Don’t belittle wine in a box

Box wine, a very good alternative.

Box wine, depending on who you ask, is either the future of wine or the ugly stepsister, writes Jon Thorsen. Long hailed with amazing potential, what actually gets to the market rarely seems to live up ... or does it?

Once hidden away from judging eyes behind coffee machines or stashed deep inside refrigerators, box wines have begun to come of age and have the potential to represent the ultimate value for wine drinkers. The only problem is winnowing the wheat from the chaff because, as we found first hand, there's still a whole lot of boxed plonk out there. And if the wine is no good, serving it in a box just means you have a whole lot of bad wine.

You may very well be asking why anyone would want to drink wine out of a box, no matter how good it is. Let me give you four reasons:

1. Convenience is a major factor. The typical box is three liters (3L), which is the equivalent of 4 bottles. Boxes are easy to buy, easy to transport , easy to use (no corkscrew necessary), and always on hand and ready to please whether you just want a wee glass or you need to (discreetly) fill your Starbucks Trenta cup.

2. Cost. Not only do you generally save purely because you are buying in bulk, but bag-in-box packaging costs a fraction of traditional glass bottlings for the same amount of wine. In addition, with the box packaging itself weighing about the same as a single glass bottle there are massive savings in shipping costs which in theory get passed on to you.

3. Freshness. Box wine stays perfectly good for 4 to 6 weeks after opening. Even the best preservation methods for a bottle of wine will only save it for a few days, but with the advanced vacuum sealed pouches used today your wine stays as good as new for weeks after you pour the first glass.

4. And last but not least, box wine puts an end to worries about cork taint which, depending on whose estimates you believe, affects anywhere from 2% to 10% of cork sealed bottles.

(Source: SNOOTH)