Here at Box Wines we’ve been predicting an invasion of quality boxed wines from domestic and foreign producers, and we’re pleased to see one such introduction: Free Range Wines from JuiceBox Wine Company. The new firm isn’t launching in a small way – the current lineup of varietals from Free Range includes Pinot Noir, Merlot, Red Bordeaux, White Bordeaux, Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. All of these wines are imported from France, though future Free Range offerings may come from other wine-producing countries.
The firm expects these wines to retail for about $30 per 3-liter box, or the equivalent of $7.50 a bottle. That’s at the higher end of the boxed wine prices you’ll currently find on the most U.S. wine shop shelves, which have been dominated in the past by ultra-cheap, low quality wines from Franzia and similar low-end brands. According to JuiceBox co-founder Jonathan Barry, the quality of the wine in the Free Range boxes compares to that of bottled wine that commands much higher prices. “I am fortunate to have friends in the wine business around the globe who make very good wine. Since we are not required to source our wine from any one particular vineyard I knew that we would find some great wines. These remarkable wines are bright and intense, with loads of fruit flavors. They are great to drink alone or paired with food. Our name, FreeRange, reflects the fact that we are free to range to the best wine producing regions in the world to find outstanding wines.”
Like us, JuiceBox is bullish on boxes. Barry notes, “The U.S. has been behind the rest of the world when it comes to putting wine into innovative packaging; however, that is beginning to change. According to industry data, alternative packaging for wine is showing good acceptance in the U.S. and the three liter bag-in-box packaging is the fasting growing format in the U.S.” We certainly agree – as more products like these are introduced, box wines will be increasingly accepted and appreciated for their unique advantages. The other JuiceBox founder, Tom Eddy, underscores the point: “Wine consumers really appreciate the convenience, portability, and lower cost of wines packaged in the bag-in-box format, and no longer associate the packaging solely with inexpensive wines. This isn’t just a fad.” We can’t disagree with that, though some might say we’re a bit prejudiced here at BoxWines.org ;). The boxes, by the way, are the bag-in-box type that keeps air out and preserves freshness for weeks after opening.
At the moment, Free Range Wines are available mainly in the Northeast US, but the firm hopes to roll out these wines nationally within the coming year. Check the Free Range Wines website to see if there’s distribution in your area. If you happen to BE a wine distributor in a state that isn’t yet served, I’m sure the folks at Free Range would be happy to hear from you.
We’ll be tasting these wines in the coming weeks, and we’ll of course share our impressions. Overall, we’re excited to see interest in putting less common varietals into box packaging, and we hope the wines live up to their advance billing.