I didn’t see this when it first came out, but there was a great article on box wines at the San Francisco Chronicle, Boxy beauties beat the bottle at its own game. Carol Emert, the author of the story, begins,
What if there were a specially designed wine container that kept wine fresh for more than a month after opening? And what if this super container held the equivalent of four regular wine bottles, so you could have a glass of good-quality wine each night for several weeks?
Wouldn’t it be convenient if the package were as compact as a milk carton and didn’t shatter, making it easy to transport? And if a handy spigot made your nightly tipple easy to dispense? And if the price were reasonable, say, $10 to $32, the equivalent of $2.50 to $8 for a 750-ml bottle?
Of course, this uber-packaging does exist: It’s a heavy-duty, airtight plastic bag stowed inside a cardboard box, also known as a bag-in-box or Bota Box or cask — names that wine producers hope will soon replace the plebeian- sounding “box wine.”
On virtually every practical front — save for long-term aging — the bag-in-box format offers a superior alternative to the bottle. But unfortunately, boxes inspire the same fear as pink and sweet wines in insecure American wine drinkers: They used to be a solely mass-market phenomenon, so they’re still perceived as (shudder) low-class.
Emert goes on to provide brief tasting notes for more than a dozen boxed wines that she liked.
I think she really captures the essence of the box wine issue here in the US. Despite their popularity in other countries, wine boxes here seem to connote “bad, cheap wine” to many wine drinkers. We encourage you to get the word out! Serve a good quality box wine at your next party, for example, or have a line of smaller wine boxes set up so that your guests can sample different varieties.
We are seeing progress – even in the hinterlands, stores are starting to add some quality boxes to their staples of Franzia and the like. Do your part to keep things moving!