Drinking Inside The Box

I am aware that boxed wine has a stigma, and based on some examples that are out there it is with good cause. However, I would like to help tip the scales in the other direction, as the technology is great!!! And the value is amazing… especially if you use wine when you cook.

I have been aware that box wine was breaking into the fine wine market for a few years now. Two Christmases ago in Chicago, there were many distributors pushing wooden boxes as a fun gift alternative. Among some of the more successful offerings were Domaine Le Garrigon, Cotes du Rhone, Ch du Chatelard Bourgeon Blanc, & Ch Les Maines Bordeaux Blanc. These were all offerings from WineBerry Imports. The packaging was stylish and the whites even had a wooded slat that would slide up so that you could place an ice pack inside for picnics, parties and the like. As a wine drinker I was impressed, but as a professional wine buyer at the time, I was not on board as the stigma of boxed wines was huge, and these offering were usually $40 or more, which is a deal for 3000 mL, however still a costly and a hard sell to a wine buying community that still scoffed at screw caps.

Times have changed though. From 2009 to now I have seen tap systems go into many bars across the USA, which is basically a big pressurized box (or keg) of wine. And I have even seen and ordered boxed wine off of restaurant menus. In the summer and fall of 2010 Big Bowl in Chicago, a Lettuce Entertain You outlet, offered a boxed Rose produced by Yellow and Blue, an organic producer. It was a perfect pair for the spicy Asian dishes on the menu, and I am not ashamed to say that my fellow wine enthusiast friends and I put away more than one box… especially on ½ price bottle (box) Tuesday.  It is clear that the educated wine community is jumping on the Go Green initiative, and is more and more willing to look past the vessel to what is in side.

I believe that boxed wine has great potential for success. The trick is how to get the average consumer on board. And since my temporary relocation to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas I have been buying wine like an average consumer, so I believe I have sussed out how box wine is every man’s best friend. I have been living on Bota Box Chard since July due to the lack of drinkable wines available in my immediate surroundings.

Budget: There are now many decent boxed wines on the market for $15-$30 a box. A box fits the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine. That puts it at a $3.75- $7.50 per bottle, and most of these are highly drinkable table wines…. Much better than many $3-$10 bottles I have had in my life.

Freshness: Boxed wine stays as fresh as the day you tapped the nozzle for over a month. This is due to the double valve in the nozzle keeping oxygen from getting in. The bag is also protected from light as it is inside a box. This is great to ensure that you always have something to sip on, and it is perfect for cooking. Most chefs would agree that if you are cooking with wine it has to be good drinkable wine, and this is a handy and affordable way to make sure you always have a fresh supply on hand.

Low Carbon Foot Print: Aside from WineBerrys wooden boxes, boxed wines are usually in recycled cardboard boxes. The shipping and production of these vessels uses MUCH less energy and resources than heavy glass bottles.  Also many boxed wine makers are also utilizing organic or Bio-Dynamic wine practices.

Style- Ironic is the current hip thing, so you can kind of look at boxed wine as a much tastier version of Pabst Blue Ribbon, if you are marketing to the millennial’s (IE: Anyone with a handlebar mustache, or Sally Jessie Raphael glasses… under the age of 40.) If your clientele is of the more sophisticated persuasion you can choose one of the nice wooden boxes of WineBerry’s line, or even go couture with a new line of wine purses being launched by Vernissage. They are starting a project where they are pumping French table wine in to Swedish-designed “Hand Bag Boxes”.

I hope that this positive trend continues. That being said, I feel that currently whites and roses are the tastier option in the boxed wine world. I have yet to taste a higher quality red out of one of these fun little nozzles… But I am always open to being proved wrong.

Below are the sites to producers I have mentioned:

http://www.wineberry.com

http://www.ybwines.com

http://www.botabox.com

http://www.vernissagewine.com/welcome.aspx

Happy Drinking!

One comment

  1. Great article! I agree, the world of box wine is changing and the packaging makes sense. I sell box wine dispensed out of beautiful counter-top barrels for private events and bars in the Bay Area. Check us out!

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