Twenty years ago, you’d likely carry your bottle in a brown paper bag on your way to your favorite BYOB restaurant. Or someone might have given you an canvas thing that was embroidered with absurdly awful renderings of grapevines.
Today, your vessel of choice can be made from cloth, high-grade leather, vinyl, plastic, stainless steel, neoprene, or nearly any other material you can imagine. They can cost as little as ten bucks to close to one thousand, and can carry anywhere from one bottle to a full case. Some have zippers, others have brass clips or buttons, and include a shoulder strap.
Personally, I like the neoprene bags produced from neoprene by BuiltNY — but not because they look so cool. Rather, because of their efficiency. Neoprene is the same stuff used to make deep-sea diving suits / surfer’s wetsuits, and is remarkably efficient in keeping cold things cold, and warm things warm. Obviously, that insulating performance is one of the big reasons I like the BuiltNY bags, especially when it comes to keeping white wines chilled (they claim the bottle will keep its temperature for up to 4 hours). In addition, the two-bottle tote that I own keeps each bottle separately insulated — so the ice cold bottle of Champagne won’t lower the temperature of the Merlot next to it.
Two other things I like about these bags: weight and space. The neoprene material is extremely light — maybe a quarter of a pound — so carrying the bottle(s) around doesn’t take too much effort. Further, the bags lie flat for easy storage. This may not be a big deal unless you’re like me and live in a small condo or apartment, where space is at a premium. These wine bags are about a half-inch thick when empty, so you can stow or slip them into just about any drawer, bookshelf, or similarly narrow space.
After reading this review, you might think I own stock in BuiltNY (I don’t) or was paid to write this (I wasn’t). In truth, I simply think they “build” a great product.
If you don’t see these neoprene bags at your favorite wine shop, click on one of the pictures to buy one from Amazon. They come in red, black, navy blue, green, and pink.