WINE:30 – The Box Wine Revolution

Box wine was invented in Australia in the 1960s by a research sponsored by Penfolds in order to sell its entry-level wines at a less expensive price. The research produced wine in a plastic bag within a box. This product keeps air from getting to the wine even as wine is released, keeping the product as fresh as when you just opened it (as long as you kept the box in the fridge and finished the contents within a month).

This led to many wineries using such a product for their cheapest wines, which led the consumer to label box wines as low-end and low quality wines for many years.

But cheap box wines are starting to get better. Several quality producers are realizing they can provide their consumers with great value for better wines. The wines that make up 98 percent of the market are wines that are meant to be drunk young. Putting these wines in a box allows for a better retail cost for consumers on quality wines. This, along with a lower carbon footprint from boxed wines, hits a couple of sweet spots for a lot of consumers.

And while there are probably still some of you out there that say you would never drink wine from a box, you probably already have. Some of the affordable international wines that you buy were probably shipped overseas in a large bladder before being bottled here in the United States.

So keep your eye out for more wines with better quality being put in this box format. There is also a trend of these boxed wines coming in all sizes, from 500 milliliters to 1.5 liters to the big 3 liters and 5 liters already on most grocery store shelves. You will also start noticing many restaurants and bars starting to use boxed wines, as it keeps the glass of wine you get fresh and not oxidized.


Karl Bradley is the wine sales representative for General Beverage Wines for the Door County area. He has worked in fine dining and wine sales for more than 25 years and has a sommelier certificate from the Court of the Master Sommeliers.

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