by Chrysa Smith

Earlier this year, Mark and I took a long weekend in Annapolis, Maryland. What a great little getaway–with all of the markings of a renewal of soul. A little sightseeing. A little time together. A little discovery. A little afternoon wine.

So while wandering down the block to our hotel, we stumbled upon the Red Red Wine Bar. It was perfect. We didn’t need to order a meal or enter a big hotel—just sit in a cozy storefront and experience our first ever wine-on-tap. And it was so good and fresh-tasting that Mark did a little research. And the grapes behind that wine led us to a year-round delight— namely Bandit Wine.

Now the name alone says it’s not a stuffy vintner. It is actually packaged in 1 liter cardboard containers. You can’t miss it in the wine store—purple and bright green containers are marked with graphics: Most Wanted, Perfect for Camping, Wine to Go-Go and best of all 33% more wine—than bottles, that is. All of this and under $10 makes it sound like a ‘cheap’ wine. And it is, financially. But certainly not by sommalier standards—-well at least this sommalier.

I’ve tried both the Cab and the Pinot Grigio—both excellent for daily drinking (not that I’m encouraging it). But with most meals, it’s perfect. Both are light and easy on the taste buds. In fact, maybe a little too easy. There aren’t the sophisticated notes that higher-end wines boast, but then again, there are no disappointments either. You know, after you’ve sampled your fair share, that even recommendations from some of the best can leave you disappointed and out of cash.  Not so with Bandit.

The packaging is also a great benefit: lightweight, recyclable and easy to throw into a bag for some vin to tote with you. Bottled in Lathrop, California, the brand has received praise from The Wine Enthusiast and others. Also in the line: Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sangria and Moscato.

Check them out in your favorite wine or liquor store, or online at