We all know the debate, and we may have even googled it at some point. ‘Is box wine any good?’ or ‘What is a quality box wine?’
I believe great strides are being made by some good producers to offer a bag-in-a-box option.
So, to prove a point, recently, I picked a bag in a box wine – Vermador Organic and Vegan White Wine – as my Friday Patrick’s Pick. There was much exclaiming from my friends over this. They were surprised that I would deviate from my usual 750ml choice of bottled wine.
Their attitude was that wine in a bag is of lower quality. So, I want to use this blog post to explore the topic of box wine and maybe change your attitude towards same.
Many people don’t give wine in a box any leeway at all. This probably stems from the belief that everything that is on the cheaper side is automatically taken into consideration as low quality. Especially in the world of wine.
For some wines, the only difference is the packaging. This blog has examined many of the various differences previously, such as labelling, the shape of the bottle, the size of the bottle and the closure, e.g. wine labels and bottles.
I would add one more option to these—whether the same wine can be put in either a bottle or a bag in a box. Boxed wine is gaining acceptance for good reason: the wines can be as good as their bottled contemporaries, though they do tend to be made in the ready-to-drink style.
I believe great strides are being made by some good producers to offer a bag-in-a-box option - Patrick O'Connor @greenacresirl
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What is Box Wine?
Box wine is literally wine in a box. I suppose it really is wine in a bag, in a box. The bag is a type of plastic bladder with an air-tight valve that sticks out of the box and acts as a tap. Nowadays, there are many more packaging designs appearing.
Wikipedia explains the origin of box wine: “The process for packaging ‘cask wine’ (boxed wine) was invented by Thomas Angove, a winemaker from Renmark, South Australia, and patented by his company on April 20, 1965. Polyethylene bladders of one gallon (4.5 litres) were placed in corrugated boxes for retail sale.”
Originally, one had to cut-off the corner of the plastic bladder inside the box, and then reseal it with a peg supplied. The air-tight tap was patented in 1967, making storage much more convenient than constant resealing. All modern box wine now have some kind of plastic tap, which is usually exposed by tearing apart an inner layer of a perforated panel on the box.
Maybe the stigma that exists in relation to box wine being of less quality came from the original producers. Box packaging was usually preferred by producers that made less expensive wines as it is cheaper to produce compared to the regular glass bottles.
Cheaper Box Wine Does Not Equal Lower Quality
Let’s get one thing straight. The main reason box wines are cheaper is because the raw material used to produce the packaging costs less than that of the material used to make glass packaging. This doesn’t mean that the quality is compromised in box wine.
Just like there are bottled wines that are of low quality, there are boxed wines that are of low quality as well. I believe, like bottled wine, the quality of a wine can depend on the drinker and their preferences.
Pros and Cons of Box Wine vs Bottled Wine
Interestingly, in the past women have been more reluctant than men to select a boxed wine. Women generally persisted with the attitude that boxes housed lower quality wine, although this seems to be changing in recent years. Another irony is that sales of “value” box wines are slowing down. A current growth spurt is being driven primarily by “premium” wine producers.
Another force that, I reckon, will drive younger people towards boxed wine is that they have roughly half the carbon footprint of bottled wines. Also, most box packaging is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, making it much more desirable among environmentally aware wine drinkers.
To wrap up this section I would say, box wine has many advantages.
- It’s cheaper
- You can get it in big quantities for parties (e.g. 5 litre)
- It’ll fit into your fridge
- It has a spout for pouring (with no dribbles)
- It can taste as good as bottled wine
- It’s fun and makes a great gift
- It’s more environmentally friendly
- It can be put in a cool looking dispenser
The only downside is that boxed wine has an expiration date. As in, it will go bad sitting on your shelf even if you haven’t opened it. You need to consume a boxed wine within six to eight months if you want it to taste good.
Here’s a Recap
Box wine has a tarnished image. People look down on it because it doesn’t come in a fancy bottle, and assume the contents are nasty and cheap. While that may be true for some box brands, the better producers are starting to use box wine also.
Why? Because it’s easy to transport, stays fresh longer, costs less, and is better for the environment.
Trust me, I didn’t write this article to prove that wine in a bag is better than wine in a bottle. On the contrary – I just want to erase the stigma of “boxed wines are low quality” from your head.
You may well have plenty of beautiful bottled wines stored at home (that you bought from Green Acres) and that’s perfect. Also, your favourite wine may not come in a box!
Whether in a box or a bottle, it’s still wine that one can enjoy whenever they want. It just depends on your personal preference and whether it is to be consumed immediately.
Attitudes are shifting, and boxed wine sales are on the rise. So, all things considered, boxed wine can be a decent choice for the environment and your kitchen.
One caveat, while boxed wine is heading in the right direction, not all boxes contain good wine. If you’re looking for quality make sure you talk to a dedicated wine retailer.
Contact me if you would like to discuss our boxed or bottled wine options for your next socially distanced party.
#wearamask – Talk Soon – Patrick.
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