Such as Hofer and Berger –ed.] But when you taste the wine, it’s surprisingly good. It’s been for us, mostly an Austria […]


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