A helpful hack sets up our reporter for success to get the sparkling wine of her dreams.

In place of a traditional New Year’s lucky bag, Japanese chain Kaldi, importer of international foodstuffs and maker of magical melon butter, offers its own spin on the fun with a wine lucky box every year. Our Japanese-language reporter Haruka Takagi is a big fan of the annual boxes and excitedly headed to her local Kaldi at the start of the new year to purchase one for herself.

This year’s boxes are a great value, since for the price of 3,300 yen (US$22.82) per box you’re guaranteed to score a 750-milliliter (25.36 ounce) bottle of wine or sparkling wine worth at least 5,000 yen or more. In particular, the special draw is a Château Palmer 2017 wine, which has a suggested retail value of 50,000 yen, with one bottle hiding inside of every 60 lucky wine boxes at Kaldi. After not scoring the special draw in one of her five Kaldi wine lucky boxes last year, would Haruka get her big break this time?

Upon arriving at Kaldi and finding the display of wine lucky boxes, Haruka began inspecting them closely. A female staff member came over before long to greet her as well.

Staff: “What kind of wine are you hoping to get?”

Haruka: “Well, if I had to pick, I’d probably prefer sparking wine over red wine.”

Staff: “In that case I’d recommend buying a heavier box. Try holding each box in two hands and go with one that feels the heaviest. I think you’ll find one with sparkling wine that way. Also, the bottles for sparkling wine are wider than those for red wine, so they don’t move around as much inside of the boxes.”

Haruka: “Now that you mention it, I did feel a couple of bottles that didn’t seem to rattle around so much.”

Staff: “There aren’t a lot of customers right now so please take your time choosing. I wish you the best!”

Haruka carefully selected three wine lucky boxes according to the expert advice of the worker and gleefully carried them home.

Now, she was hoping for a Champagne Paul Goerg Vintage 2012 Brut Premier Cru, worth 14,000 yen and hiding in one out of every 60 boxes, just like the Château Palmer 2017. It would be a tricky one to score but she felt oddly confident thanks to the wine hack.

▼ Château Palmer 2017 on the far left, Champagne Paul Goerg Vintage 2012 Brut Premier Cru second from the left

The moment of truth had finally arrived. What would be waiting for her in the three boxes…?!

She pumped herself up to open the first box.

She then let out a little shriek as soon as she opened it.

Something about the top of the bottle looked familiar from the store flyer…

What was it…?!

Haruka had managed to snag a Pere Ventura Cava Vintage Brut Gran Reserva 2016! Worth 8,000 yen and appearing in six out of every 60 boxes, Haruka was ecstatic. She also admired the bottle’s woven-like appearance.

Scoring this bottle right off the bat seemed like a good omen of things to come.

OK, it was time to break open the seal on the second box.

▼ “Huh?”

▼ *Eyes dart over to previous bottle*

▼ “No way…”

She pulled the second bottle out of its box in disbelief. It looked awfully familiar…

Yep, she had somehow managed to get the exact same Pere Ventura sparkling wine as in the first box.

Don’t get her wrong–she was very happy–but also a bit bemused. She could only think that her arms had a very, very accurate internal scale to have picked out two boxes with the exact same weight. These bottles would make for an excellent treat at her next gathering with friends, though.

Now she was a bit tentative to open the third box…

…but she’d come this far, and there was no going back.

It definitely felt like another kind of sparkling wine, but she was having a really tough time getting it out of the box. It just didn’t want to budge.

Finally, she was able to yank it out.

The third and final box contained Astoria Kálibro, valued at 5,000 yen and appearing in four out of every 60 wine lucky boxes. Its round bottle was super cute. According to the store flyer, this sparkling wine has hints of citrus, apricot, roast nuts, and vanilla and should be very smooth and easy to drink thanks to its maturation process.

She was happy to have a second kind of sparkling wine to try.

Haruka took a commemorative photo with her three prizes. While she didn’t get the exact bottle she was hoping for, it was all thanks to the helpful guidance of the Kaldi staff that she was able to score sparkling wine for all three of her bottles. This would be excellent advice to remember for next year’s wine lucky boxes as well.

It seems that Kaldi’s wine lucky boxes sold out quickly on its online store, but you may still be able to snag one or more at physical store locations. In fact, we might even go back to test our luck once again, while also grabbing some of Kaldi’s melon bread butter spread to ring in a new year of carbs.

All images © SoraNews24
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