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With summer heating up, wine lovers are hitting the trails, kayaking on the Russian River and heading to music festivals. And increasingly, vintners are finding innovative ways to help consumers take their wines along.

Higher-end wineries are starting to sell wines in boxes, bags, cans and pouches designed for on-the-go consumers. They are finding the stigma of selling wine without a traditional bottle or a cork is receding as the Millennial generation comes of age and packaging technology improves.

Retailers, in turn, are devoting more shelf space to these new alternative containers, which are lighter, smaller and more sturdy than the glass bottles that have long dominated the wine aisle.

"We definitely see the sales go up this time of year," said Ben Pearson, wine buyer for Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa. "For hiking and camping, it's definitely convenient."

One local offering from a brand called Vintners Signatures is sold in a pink pouch nicknamed "la Purse du Vin," or purse of wine. The durable pouch, resembling a dainty yet oversized Capri Sun bag, holds 1.5 liters of white wine made by Draxton Wines in Geyserville, which produces 2,500 cases per year, some of which won awards at the San Francisco Wine Competition this year. Also available in a pouch are a Sonoma Coast chardonnay and Dry Creek Valley merlot. They sell for about $19 at Bottle Barn.

"I've tried the wine twice myself, and I think the quality's very strong," Pearson said. "It's good Sonoma County wine in cutting edge packaging, and I'm all for it."

Peterson Winery, a family winery based in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley producing about 6,000 cases a year, recently began bagging and boxing some of its own wines by hand. The bag-in-a-box format is well suited for a beach party where glass might not be allowed. Or, the plastic bag can be taken out of the cardboard box, which is what winemaker Jamie Peterson did when he set out with friends on a recent afternoon on the Russian River.

"I did a canoe and kayaking trip a couple weeks ago, and with our deli sandwiches we had our nice box of rose," Peterson said. "I traveled to France early last year, and saw some smaller wineries doing it there, and said &‘Hey if they're doing it, why not small family wineries in California?'"

The trend has caught on with Santa Rosa moms who have discerning taste when it comes to wine, but often find themselves at pool parties or beach gatherings, where breakable glass containers are either prohibited or simply a bad idea.

"We call it &‘Mommy's juice box,'" said Zoe Miller, 40, a Santa Rosa mother of two young boys. "A lot of us use them, and they're getting more and more popular, and we like them because we can take them to the pool."

Miller's preferred choice in the non-glass category is a pinot grigio made by Bandit Wines, based in Lathrop, which comes in a 1 liter Tetra Pak. She also enjoys Peterson's rose, which is good for parties.

"If you've got kids, you don't want to bring a glass bottle of wine," she said.

Miller and her girlfriends jumped on the "mommy juice" trend a year ago, when the small-format, non-glass packaging was harder to find. Now, better quality wines are available, she said.

Innovations in packaging design and consumers who want convenience are fueling the trend, industry experts said.

"Part of that breakthrough process was the Millennial generation coming on board," said Paul Tincknell, a Healdsburg wine marketing consultant. "They came in without the deep wine tradition — the cork, the glass bottle. They come to it with a very fresh point of view."

Tincknell helped launch Black Box, the popular premium wine in a box that was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2002. He's now working with House Band Wines, a Santa Rosa company aimed at bringing quality wines to concerts and music festivals in packaging that fits the occasion.

House Band Wines, started by winemaker Patrick Krutz and partner Joel Quigley, launched its "single-serving" flexible wine pouch at the South by Southwest festival in March. The pouch, which holds about two glasses of wine, came with a lanyard at the festival so concert-goers could hang the pouch around their necks, and navigate the crowds hands-free.

"We really kind of got tired of the fact that there was just not good wine at festivals," Quigley said. "But if you did find good wines, you had to put it in a plastic tumbler, and then you had to go out and maneuver in that crowd … and if you spill red wine on somebody it's really embarrassing."

In its first run, House Band Wines filled 50,000 pouches with wine. Three months into the launch, it's about to do another fill run, before supplying Outside Lands, its next gig. The product's shipping weight is about 75 percent less than it would be in glass bottles, and also has the advantage of grabbing the attention of distributors, Quigley said.

"I really loved the idea of a single-serving flexible pouch, and no one was doing it," Quigley said.

"At a time when distributors aren't taking on new brands, that was also part of our decision of getting into the pouch," Quigley said. "Not only could we fit this niche that's in such need, we also needed to do something with our brand that was really defining and create motivation for the distributors to take us on."

House Band Wines "bottles" its wine into pouches at Big Easy Blends, a New Orleans company that sells about 30 million pouches annually of Cordina Frozen Cocktails, which come with a screw top and a straw.

Craig Cordes, co-founder of Big Easy Blends, said the company is getting requests from wine companies about once a week to pack their wines in a pouch, but it doesn't have the capacity to take on the additional winery clients.

"It's a convenience factor," Cordes said. "Everybody wants to be on the go."

Francis Ford Coppola Winery was one of the earliest to offer a single serving of wine in a portable container in 2002 when it introduced Sofia, a sparkling white wine in a sleek red can complete with a dainty straw. The product was popular at resorts and hotels in Florida where it was sipped pool-side, and now sells at a rate of 20,000 cases per year, said Corey Beck, general manager and director of winemaking.

"There was less resistance than I anticipated," Beck said. "I think that given the packaging aspect of it being just cute, that alone just made people want to grab it and touch it."

A single-serving of wine sold in a sealed plastic glass is next on the company's horizon, and it is now testing the product and producing small batches, Beck said.

Trader Joe's also has released its own brand of wine in a 1.5 liter flexible pouch, using chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon sourced from Mendocino County.

"There's been a huge amount of excitement. And we've had other clients come in and see the wine in the package, and all of them are intrigued and in support of it," Tincknell said. "Not that our ultra premium clients are rushing out to put cabernet in a pouch yet, but they see it as a way to broaden their base in the market."