Review: 2012 Benefactor Cellars Shiraz

Summer in LA is my favorite time of the year. Not only for the weather, but also because of the bounty of events going on. You can see free concerts on the pier, take free dance lessons in downtown and even watch a movie in a cemetery.

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery–where Dee Dee Ramone, you know of that band, the Ramones, and Cecil B. DeMille, the famed Hollywood producer, are buried–plays classic movies hosted by Cinespia throughout the summer. A few nights ago, I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” and drank lots of wine, including 2012 Benefactor Cellars Shiraz.


At first sniff, this dark red wine smells like cloves and currant. It’s pungent and warm and has a tobacco-y/cigarette-y after taste. here’s black cherry peeking through in there as well.

My friend bought it from Trader Joe’s because it was cheap ($5), but the ghoulish label went with the cemetery theme quite nicely, even if it was not on purpose.

Overall, I recommend the wine if you don’t have high expectations and are looking to please a crowd on the cheap.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Benefactor Cellars
  • Type: Shiraz
  • Origin: Southeastern Australia
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $5
  • Alcohol content: Unknown (It was too dark in the cemetery to find it on the label)
  • When to drink: Eat this with chocolate! It tasted great alongside the Toblerone I brought. Or I could even see this warm vino pair well with ribs. Don’t forget the Salt Lick…and the wet wipes.

Wine in a can? Wine in paper bottles? What’s up with that?

For those of us who went to college in the past 10 years, we’ve had our fair share of wine in a box. Who can forget slap the bag? 

But wine in paper bottles and wine in cans? These are new and intriguing entries to the U.S. wine market.

First, the paper bottle:

It’s made by a U.K company called GreenBottle and the eco-friendly company’s first U.S. partner is California-based Truett-Hurst. Inside this interesting container will be Paperboy, a 2012 red blend from Paso Robles. What’s in the blend doesn’t seem to be portrayed on the bottle, but it does clock in at 14.5% alcohol and it’s coming to a Safeway stores soon. The paper bottle has already been used by Kingsland Wines on the other side of the pond. That winery used the label Thirsty Earth for its paper bottle wines, which included a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and an Australian Shiraz.



Much like boxed wines, paper bottles are lined with a plastic bladder to hold the liquid. According to Fox News, you can put it in ice for up to three hours without the paper disintegrating. I feel like I need to test this out myself before believing that one. I don’t know how much it will cost, but once I figure that out, I’ll update.

Now, the can:

An Oregon winery has canned Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in 8 ounce containers! Union Wine Co., which cans the wine under the label Underwood, wanted to reverse the craft beer trend, where beer has been elevated out of Miller and Bud territory and into the world of tastings and fancy glasses, much like wine.

Photo: Union Wine Co.

Photo: Union Wine Co.

“We wanted to come up with a product that embodied our company’s philosophy of making great craft wine minus all the fuss,” Ryan Harms, owner of Union Wine Co., told Fast Company.“There is a ‘winification’ of beer trend going on and Union Wine Co. is at the forefront of a new trend, the ‘beerification’ of wine.”

It’s about taking the snobbery out of wine and making it more accessible, which seems to be the trend du jour. The cans even feature the Twitter hashtag #pinkiesdown.

They’ll be available next year; $5 for an 8-ounce can.