August 19, 2016 – Boxed wine has been the stepchild of the U.S. wine industry for decades. The system for putting wine in an airtight bladder with a spigot for pouring, and stashing it all in a box, originated in Australia. Australian winemakers used very respectable wines and it was not considered the least down market to serve boxed wines at a party. In fact, many really famous and well-known brands respected at the high end of the market, were the originators of boxed wine.
In the U.S., unfortunately, boxes were used to sell the worst plonk and as a result, it has taken decades and dedication to break the barrier. The wines available today are very drinkable and even better, affordable. Putting wines in a box is a whole lot cheaper than putting them in a bottle. The growth of this category is around 13 percent a year.
Boxed wine stays fresh for about a year so it is not something to cellar for the future. It is meant to be enjoyed now. Because oxygen is prevented from entering the interior airtight bladder, once “opened” it will stay fresh for about six weeks or so. A 3-liter box is the equivalent of four 750 ml bottles and it also has the advantage of a vastly reduced carbon footprint.
When shopping for boxed wine, look for one that is varietal specific such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. A blend is fine, too. Many designate appellation (where the grapes are from) and vintage. Brands that we recommend include Black Box, FishEye, Banrock Station and BotaBox from California.