Wineries are trying the packaging on good quality house-wines and consumers can get a GREAT value out of wines that are drinkable now for the next 5 years in a box wine. Corks are being reserved for wine that needs aged, and to reduce cost – weight – glass, wineries are trying boxes. Not all wines in boxes are cheap.
It’s clear that the consumer is unaware of the good reasons to consider a good quality box wines based on current sales. One article stated 6.5% of total wine sales in the US, with premium wine boxes accounting for no more than 3%. (https://www.officelibations.com/is-boxed-wine-really-as-bad-as-you-think-it-is/).
There are some boxes containing QUALITY WINE. One quote said “If you put good wine in a box, it is good boxed wine. If you put bad wine in a box, it is bad boxed wine. Definitely there are plenty of boxes out there and rarer are the quality ones, but if you look there are some trying it. Our French vendor placed a good base product into the box to reduce consumer cost. Whether the wine is good or not is as easy as looking up reviews, but price is a good indicator. The cheaper the total box is, it’s more likely to also contain that level of quality. Simply call up the wine on the internet for reviews to learn if it’s a true value or not.
EXAMPLE: Bottle2Glass, who I represent, in Akron Ohio distributes a great-priced premium Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc by Mentou-Salon “La Petit Pressior” France when compared to $5.00+ more for the individual bottle. The full retail glass bottle with a cork is $15, but you can get 5 bottles in a BOX for $6.66, a savings of nearly ½ the glass bottle! At $45 for the white and $55 red, the total cost is high until you learn it contains 6 bottles in a box.
VALUE TO THE CONSUMER
- SAFE for BOATS – BACKYARDS – BAREFEET and POOLS, PARKS + PARTIES – unbreakable around things where glass isn’t good! Caterers also like the products as the volume can be consumed, and left-overs saved to the next event.
- LESS WEIGHT –significantly lesser weight for 6 bottles is easier to carry to your next party and event.
- SAVINGS – The savings using a box is passed onto the consumer in purchase value. Overall you get more for your money.
- LASTS LONGER – Once opened, a bottle of unused wine will last only a day or so to a week as it is affected by oxygen exposure. That oxygen ‘ruins’ the wine by turning the alcohol into acetaldehyde.
Boxed wine contains an inner “bag-in-box” (BIB). It uses an air-tight vacuum-sealed bag that prevents oxidation. A good boxed wine will be just as good six weeks later after opening vs days with a regular bottle because because air doesn’t touch the sealed wine nor leave a oxygen-blank space. Even without refrigeration, the wine lasts for weeks after opening. While the wine will oxidize, it’s 20x slower due to less oxygen exposure.
- LESS WASTE – when you don’t normally finish a bottle, boxes reduce the risk having to throw away a ‘turned’ bottle.
WINERIES NEED PACKAGING SOLUTIONS. The wineries are hoping consumers consider the box packaging as they are seeking packaging solutions due to some very series supply chain issues. Packaging wine has been a huge factor for wineires due to:
- MANY WINES DO NOT NEED A CORK OR BENEFIT FROM ONE – many wines will not ‘age’ in the bottle and are immediately drinkable upon release. The wine might have already been aged and is released to drink now for 2-5 years. Wines that are not intended to be ‘aged’ will not need a cork not benefit from one, so it’s a waste to use this natural resource. Many are seeking alternative man-made materials for ‘corks’ to seal their product, serving as a bottle closure vs. a true cork.
- CORK FAILIRE – about 1-2% of corks ‘fail’ creating a ‘corked’ product. A failed cork creates a chemical reaction called TCA = trichloroanisole, producing a moldy wet-smell like damp cement or wet newspapers. A Wine Spectator article said cork failure is 1 percent to 2 percent. This does not happen with a boxed wine. There is significantly less potential of the wine loss from packaging in a boxed wine over time than that of a corked product.
- BOTTLE SHORTAGE – wineries are dealing with a glass shortage. Articles state many reasons, mostly affected by COVID plant shut-downs, bottleneck at the ports, trucking and shipping, and returning labor issues all creating a ‘perfect storm’ of less glass bottles available for this years harvest.
- ENVIRONMENTAL – uses less resources to make and less waste created, and maybe even recyclable again. Boxed wines leaves a small carbon footprint. Quality box producers are using BPA-free, food-grade plastic for their bags. This means that there is virtually zero risk of chemicals from the plastic leaching into the wine.
- SHIPPING WEIGHT REDUCTION – a typical 750-ml bottle of wine weighs roughly 1.32 pounds, and adding the liquid is about 60% of the bottle’s weight. A typical standard 750ml wine bottle weighs about 2.65 pounds. Shipping that weight is the biggest costs facing getting your wine to your store. All wineries would love to find consumer-accepted way to transport wine with less weight!
Admitedly a box isn’t sexy — –perhaps there’s less romance in a box wine than popping a cork, but that rarely matters on a boat or at a party. The Bottle2Glass product is a card-board box with a sticker on front, and the external appeal could be improved.
Besides ‘romantic appeal’ there are few downsides to a box except that consumers haven’t purchased it enough, so it’s still being avoided by producers. As such, there isn’t a large selection of the higher-quality wines yet. Of course, I recommend you try B2Gs Mentou-Salon “La Petit Pressior” France for the Sauvignon Blanc (35.98 = 8.99 bottle) or Pinot Noir (49.48 = $9.89 bottle) and begin experiencing the value of the box.