Yes. You read that correctly.
And we’re gonna unpack it. (See what I did there? ::chuckles::)
When you think of box wine, depending on your age, chances are you think of a cheap, cranberry juice-esque beverage mixed with what tastes like rubbing alcohol and sugar. Perhaps you think of the broke college aged student of 20 years ago, who delighted in a glass of the cardboard clad good stuff. And those images are valid… except not really.
You see, box wine seems to have grown up! I don’t know when this happened. Last I knew, box wine was a punchline. It was a lesser cousin to the jugs of table wine sold by the handle in the lower corner shelves of wine shops. The shelf of shame, if you will, with maybe two brands from which to choose, with plain packaging that might as well have simply said, “WELL, YOU WON’T DIE RED” or “ACTUALLY, YOU MIGHT WHITE.”
Fast forward to today, when a recent trip to my favorite wine shop in the ‘burbs yielded not two, but close to ten (yes, TEN!) different brand (dare I call them vineyards?) choices for box wine, with several varietals available in some cases. Mind. Blown.
Even the packaging has changed! Know those tall skinny cartons used for coconut water? Now your wine can come packaged that way too, in smaller juice box sizes and large Tetra Pak cartons, some of which hold more than the standard 750 ml in a bottle.
Let’s go back to the box wine of yore. Packaging helped keep costs lower, and that’s still the case. Technically, your wine is in a bag inside the box, attached to a spigot that you press down to pour a glass. It’s a bag-in-a-box of wine, technically! But without glass in the process, it’s lighter to carry and cheaper to make, which also makes it cheaper to buy. WIN!
And box wine has always been known for its sheer ability to move more wine in an easy fashion: these days your average full sized box of wine carries 4 bottles worth, often at a much lower cost than that of 4 actual bottles. MORE WIN!
The smaller cartons are so cute and portable – can’t you see them at picnics and outdoor events this summer?
I can’t lie: I was impressed. But how much was just marketing and clever containers? To what levels of society has this box o’ booze reached and become acceptable? Can I bring a box of wine to a dinner party? Will I be laughed out of the room? Will my hosts pelt me with brie and canapes as I retreat and shriek my apologies?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’m showing up with a Franzia hostess gift anytime soon, but… I think a tasting is in order. ::winks::
Stay tuned, wine lovers!