The return of boxed wine?

Oh the glorious memories of high school. If it wasn’t wine in a box it was Bartles & Jaymes (couldn’t resist the commercial) or a 2L of Sun Country or Boone’s or… Well you get the point. Boxed wine has been afforded the same stigma that Rose has suffered at the hands of White Zinfandel. Memories, some good, some bad but all including a wine (or a derivative of it) that you’d prefer not to taste again.

So when I opened the package and found 3L samples of both the Big House Red and Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc you know what initially went through my head. But it appears boxed wine is going retro and as history shows, though rarely, sometimes, the 2nd time is better than the 1st. Reports say that boxed wine sales are increasing at almost 10x the pace of overall wine sales. Couple that with the fact that I am a value seeker at heart and I decided to taste these wines with my eyes wide open. What did I find?
The return of boxed wine?

First off before I even get started I should mention that if you have a serious interest in learning more head straight over to Joshua Sweeney’s site and give his Search for the Best Boxed Wine Wrap-Up a read. Okay, you back?

I served these at my niece’s graduation (thus my lack of formal tasting notes) and the Silver Birch was impressive and is a crowd favorite (see best of above or Drink Nectar’s take). This one is potentially on par with the King Shag which would make it quite the steal. The Big House Red while not impressive was certainly drinkable. The Silver Birch I would be happy to serve to guests again and while I wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve the Big House I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk about either. Perhaps the Black Box Malbec, that Joe Roberts (aka 1 Wine Dude) refers to as “Quite a feat to pack that much blueberry & tobacco spice in that lil’ box. A bargain at less than $7 a bottle.”, would be a better selection. What does this all mean to you?

As I see it there are two potential reasons to buy these wines. The first use case being a social gathering where a large amount of wine is necessary. These wines perfectly serve the purpose of being drinkable while not being wasteful from a quality perspective for the vast majority that may not be paying attention. The second use case being that you don’t drink all that much (and/or don’t crave variety in your wines the way I do). These wines are proclaimed to stay fresh for up to six weeks after opening. If either of these cases matches your needs I recommend giving these a try.

What’s your take? Have you had boxed wine lately? If not, are you willing to give it a chance? If so, which one? What did you think?

*as indicated above both the Big House Red and Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc were received as press samples

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10 thoughts on “The return of boxed wine?

  1. Absolutely. Everyone I know who has had it says the Silver Birch is THE home run of the boxed wine world right now. I wanted to prove that actual premium wines could be packaged in boxes with my blog series, and I truly believe that wine alone has proven it for me.

    Many thanks for the link and shoutout, man. Always a good read on your end!

  2. Anyone know where to purchase the Silver Birch in the Pacific NW? Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the great article.


  3. Back in the days (up through college, really) I was a dedicated consumer of Carlo Rossi jug wine. I still crack a smile every time I see it on the shelf with the label of Carlo holding a bunch of grapes.

    Some good times came out of those bottles!

  4. I think that the quality of some of the boxed wines vs. their price points can’t be ignored. Some consumers will use them for a a few weeks as everyday sippers, but I agree that they’re better suited to larger events. We shouldn’t also ignore the fact that the quality of this stuff is so far beyond what would have been available only a few years ago in a box in the U.S. No substitute for a classic wine and never will be, but certainly I think they have their place.


  5. I must admit that I haven’t tried a boxed wine since the early days and it left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended). BUT I am willing to try anything twice (the first time might be a dud) so I will venture out and pick up a few boxes (that feels weird to say/type) to taste. Thanks for the recommendation and the liquid bravery.


  6. Thanks
    I’ll repost to my kayaking group – our problem is we unbox and just take the bladders with us so don’t know what we were drinking- I think we had 4 bladders with us last weekend and they held up well to go with the gourmet food that was cooked I’m not kidding its not like backpacking I think the Pancit with the Pinot was the best meal of the weekend.

  7. Pingback: The Real Meaning of “Value” | Notes From The Cellar

  8. Hey Jason,et al.,
    To date I have yet to revisit box wines since my parents used to have it for parties and it was usually something that created amnesia and a severe frontal lobe event. As a winemaker and future commercial wine producer I am seriously going to look at it as part of our available closures. I think it has tremendous green marketing potential if we can maintain varietal quality and consistentcy and minimize oxidative spoils.

  9. Try the Trader Joes Block Red Shiraz in a box from Australia. 3 liters from at 9.99. I put it into screwtop bottles for storage. Love the wine. Tasting notes on the side of box.

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