- Middle East
- Leor Farkas
Stepping inside the modern, Parisian-style venue on bustling Ibn Gvirol Street is like encountering an old friend in an unexpected place– it’s the box wine that evokes happy nostalgia, but all grown up. Choose from among the boutique wines selected from the finest wine regions in France, housed in lovely lavender casements. In addition to its Tel Aviv branch, Bibovino also has branches in the French cities of Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse and le Touquet. The selection of wine is renewed and updated regularly, and new Bibivino boutiques are expected to open in even more cities around the world soon.
Internationally-recognized winemaker and consultant Bruno Quenioux is behind the company’s core selection of 25 wines, and he stands behind its quality. He ensures that the wine was prepared according to traditional methods of excellence before being vacuum-sealed according to Bibovino’s technologically advanced standards. One visit to Bibivino can turn skeptical visitors into box wine believers, as they learn and taste what gives Bag-In-Box™ fine wine distinct advantages over bottled wine.
Keren Brown, food blogger and author of the Food Lovers’ Guide To Seattle who is currently based in Israel, chose to host her second monthly foodie meetup at Bibovino. The Francophile plans to hold a meetup every month at a different promising hotspot, with the aim of connecting people through food. Likewise, members get acquainted with the up-and-coming venues in a fun and engaging format.
The night of Brown’s event at Bibivino, things are hectic but the staff keeps things under control. As they try to keep up with an influx of guests, staff members pass along orders in French, while customers inquire at the bar about the food and wine speaking in a mix of French, English and Hebrew. A French ex-pat turned Israeli soldier working at the shop is still dressed in her army uniform, as she helps her older sister serve customers the first course. A hefty chef with a shiny head and two tufts of white hair on either side hands them the trays, which feature five delectable tartine samplers: pissaladière, salmon and crème fraîche, vegetables and cheese, matias, potatoes and a Chef’s special.
As the customers take their last nibbles on their appetizers, the second course comes out of the kitchen: a forest salad featuring fresh arugula and slivers of beets and thinly sliced apples topped with vinaigrette dressing and crumbled blue cheese. As the shop begins to fill to capacity, many of the guests take their meals to the patio outside, where they can sit at a long picnic-style table, or at one of the smaller high-top tables. The warm main course is a risotto in a red wine sauce topped with a dollop of cream, and potatoes au gratin with spinach. Customers eat at a leisurely pace, taking pleasure in the satisfying tastes and good company. People mingle with new and old friends, and the atmosphere is relaxed and social. Brown checks in every now and then on her guests, hugging old-timers and welcoming newcomers to the event.
Because no gastronomical experience would be complete without dessert, a creamy cake with a crumbled chocolate base is served to top off the successful evening. Customers can choose to continue their French culinary experience at home—a kind of after-party—by purchasing their own box of wine and perhaps even a Camembert cheese with which to pair it.
For those wine lovers who still feel they still need a little more convincing in order to fully appreciate box wine, they should know that there are several practical advantages to drinking wine this way.
First, a box contains three liters of wine—equivalent to the amount found in four standard bottles—so they can choose to pour as much or as little as they’d like without worrying about waste. Second, the bag within the box is vacuum-packed with a pullout tap; after opening, the taste and aroma remain unchanged for a month and a half.
The compact boxes fit unobtrusively in the refrigerator until the next soirée (of 10 people or of one – the box doesn’t judge, and neither do the French). And cost-savvy consumers will be pleased that they are mostly just paying for the wine itself. The elimination of extra packaging associated with producing bottled wine, such as the bottle, cork and labels, means the consumer price is reduced by around 30 percent.
Save money, be eco-friendly and keep the wine flowing? This is a purist’s dream.
Yet it should be noted that while at the shop, there is no worry about being marketed to or pressured into buying something, as Bibovino’s sweet and gracious owners are more focused on educating customers about their wine and making visitors feel welcome than selling their product. Either way, you won’t want to leave empty-handed after tasting some of their delicious wine selections.
Bibovino, Ibn Gvirol 48, Tel Aviv, Israel +972 (03)522-6334