We at Vegas Wineaux try very hard not to give the impression that we’re wine snobs. But when news breaks that it takes a little extra care to keep boxed wine fresh and drinkable, our noses immediately shoot up into snooty territory.

Yes, I know this story broke last month, but while I tried to stay away from it, I found that I just had to make at least one snarky comment.

For those of you who haven’t visited the wine aisle of a grocery market in the last few decades and who are unaware of the term “box wine,” let me give you a quick description. It’s wine that’s stored in a plastic “bladder” which is inside of a thin cardboard box. It’s also called “bag in box.” How appetizing. It’s been years since I’ve had box wine (at least knowingly), and I recall that the plastic was pretty hefty. I’d keep sharp objects away from it anyway.

Not that you’d actually need a corkscrew.

Anyway, the quality ranges from dreck (which I like better as a term than “plonk,” by the way), to “hm. I could use this for cooking.” I have yet to taste a box wine Box Wine Cutaway Viewthat would make me wish that I could age it. Not that you would age a wine in plastic and cardboard. I mean, really.

The shock came when I found out that an actual study had been done. By the king of wine education, University of California at Davis no less. Really?!?

As a former staffer and student of the UC system (Riverside), I can state that UC Davis was always held in special awe. Of course, my first response when I learned that they taught Oenology (the study of wine), I said, “They teach about wine?!? Huh.” I mean, coming from a background of Mogen David and Ripple, I didn’t think that people actually had to go to school to learn how to make that stuff. Who knew.

At any rate, they found that all wines stored at 50°F aged and kept better than those stored at room temperature. Box wine degraded quickly (how could they tell) at room temperature. This was confirmed by both taste and chemical analysis.

Now according to the wine pundits online, box wine isn’t the disaster that it used to be. Color me skeptical. But I think I’ll do a tasting – that is, if I can find some Vegas Wineaux victims volunteers.  There is the equivalent of two to four bottles of wine in one typical box, and that’s a bit much for tasting.  More than enough for drinking!  So I’ll see if anyone comes forward, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.  If we decide that it’s worth drinking and enjoying on a regular basis, I may even buy a purse for my box wine. Stranger things have happened.

So there you have it. Box wine degrades quickly at room temperature. In other breaking news, the sky is blue.

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  1. I won’t be banging a wooden spoon against a cookie sheet for bag-in-box wine, but the ones I have sampled have been pretty good. I don’t buy them but, if I did, I would shop at a place that stores them cool.


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