Its presence at a party doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
But despite its reputation, boxed wine is actually mad awesome — and not just because it’s so much cheaper than the bottled stuff. (But let’s be real: That doesn’t hurt.)
They might not look fancy, but boxes — or more accurately, the vacuum-packed bags inside them — are actually a great way to store wine. In fact, vintners around the world are starting to ditch the stigma and box their wine. Yes, even the (pretty) good stuff.
Listen, I’m not saying you’re going to find the finest Bordeaux or can’t-miss Champagne cuvee in cardboard. (In fact, the latter would be literally impossible.)
But if you’re a casual wine drinker, buying boxed to save money is a totally solid option. Here are 10 reasons your bias against boxed wine is actually all wrong.
1. It’s Cheaper, Obviously
It’s not the only reason to love boxed wine, but it’s one of the most important.
The value of boxed wine is pretty freaking enormous. Even the better ones hover around $20 a box.
And since a standard 3-liter box contains as much wine as four regular bottles, that breaks down to five bucks a bottle (or about a dollar a glass).
Which leads us to the second point:
2. You Get More Wine
Which is always better than less wine.
Yes, even if it’s Franzia… I think.
3. It’s Better for the Environment
According to the back of the box (and also the New York Times), the production of boxed wine generates about half the emissions per 750-milliliter serving — that is, the amount inside a standard bottle — of bottled wine.
The Times goes on to conclude that boxing, rather than bottling, the 97% of wines made to be drunk within a year “would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars.”
As if you needed another reason to feel great while drinking wine, am I right?
4. It’ll Never be Bad When You Open It…
And unlike traditionally bottled wine, you’ll never open it to find it “corked” (that is, contaminated with the nasty, musty, wine-destroying compound TCA).
5. … and Once You Do, It’ll Stay Good for Weeks
If you’re a red wine drinker, you know the struggle: You’ve got three days on the counter, tops, before that delicious merlot turns to vinegar.
But thanks to its handy-dandy vacuum-sealed spigot, boxed wine has a longer shelf life after opening than its bottled counterparts. And I mean way longer. Up to six whole weeks, in fact.
(Not that leftover wine is usually a problem in my house.)
6. The Labels are Way Less Confusing
Overwhelmed in the wine aisle?
Understandable. You figure out your favorite varietal only to discover some bottles don’t list it. You hear California wine is the best but don’t know the difference between Monterey, Paso Robles and Sonoma.
With boxed wine, it’s pretty self-explanatory: There’s a brand, a varietal and little else. No need to puzzle over appellation names or vintages.
Bonus: You pretty much know exactly what to expect every single time, no matter when you buy it!
7. You Can Bring It to Glass-Free Zones
I will never forget the time I went to Bonnaroo and was forced to drink crappy light beer for four days.
With boxed wine, music festivals, campsites, public pools and more become totally wine-friendly — and thus, obviously, much improved.
8. You Don’t Have to Struggle With a Bunch of Bottles
Talk about efficient: Bringing a box into the house is like toting four bottles with one hand — and looks far less suspect.
9. It’s Usually Pretty Easy to Drink
Boxed wine is made to be simple, widely paired and crowd-pleasing. You’re likely not going to find a big, complex or aggressively flavored wine in a box.
That said, it probably also won’t be the best wine ever… but if you’re not a gourmet, it’s unlikely to be straight-up offensive.
10. Nobody Has to Know
Just open that spigot, and let your boxed wine flow directly into that pretty glass decanter you never get to use.
Place your decanted wine on the table, and voila — fancier than any ol’ bottle could ever hope to be.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite boxed wine?
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder and WSET-certified wino. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.