Why Box Wine Is Better

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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Eleni said...

I'm sold! I don't drink wine regularly, but I regularly have a half-empty bottle going off in the cupboard/fridge! Of course they end up in recipes, but it still feels wasteful.

Also, I imagine you would drink less if you had to get up and go to the kitchen to refill your glass from a shameful box, rather than if you had a socially-acceptable bottle on the table - added health benefits!

Nancy said...

My husband drinks Black Box Chardonnay. I used to laugh about it but had some this summer and was surprised how good it was.

Colleen said...

Gone are the days when wine in a box is some cheap rot gut! Many of the better mid priced wine producers are putting their wine in boxes. Menage a Trois makes a very drinkable line of boxed wine. If you don't want your guests to know its from a box put it in a decanter!

And yes, I do work for a store that sells wine along with a lot of other stuff.

Marcia said...

I've had some really bad ones (think the old-school boxed wines) and some good ones.

But I'm the only wine-drinker in the house, and I'm nursing a baby and trying to lose weight. So I don't drink that much. I think it would just really be too much wine to have open and too tempting really.

Tragic Sandwich said...

I had boxed wine a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised. I'm curious to know how long it lasts when opened--I don't drink much wine, and never make it through a bottle.

Kira said...

I'm a big fan of boxed wine, and I've found that the white tends to last longer (probably due to refrigeration). I tend to keep a box of Bota Box Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay in the fridge at all times. It's also great for cooking.
There are also the TetraPaks, which usually contain about 3 glasses of wine and are great for taking to glass-unfriendly locales.

Cara said...

We drink boxed wine regularly in my house (speaking of which, I need to stop at the liquor store because we're out!). I find that it doesn't taste quite as good as what we would get in a bottle, but it is perfectly fine for an evening glass. Plus, I don't feel the need to drink more just to get through the bottle before it turns. Boxed seems to last about a month.

Wet Coasters said...

Boxed wines are great! But an even better solution for the environment and your wallet is to make your own at a brew store. They have a huge selection of all types of wine and when it comes time to bottle it, you bring in your own recycled bottles. Simple and nothing to recycle cause they keep getting used over and over again.

chacha1 said...

The DH and I drink a lot of wine, but we haven't yet essayed The Box. Mostly because it's just the two of us, and "a lot" comes to an average of one glass per person per night, which means that box would be sitting there for a loooong time, and we have neither long kitchen counters nor a large refrigerator.

I might try it for our next dinner party, though. :-)

Brittany said...

Ugh. I have to disagree, and I am a cheeeeap wine lush. ($0.89 discount wine is the best!) But I find every boxed wine I've had (in the states) gives me the killer headache of badly-made wine (not correlated with price, unsurprisingly), sometimes while I am still drinking it even. Perhaps there exist some that don't, but I've kind of given up trying for that reason.

Hughes ap Williams said...

With only two adults living at our house, boxed wine has been the perfect solution - usually Franzia White Zinfandal which goes with everything.

When we have company and decant some into a bottle for the table, no one ever comments or criticizes.

No waste, decent wine, and you can't beat the price.

kgray said...

We love the Black Box reds. We frequently serve it at dinner parties and our guests are shocked to find it is boxed. We do, however, "dress it up" a bit with these dispensers at Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/122270805/box-wine-barrel-dispenser-with-letters