Boxed Wine, Screw Caps, and Synthetic Corks…What are your thoughts?

October 17, 2010 at 11:26 AM 3 comments

The typical viewpoint among wine lovers is that boxed wine is usually inexpensive, cheap, and not very good.  I just saw an advertisement from Wegmans (food store that also carries wine, beer, and liquor) about “Black Box Wines”.  They claim that these are higher quality box wines.  So are there any advantages of having wine in a box?  Obviously, it does help with lowering cost because there are no bottles, corks, or fancy labels to advertise and brand the product.  Another benefit to having wine in a box is the length of time it will keep.  Boxed wine usually comes in about 3 Liter sizes, which is equivalent to about 4 bottles of wine.  Now if you were to open 4 bottles of wine, you better have enough people to drink them, or you’ll be pouring vinegar down the drain in the next few days… Boxed wine will last longer because the way they are packaged, air tight in plastic, doesn’t allow oxygen to hit the wine after it is opened.  This advantage alone does make the “concept” quite appealing, however, can boxed wine ever gain the kind of recognition that a fine bottle of wine gets, even if the quality is stellar?

Think about the introduction of screw caps and synthetic corks to many wines as a way of improving overall quality of wine in the bottle.  What’s your take on it?  Personally, I like screw caps, I think they are quick and easy, and I haven’t had a corked bottle yet!  I admit, it isn’t as sexy to open a bottle of wine with a twist of the fingers, as it is to insert a corkscrew, twist it all the way in… and pop it out… (I know what you’re thinking, stop it…uhh, well, on second thought, go ahead, let you’re mind run wild 🙂 )  Now, I’ve never tried a Screaming Eagle cult California Cabernet, screw cap or not, but I’d like to hear from  someone who as tried both, can you tell the difference?  We would really have to compare an aged wine, because that is really where the cork comes into play…

But back to the Boxed wine, it’s kinda the same thing, you really do have to get past the whole look and feel of it if you can ever appreciate it.  Honestly, I don’t know if I can, but I also haven’t tried a decent wine that happened to come out of a box yet.  I would absolutely give it a try, and I will give my honest opinion strictly based on the quality of the wine, because after all, not everyone cares about the sexiness, some people just want to drink a nice glass of wine. Think about it, if you have a really good wine in your glass, do you really care where the wine came from?  There is a time and place for everything.  No doubt it changes things.  Cheapens the allure, probably.  Saves money, definitely.  Preserves wine better, probably… pros and cons, you weigh them and decide for yourself.  I can see decent boxed wine being an excellent concept for restaurants, even wine bars if done the right way… but I really don’t see Chateau d’Yquem or Opus One putting out a boxed wine in the very near future, let alone using screw caps or synthetic corks.


Entry filed under: Box Wine, Non Traditional Packaging. Tags: , , .

Notable Wine – Home Brewing – Part 2 – Bottling Boxed Wine Review 1 – Octavin – Big House White

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tony Tee Neto  |  August 12, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    “… I don’t know if I can, but I also haven’t tried a decent wine that happened to come out of a box yet …”

    So, why do you think that is? Is it because the better “bottlers” don’t agree that it’s a better way to conserve the wine. Or they refuse to do it because of the poor perception. A sort of catch-22, right?

    Nice write-up, Sean. Thanks.

    • 2. notablewine  |  August 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM

      I agree, I haven’t tried a decent one either, but I think I’ll have to, just to let all my Notable Wine-ers know about it. As far as the conservation, box wine really only works for immediate consumption, or relatively immediate… bottles, in fact, they say Magnum(1.5L) bottle are said to be the best to age your wine in (if it is even age-worthy). Something like 90% of all wine is meant to be drunk now… so for many producers, they probably only decline because of perception. it’s kind of like stocks and bonds, some will give a better pay off 10 years from now, while others are more lucrative in the short term… It comes down to personal preference, and knowing your preferences is what will ultimately help determine what to go with. Overall, I think I’m still sticking with bottles! Thanks for the Comment Tee, glad to be of service 😉

  • 3. notablewine  |  October 27, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Well, I’ve tried a decent boxed wine, just check out the “Boxed Wine Review 1” Post…


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