Box Wine Snob?

When I’m writing, whether it be a publication, article, lesson, presentation, or blog post, I always like having a glass of wine at hand. Preferably Rosé. Preferably dry. For some reason, a glass of dry Rosé wine puts me in the right (write?) frame of mind and sparks my creativity or makes me focus on the information I want to share. Rosé, in fact, has been my go-to mind wine for well over a decade. I was drinking it (for the same reasons) way before it started trending.

One of my “jobs” is teaching bi-monthly wine classes to a beginning-to-mid-level group of wine aficionados. While a couple of people are noobs, nearly everyone else has some basic wine knowledge and enjoys the evaluation process of wine. So one evening, the theme of the evening was Box Wine. Or, as it’s known in the industry, Bag in Box Wine.

They were horrified.


Taken aback.

“Boxed Wine?” they sneered collectively. “How could you?”

The disdain was real.

And then we started tasting.

Oh. My.

The wines ranged from $15.00 per box to $85.00 (not a typo) per box. And the latter wasn’t even the most expensive boxed wine available. But I wasn’t ready to spend $100 per box.

First, a Little History

The idea of bag (plastic) inside of box (cardboard or fiberboard) came about in 1964 in Australia. The first boxed wine could only be opened by cutting the box and bag and pouring the wine from the opening. Over the next few years, plastic taps and metallicized plastic bags were incorporated. Nowadays, everything is food-grade safe.

In the US, cardboard is the surround of choice for most box wines, with wooden containers for the more atmospheric brands. Yes. Wooden. Who woulda guessed!

The wines ranged from 2020 Pour Haus Pinot Grigio to 2021 Really Good Boxed Wine Cabernet Sauvignon (90 pts Wine Spectator). Believe it or not, the wines that people liked ranged across all price points.

Because contemporary box wines no longer come in humongous boxes filled with dreck. (Actually, “plonk” in winespeak).

Nowadays, box wines have vintage years, ratings, and climate information. And because many of them are simply bottled wines poured into more shipment-friendly boxes, the quality is the same as the winery’s flagship.

While the twelve-dollar grocery store staples still exist, the fact of the matter is that some wines are pushing the $100 boundary. For instance, Tablas Creek, one of my favorite wineries in Paso Robles, has a $95 box of their Patelin de Tablas Rosé. Once again, not a typo.

And they can’t keep it in stock.

Now that summer is coming, box wines are becoming more popular. If you decide to indulge, these wines are especially good for picnics, outdoor concerts, family get-togethers, BBQs, tail-gaiting (yeah, I know. Fall), etc.

The most important thing in using boxed wine is its care and storage. Glass is heavier and more insular, and paper isn’t. Enjoy this video from the wine geniuses at the University of California at Davis, and see ya next time.



Vegas Wineaux
Vegas Wineaux
Life now, especially after leaving the day job, is even crazier! I hope that you continue to follow and enjoy the wine and Vegas news!


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