Most wine consumers hold a deep disdain towards boxed wine. It's low end. It's trashy. Heck, it comes in a box. Obviously, it can't be any good.
I want CK readers to stop and stare when they hear sweeping--and tautological--generalizations like these. Don't get me wrong: I'm not suggesting you plop a wine box on the dining room table at your next dinner party. Then again, you might be shocked at how few of your friends can tell the difference between a mid-range boxed red and a mid-range bottled red. If you doubt me, try your own blind tasting and see for yourself.
The truth is, box wine has improved dramatically in quality in recent years. And if you're looking for a simple white or red table wine for your typical everyday dinner, consider ditching your usual glass-bottled casual wine and try boxed wine instead.
And when it comes to white wine, boxed wine offers a gigantic advantage over glass: boxed wine won't oxidize. Remember, white wines tend to oxidize more rapidly than reds, so a half-finished bottle of decent white can taste "off" within a day or two of being opened.
However, with boxed white wine, you don't face this problem at all. The wine is in an airtight plastic pouch. There's no air touching the wine at all, which means you can drink boxed white wine for weeks without any decline in quality.
But where boxed wines really stand out is in their surprisingly low environmental impact. Boxed wine generates half the carbon footprint of traditional glass-bottled wines, and it produces up to 80% less landfill waste. Think about it: glass wine bottles biodegrade poorly, and they're relatively costly to recycle. The cardboard used in boxed wine is usually made from post-consumer recycled paper--and it can easily be recycled again.
Here's one more environmental factor to think about: boxed wine can be stacked efficiently, and its recyclable cardboard packaging weighs far less than glass bottles. Which means your wine can be shipped to your local stores using fewer trucks and a lot less fuel.
So, the quality's the same, the shelf life is longer, and the environmental impact is less. But it's the price that seals the deal. For around $15-$16, you can buy five liters of highly drinkable wine. For those of you without calculators, that's six and two-thirds bottles! Remember: you--the consumer-- will utimately pay for all the extra packaging and transport costs involved in getting glass-bottled wine to your stores. Why not avoid those costs entirely by switching over to boxed wine?
I know I talk a lot about consumer empowerment here at Casual Kitchen. And to me, boxed wine might be one of the best win-wins available to consumers right now. So the next time you visit your local wine store, don't turn up your nose at the boxed wine section--check it out instead.
Readers, what do you think about boxed wine?
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