Despite the public’s negative reactions at the mere mention of boxed wine, one thing is undeniable: it’s a brilliant idea. Known in the industry as the bag-in-a-box, the packaging solves a common problem that troubled winemakers for centuries. Whether in an urn, cask or bottle, no matter how these are sealed, air attacks and degrades the wine, making an opened container’s life only a few days long.
In 1965, Australian winemaker Thomas Angove was not seeking to change the image of wine but looking for a more practical and cost effective method for wine packaging. His invention evolved into today’s boxed wine. The box has a soft, flexible bag inside that is filled with wine and sealed without air. As the wine is drawn out the flexible bag collapses and protects the remaining wine from airspoilage. Placing the bag inside a box allows for space efficiency and ease of transportation.
You can’t deny it is a brilliant invention, yet image issues and the myth that boxed wine is inferior have prevented people from embracing it, much like our thoughts on screw-top wines just 10 years ago. In the early days, boxed wine concerns were founded, with an enormous amount of poor-quality wines being put into a box. But today more vintners areembracing the trend, and excellent quality boxed wines are resulting.
These are a few I have tasted and believe give the consumer a fresh new look at boxed wines.
- 2011 Lindeman’s Pinot Grigio, Australia (about $20 retail)
- 2011 Big House Red, California (about $22 retail)
- 2011 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $20 retail)
- 2011 Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $24 retail)
- 2011 Vina Borgia Garnacha, Spain (about $19 retail)
- 2011 Folonari Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $21 retail)
- 2011 Bota Box Chardonnay, California (about $20retail)