Copa di Vino: It ain’t Copa di Caymus

So there I was . . . saving money and living better at WalMart, when I rounded the cereal aisle and ran straight into this:

copa

Copa di what?

Copa di Vino . . . Cup ‘o Wine.

And now Barry Manilow is singing in my head.  At the Copa . . .

It’s a clever idea.  We have single serving beer, why not single serving wine?  But the critical question and bottomline for any wine lover/connoisseur/snob/brat is this:  Is the wine any good?  Will I want to smuggle an armful of them into a hockey game, concert, or a PTA meeting at the bottom of my purse?

After investing in the entire Copa lineup ($21 for all 7 flavors), I came home and started doing a little research.

Copa di Vino was founded by entrepreneur James Martin.  Long story short:  Inspired by single-serve wines he spotted while riding a bullet train in France, Martin eventually partners with Pascal Carvin (the original inventor/bottler), and Copa di Vino is born.

Martin (and Copa di Vino) appeared on the television show, Shark Tank.  Twice.  And twice Martin rejected offers from the Sharks.  Once because the investor shark was only interested in the single-serve technology (not the wine), and Martin didn’t want to separate the two.  Martin thought the second offer was a low ball offer, so off he went without an investor shark.

BTW, the Sharks tried the Copa di Vino wines.  Their faces looked like they had just ingested battery acid.  One of the Sharks said, “Don’t come and tell me this is premium wine.  It’s not. It’s just industrial wine.”  Ouch.  Is it that bad?

Copa’s Facebook page says Copa is “a brilliantly simple idea of bottling premium wine directly into a glass”.  There’s that word again.  Premium.  But I’m having fits trying to figure out who makes the premium wine that goes into the Copa cups.  The Moscato and Merlot Copas say “Product of Chile” and the remaining Copas all say “Columbia Valley”.

Beyond that, the information seems to be a corporate secret.  Seriously.  The recipe for Coca-Cola is less of a mystery.

I sent two emails to Team Copa inquiring about the wine in the Copa cups.  And I got two quick responses in return.  One said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t disclose that information”.  The other said all Copa Di Vino wines are made at The Sunshine Mill (Copa’s headquarters), using juice they import from Chile (for the Moscato and Merlot), or with local juice from the Columbia Valley for the other wines in the Copa lineup.

So I still have no idea where in the Columbia Valley and Chile the  “juice” is coming from.  I understand proprietary trade secrets.  Really, I do.  But it doesn’t mean I’m not frustrated.  Really frustrated.

frustrated

I just have to let it go.

Here’s the entire Copa di Vino lineup . . . Let the tasting begin!

DSCN2760

My husband says all the Copas lined up like this look like urine samples.  And someone is badly dehydrated.  I’d tell him that’s a horrible thing to say . . . if it weren’t a little bit true. And a little bit funny.

General observations about the Copa cups:

  • Each Copa is 187ml, which is 6.32322 ounces.
  • The Copa is a very sturdy, glass-mimicking plastic.  It feels like glass in your hand.
  • The foil closure reminds me of the Jello you get in a hospital.

DSCN2773

Disclaimer:  I tasted the Copa line-up, and I was disappointed.  For the sake of scientific inquiry, and to make sure I wasn’t having a warped-palate day, I phoned a friend to come over and give her opinion.  And then I asked my husband to taste and opine, too.  What follows is a mash-up of our tasting notes.

Sidebar:  There are no tasting notes of any kind for Copa di Vino on Cellar Tracker.  That’s probably telling.

Copa di Moscato:  The nose is benign.  Dried, candied pineapple.  A very sweet wine with little balance, it’s cloying.  Reminds me of fruit cocktail syrup.  It’s basically a high-octane juice box.  But I can see folks who like sweeter wines enjoying this.

Copa di Pinot Grigio:  Smells like absolutely nothing.  Wait.  As it warms up, it smells like the cheese department at the grocery store.  Flavor is a tart green apple with herbal notes.  And a weird metallic finish.  Seriously.  Like chewing on aluminum foil.

Copa di Riesling:  Again, this smells like nothing, and definitely not like Riesling.  No petrol, no wet stones.  Starts sweet and finishes like one of my daughter’s Sour Patch Kid candy. Tastes like Crystal Light white grape juice.  But my husband says this is his pick of the litter.

Copa di Chardonnay:  I could actually identify this as a Chardonnay.  Definitely oaky, though. For me, the most drinkable of the bunch.  My husband made a Mr. Yuk face when he tasted it, though.

Copa di Merlot:  This is an angry wine.  It smells like an ashtray.  Maybe an ashtray with a blackberry in it.  It definitely tastes like an ashtray.  (Hey, I went to college, I have ashtray experience).  Wow.

Copa di Cabernet Sauvignon:  I watched a couple of guys on YouTube say they were “delighted” with this wine.  Delighted?  I don’t get delighted.  It smells a high school weight room.  And there’s nothing delightful about a high school weight room.  My husband said the difference between this wine and motor oil is that he could drink motor oil if he really had to.

Copa di White Zinfandel:  I saved this for last because I hate White Zinfandel.  It doesn’t matter who makes it or how cute the cup is . . . it’s awful.  And I didn’t want to wreck my palate upfront.  Surprisingly, I don’t dislike this as much as I do the Merlot and the Cab.  It just tastes like rotten guava juice.

Bottomline:  Here’s the deal.  From a cost perspective, this is essentially a $12 bottle of wine. But you’re paying for cuteness and convenience, so I suspect this is more like a $4 bottle of wine.  Set your expectations accordingly.

The cups are clever . . . but the wine is plonk.  I wish I had better news for you.

Salud!

28 comments

  1. I’m rarely at WalMart, so I am unlikely to run into these, but it’s good to know that I can just dig some of my husband’s dirty socks out of the hamper, run some water through them and drink for a similar experience. Too bad – those are cute little cups! The foil is weird.

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  2. Awesome, awesome post, Kirsten! You had me ROFL more than once (including at the Barry Manilow reference). Also, your husband rocks. And I appreciate the sacrifice that you guys went through in the name of a proper, scientific review. I guess the bottom line is, if it does not come in a glass bottle, it ain’t wine! 😉

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  3. I had one of them at the hotel ( Merlot, I think), and thought – if it will be good, I will write a post! It was downright so terrible, I wouldn’t even finish one, so there was no post from me: ) Glad you put out in the spotlight.

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  4. I loved your review! It was entertaining, hilarious and right on point. Very well done. I can tell the sign “bad wine” was popping out from the Walmart shelf but I understand you had no choice but trying out the entire collection. What wouldn’t we do in the name of an honest review! 🙂

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  5. Thank you for your reviews! It is really a shame that the wine is of poor quality. If you are ever in Europe we would love to offer you a different experience of good quality wine in the same packaging, i.e. same glass. We bottle French (including blends from Bordeaux), Spanish and Italian wines and have very satisfactorily responses from our clients. I also would like to add that this is a relatively new concept on the market and there are plenty of possibilities of bottling any quality of wine as well as other alcohol drinks. It is about convenience of the packaging and hopefully soon we will be seeing a lot more of it with different blends and qualities, which should also be reflected in the retail price.

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  6. Appreciate your review. So I recently tried the Copa di Vino Cabernet Sauvignon and thought it was ok. What bothered me (and I’m surprised no one else mentioned this before) was that adhesive residue that was one the top of the cup after peeling off the seal. It felt like the cup had a sandpaper lining, and more importantly, it concerns me that I might be ingesting small amounts of adhesive chemicals. I am curious to hear comments from someone who might understand this better. Am I just being paranoid about the whole adhesive chemicals thing?

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  7. You just saved me money, thank you! I’m heading out on a trip, and was wondering about taking a few of these along, for convenience.
    Nope. I’ll find one of those cute tetrabox wines that I’ve had before. Not high class, but… drinkable.

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    1. I haven’t had the Tetrabox wines — will have to try them. My summer go-to convenience is Francis Coppola’s Sophia Blanc de Blanc mini cans. Definitely not the greatest sparkler I’ve ever had, but great for the pool or a picnic!! Salud!

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  8. I laughed out loud when I saw this at the grocery store. I laughed yet again with each tasting note (thank you, Sommelier). The XFL football league proved that one could go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, but these wines support the idea that you can’t underestimate the taste of the American public.

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  9. I got two of the Moscato in my stocking last Christmas and tried them a few hours ago, and I think you were far too kind. I opened the first one and thought maybe it had gone bad until I tried the second and realized that was what it was supposed to taste like. I’m no connoisseur but it was like the smell of changing a really wet diaper translated into a taste. And it’s still lingering even after a strong flavored meal and brushing. Certainly not too gung ho to try the other types!

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  10. I tried the Cabernet and the Chardonnay a few years ago. The Cabernet was barely drinkable, and the Chardonnay, which is usually my favorite wine, I had to pour down the sink after a couple of sips because it was so bad. I don’t know why James Martin thinks this is such a premium wine. I think it’s a terrible.

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