A friend of mine asked me the other day what I thought about boxed wine. Without having done any research, I said that typically only very bad wine ends up in boxes, giving boxed wine a very bad reputation.
This quick conversation prompted me to do some research, which I will share with you here.
What Are the Benefits of Boxed Wine?
- The typical box is three liters, which is the equivalent of 4 bottles. Boxes are easy to buy, easy to transport and easy to use.
- You save both because you are buying in bulk and because bag-in-box packaging costs a fraction of traditional glass bottles for the same amount of wine. You also save on shipping costs.
- An open box of wine can last 4 to 6 weeks! Compare that to 4 to 6 days. (Interestingly, prior to opening, boxed wine doesn’t age as well as bottled wine. A ‘value’ bottle can age for a year. A ‘value’ box can only age for 6 to 8 months.)
- With a box of wine, there’s no risk of cork taint.
- Polyethylene, which is what the bags in the boxes are made of, is a safe, non-toxic plastic that doesn’t influence the flavor of the wine.
These advantages are resulting in a 10%+ year-over-year increase in boxed wine sales in America. But according to reversewinesnob.com, “Even with this increase…, adoption in the U.S. is still quite low at less than 5% of sales. In Europe, on the other hand, box wines make up about 20% of wine sales and in Australia,… it’s an astounding 50%!”
What Are the Downsides of Boxed Wine?
Plain and simple, boxed wine has a bad reputation. According to winemag.com, “Back in the 1980s and ’90s, the average boxed wine was one-dimensional headache water geared toward buzz-seekers, not wine lovers.” While boxed wine has come a long way since its creation in Australia in 1965, bad reputations die very slowly.
We still assume that anything in a box is plonk. Wine Folly valiantly argues that there isn’t a rule saying you can’t put premium wine in a box. But is anybody willing to do it?
A Taste Test
gearpatrol.com conducted a blind tasting of 16 of the best available boxed wine (8 white, 8 red). They said that “A few tasted like our worst box wine memories of yore: fermented juice boxes gone bad. But another few hinted at that 92-point bottle we keep stowed away in the cellar. Not bad for a drink that’s also cheap, portable, and stores for 45 days after opening.” gearpatrol.com’s favorite wines were a Pinot Grigio and Cabernet from Bandit in St. Helena, CA. They say, “Bring Bandit to the party and you won’t disappoint.” Especially at $6.99 for one liter!
If you have any experience with boxed wine, please share!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
Betty Kaufman, WineShop At Home
Boxed wines, cork versus plastic plugs, screw caps and arsenic in your wine; all these topic can conjure up a plethora of opinions. I can remember a time when a glass jug of wine (with a high-end finger loop) was the next big thing. The jug wine was economical and very high end wine; an oxymoron I guess.
I tell wine lovers/drinkers-buy whatever blows your hair back and don’t be lead by a bunch of pundits pushing a product line or marketing message.
At the next corporate awards dinner or Thanksgiving Dinner, drop a gallon of wine on the table in a nicely packaged box with up-scale advertising from a friendly looking Uncle saying “I want you” on the side panel. You can shake the box to see how much wine is left before you bring out another cardboard box for the next gallon. (Yeah, I know a Liter is just over 1/4 gallon, but more is better. Like the proponents of boxed wine, I am slanting the verbiage for effect and mental imagery.)
Love it! Thanks for your great comments. Can’t agree more.