Is Boxed Wine Really As Bad As You Think It Is?

You heard us right. What’s the deal with boxed wine?

We all know the debate, may have even googled it at some point.

‘Is boxed wine any good?’ or ‘Does boxed wine have quality?’

There seems to be such a stigma around wine that comes out of a box. Almost like it isn’t even real wine at all.

Obviously, it may not be a one-hundred-dollar bottle of the best quality Oregon Pinot Noir. But you best believe that it deserves more recognition than a five-year-old’s juice box.

We have reason to believe that boxed wine is not only passable, but it can even be better quality than the stuff that you can find in a bottle.

Ya we know skeptics are going to claim nothing is as good as the stuff that comes out of a bottle. But remember, we’re not drinking the bottle!

We’re drinking the stuff on the inside. Sure a corked bottle might be better for aging wine properly, but a box has its benefits as well.

Let’s take some time here to break it all down.

Who Do We Have To Thank For Boxed Wine?

Image of old wine bottles

We can thank the Aussies for creating ‘wine casks’ as they’re known in Australia.

Created in the 60’s by an Australian gentleman by the name of Thomas Angove, the idea derived from a desire for more flexible packaging.

It seemed like a brilliant invention at the time. So what went wrong and why has boxed wine garnered such a bad reputation?

The issue may have been the lack of sophistication that boxed wine couldn’t seem to deliver compared to their bottled counterpart.

The issue also could have been that boxed wine was thought to be the cheaper, and thus less desirable, option in more ways than one.

Boxed wine was known to be cheaper to produce, with a cheaper price tag in stores and cheaper quality wine to boot.

This is where producers could have done things differently.

A Shift In Perception

Image of a wine glass

It’s no secret that packaging has become a huge factor in purchase decisions and quality perceptions of wine. Especially when you’re unsure what brand, let alone what type of wine to buy.

The more attractive the bottle, the likelier it is that people are going to buy it.

It’s also not a secret that boxed wine is not a popular choice among wine drinkers. Bottled wine tends to be the default choice with no consideration for its boxed competitor.

We can thank the bad reputation that boxed wine has gotten up until recently.

Boxed wine only accounts for about 6.5% of total wine sales in the US, with premium boxed wine accounting for no more than 3%.

Statistics show however that more people are spending money on the premium stuff as opposed to lower quality boxed wine.

Just last year in 2018, according to a report from the Nielson company, the percent change in dollar sales for premium boxed wine increased by 16.5%.

Attitudes are shifting, and boxed wine sales are on the rise.

Here’s The Deal With The Packaging

Image of one out of many in a wine tetra pak

Despite the bad reputation that boxed wine has gotten, there are factors that work in its favor. First is the practicality of a boxed option.

The good news is that boxed wine can last longer than your average bottle…sort of.

A bottle really only tastes the same for no more than a few days after opening it, and then it starts to taste a little funky. But boxed wine tastes just as good six weeks later after opening.

This is due mostly to the bags used to keep oxygen out of the box.

This also makes it great for occasional wine drinkers who don’t drink too often, or for those who like to cook with it. Or, for those of you who like to picnic, boxed wine makes life so much easier when it comes to transporting.

You get to carry 4 bottles worth of wine in an easy to carry plastic/cardboard container instead of 4 individual glass (which is heavier than plastic) bottles.

Boxed wine does, however, come with a shorter shelf life. They’re only good for about 6 to 9 months since the material of boxed wine is more porous than a bottle.

So not the best option if you’re looking for a wine to age.

The Value In A Boxed Wine

Image of the money in a wallet

Speaking of volume, let’s discuss the value you get when buying boxed wine.

And when we say value, we’re not talking about getting 3 liters of the cheapest wine in a box that you can find for under 10 bucks.

You may have heard about the 2015 Lawsuit involving 83 lower end wine brands. This is where cheaper wine overall, not just boxed wine, started gaining unfavorable attention due to high levels of arsenic.

When we say value, we’re talking about the value of the amount of wine you get for every dollar you spend for quality wine. With a bigger volume comes a bigger value for your dollar.

On average, you can get 4 bottles worth of quality boxed wine for the price of 2. Not bad right?

And if you’re not a big wine drinker, you’ll be saving money with boxed wine.

You can take a sip guilt-free without having to decide between finishing the entire bottle or throwing it out. Boxed wine lets you save the rest for later!

Can Boxed Wine Be A Better Choice For The Environment?

Image of recyclable cardboard from boxed wine

See, this is a slippery slope to venture. The answer depends on who you ask.

Think of it as a battle between the lesser of two evils: plastic bags or glass bottles.

Most would think that the opposite is more accurate, where bottled wine is better for the environment. That way you don’t run the risk of stray plastic bags ending up in the ocean choking innocent sea turtles.

While this may be true, the bag-in-a-box option leaves a smaller carbon footprint.

Reason one is that it requires less energy to produce plastic bags and cardboard boxes than glass bottles.

And since bags and boxes are less expensive to produce than glass bottles, there is a cost savings factor for wine producers. This provides an incentive for them to package their premium wine in an inexpensive bag.     

Reason two being that transportation emissions are low. You can almost think of this as a decrease in food miles.

Because boxed wine is lightly packaged, distributors are able to deliver a higher volume at a lower cost. All with fewer fuel emissions for distribution vehicles.

Not to mention that the bag-in-a-box still offers a recyclable option for both the bag and the box.

So, all things considered, boxed wine can be a decent choice for the environment and your kitchen.

Here’s A Recap

Image of wine poured from a box

We now know that boxed wine is slowly becoming more of a norm.
Here’s a quick overview of the reasons why we need to stop hating on boxed wine and give it a real shot at stardom:

  • Convenience and ease of use

Boxed wine makes it so much easier to transport to and from different locations.
From the kitchen to the grill out on the porch or from the store to the park. Wherever you’re going, that boxed wine will make it there with little to no hassle on your part.

  • Value

You can buy a premium box of good wine worth 4 bottles for the price of 2. You’re buying in bulk so it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Brands like Black Box, Bota Box, and Bandit Box are all great examples of popular wine boxes that consumers swear by.

  • Extended freshness

For those of you who struggle to finish off a bottle of wine, say good-bye to this age-old problem. Boxed wine lets you control how much wine you want to drink and save the rest for later.

  • Options

The options are limitless.

You can drink from it one day and two weeks later use it in a dinner recipe. It’s up to you to decide how, when, or where you want to enjoy your wine.

  • A Safer Bet For The Environment

Less energy is required to make bags and boxes as opposed to glass bottles. This results in a smaller carbon footprint for boxed wine production and packaging.

It’s economical and it gives you everything you can ask for in a good wine without sacrificing quality. It’s the negative stereotypes we can’t let go of that get in the way of accepting a truly ingenious innovation.

Let’s give boxed wine a chance to make a reappearance in the industry, shall we?


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