What Do Sommeliers Really Think Of Boxed Wine?


As consumers become more and more environmentally conscious, boxed wine has made the incredible ascent from trashy to trendy. These wine receptacles are no longer solely associated with discount stores and rousing rounds of "slap the bag" at college parties. But, just because mainstream consumers have moved on to thinking that boxed booze is a practical purchase doesn't mean that those who take wine most seriously are on board.We asked five sommeliers, wine educators, and wine directors from across the country to share their true feelings about boxed wine. Surprisingly, most were open to the trend, and some were as excited about it as the rest of us. Ahead, the wine experts explain their boxed wine opinions and even suggest which brands we should try.AdvertisementAt Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.1 of 5"While it's not something that has a place in our restaurant, box wine has a place in my heart. You can usually find a box of La Petite Frog Picpoul De Pinet, Languedoc ($24) in the refrigerator and a box of Vina Borgia Garnacha, Spain ($18) on the counter."
"While I also have plenty of beautiful unique wines in my cellar, those are for evenings with friends and thoughtful meals. When I get home from work or settle in to watch an episode of A Handmaids Tale after the kids go to bed, a glass of wine from the box is exactly what I am having. I typically only have one glass — why open a bottle when the box will stay fresh for up to 30 days opposed to three? It's a much more sustainable option. With sustainability on everyone's minds, a lot more winemakers are giving us options. #ThisisnotyourmomsboxofFranzia."
Lindsey Ofcacek, wine director at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY and co-founder and executive director of The Lee Initiative PreviousINFOViña BorgiaGarnacha$28.94BUYINFOLa Petite FrogPicpoul De Pinet$24.99BUY Next20 Canned Rosés To Order Online This SummerCheap Wine-Buying Hacks You Can TrustWine Delivery Services That Bring Bottles To You2 of 5"I was dining at a high-end Italian restaurant in NYC about two weeks ago. After meeting the owner, he quickly pulled up a chair and we proceeded to dive into all things wine. He produces wines from Tuscany and asked if I would like to 'try something from the back.' He returned and poured a most delicious Sangiovese from a carafe. I am not sure how we got on the topic of wine cork, but I mentioned that I think the majority of wines don't need cork. Cork is only needed if you want to lay down a wine to age. His face lit up, and he disappeared again. This time he came back and said, 'Want to know where the wine you are drinking came from?' He set down a box of wine on the table.
"Today's wine buyers are more environmentally conscious and the ways they are drinking wine is changing. Screw cap, cans, tetra paks, boxes, wines on tap — these are the future. And boxed wines have very obvious advantages. Most hold about three liters (or about four bottles), making them perfect for large crowds, or if it is just you, that wine will stay fresh for about three weeks after opening, not four to five days.
"So how do we change our perception of boxed wine? In my opinion, we start drinking it.
"It's like the chicken or the egg. Which comes first? Quality or demand? If we start buying boxed wine, will more producers join in and add better and better quality wines? Or does the quality need to rise before consumers get the memo? I am not sure, but I do know there are some great boxed wines out there already.
"Here are some delicious boxed wines to get you started:
VRAC, Rosé Bag-in-Box – 2018: It's summer and that means rosé time. This rosé delivers on what you love about pink wines from Provence. It is perfect for that cheese platter you are having at an outdoor concert or that BBQ by the pool.
Bridge Lane Wine Boxes: If you cannot decide which kind of wine to try first, why not get them all? This producer is fantastic and has you covered.
Bota Box Shiraz: I love to find a solid red option and this one fits the bill. Not only would this be great for groups, but if you live a Netflix/Seamless life and need a wine to go with your burgers and pizza, it will last you weeks if you are only having a glass or two a night!"
— Sayle Milne, certified wine educator and founder of Wine Savvy NYC PreviousINFO VracVin De Pays De Mediterranee Rosé$34.99BUYINFOBota BoxShiraz$18.98BUYINFOBridge Lane WinesWhite Merlot (box)$38.00BUYINFOBridge Lane WinesRosé (box)$38.00BUYINFOBridge Lane WinesRed Blend (box)$38.00BUYINFOBridge Lane WinesChardonnay (box)$38.00BUYINFOBridge Lane WinesSauvignon Blanc (box)$38.00BUY NextAdvertisement3 of 5 "We at DECANTsf don't currently work with boxed wine, but we are on the hunt for some. In our pursuit of being more eco-friendly, boxed wine does seem like it may help lower our carbon footprint, as shipping a palate of lightweight boxes holding 3L of wine from France should weigh less than a palate of Jeroboams. But then the question for me is, what is the bladder made of? Is the packaging completely recyclable or compostable? Or am I just shipping over more non-recyclable plastic that might end up in the ocean?
"I think the novelty of boxed wine is there for consumers. I personally think the boxed format should be a no-brainer for natural producers who refuse to use sulphur, so an airtight packaging might be the best thing to keep those wines from going sour within a few hours of popping the cork.
"I think boxed wine will take sommeliers a long time to get comfortable with, as kegged wine for tap programs took a while to catch on with sommeliers and was then implemented in restaurants, but now it's pretty ubiquitous. Sommeliers, including myself, are still wary of most canned wine, and you almost never see it in a restaurant program. At DECANTsf, we tasted a lot before selecting the cans of wine on our shelves.
"What it takes is high-quality producers putting high-quality wine in high-quality and eco-friendly boxes with high-quality design. When I start tasting that, then DECANTsf will probably get on board with boxed wine."
— Cara Patricia, advanced sommelier and co-founder of DECANTsf4 of 5"It's true that 'wine in a box' may have at one point been considered trashy… but who knew that the boxed wines of the 80s and 90s would actually turn out to be an incredibly forward-thinking way to package wine?!
"I am 100% on board with the boxed wine trend in its current incarnation, because the container itself is not a quality indicator of what's inside: it's not just Franzia anymore. Today, there are organic, interesting, fresh, and delicious wines available in the bag-in-box format: our friend group (incidentally full of sommeliers and top NYC bartenders) actually served a boxed 'From The Tank' wine for Thanksgiving this year, we poured it into decanters and set them out right on the table — and it was the favorite wine of the night! They're great for a crowd, but I think they are brilliant for the solo drinker: you can pour just a glass without opening an entire bottle, and the box will be good in your fridge for months.
"These are my favorites:
White – Schplink! Gruner Veltliner, $29.99
Red – From the Tank Vin Rouge Côtes-du-Rhône, $34
Rosé – Lieb Cellars Bridge Lane Rosé, $38
— Sarah Tracey, sommelier and founder of The Lush Life PreviousINFOBridge Lane WinesRosé (box)$38.00BUYINFODomaine de la Patience From the TankRed Côtes-du-rhône – Nv$33.96BUYINFOSchplïnk!Schplïnk! – Grüner Veltliner Box 2016$29.99BUY Next5 of 5"Boxed wine is becoming much more in trend. I think this is largely because it's better for the environment (leaves a MUCH smaller carbon footprint) and is less expensive to put on the market with the same great grapes producers are already growing. There has been a large influx of wineries reserving some of their vineyards to produce a boxed wine in addition to their current labels. From the consumer standpoint, with the rise of tetra paks and canned wine has helped remove the stigma of boxed wine and it's becoming much more embraced. Plus it lasts longer than an open bottle and is a great value!
"Arrumaco, Garnacha Rosé 2018: I actually tried this out of the bottle (loved it) and was surprised to hear they also package each vintage in a box! It's a rosé based off of Garnache (Grenache) it has flavors of ripe berries and tangerine.
"Domaine Gerard Neumeyer, Pinot Noir 2017: German Pinot Noir's are awesome because they drink like a light Burgundian Pinot Noir but can often cost a lot less in the store. This is a great example of that lean and tart style of Pinot Noir and is 100% Organic!
"La Patience "From the Tank" Coteaux du Pont du Gard Vin Blanc NV: La Patience is a great winery in the Languedoc-Roussillon that makes bottled wine, but recently started making a boxed wine that goes straight from the tank into the box. The goal of the winemaker was to make a perfect picnic wine with the same grapes they are bottling and aging. It's great with soft cheese and salads!"
— Amy Racine, advanced sommelier at The Times Square EDITION in New York, NY PreviousINFODomaine de la Patience From the TankVin Blanc Nv (3000ml)$34.99BUYINFOArrumacoGarnacha Rosé 2018 3l Box$29.99BUY NextAdvertisement


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