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Winemaker markets pong to UK sports fanatics

Wine pong? Yes, a new product from Elk Creek Vineyards in Owen County hopes to meld the refined palette of the wine connoisseur with the hops-soaked joy of a frat-party staple.

Kentucky Blue Box wines, which come in seven varieties including Tailgate White and Tailgate Red, have hit stores. The true-blue box holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine, and – — wait for it — it comes with a ping-pong ball and a miniature cardboard basketball hoop. You can now get your pong on while waiting for whatever big University of Kentucky game to start.

If wine pong isn't appealing, you can always play a tabletop football game with the box's tiny goal post (sponge football included).

"Nobody has made boxed wine with a game on it," said Curtis Sigretto, Elk Creek Vineyard's president. Plus, he said, the box in the signature Wildcat blue "makes for a nice centerpiece."

Sigretto is so stoked about the patent-pending idea that he has trademarked the name Super Box. He hopes to have an NFL-themed product ready for the 2011 Super Bowl and plans to create boxes for other college teams.

Wine pong, Sigretto said, "would be more just a fun kind of a thing."

The box, which includes the Kentucky Proud label, also features the normal warning that excessive drinking might impair your ability to operate machinery and the perhaps unfortunate tag line "Bleed Blue. Drink Blue."

The winery has printed 20,000 boxes and produced a TV commercial featuring former college hoops rivals Joe B. Hall of UK and Denny Crum of the University of Louisville competing in a spirited game of wine pong.

Sigretto hopes the box will entice the people of Kentucky, which ranks 47th in wine consumption, to give grapes a chance.

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