The Happy Truth About Boxed Wines

friends with wine Let’s imagine—hypothetically—that you like to drink wine. Not enough to slur your words, but a sufficient amount to keep dinner conversations slip-sliding along. You know, then, that vino adds up fast.

But the hit isn’t as big if you buy boxed wines.

Yes, we just said that. If you make smart selections about boxed wines, you can spend less without sacrificing on taste.

But doesn’t cheap equal bad? Not necessarily. Boxed wine producers have lower overhead. Cork, glass and foil are pricier than cardboard and non-toxic polyethylene. The price you normally pay for wine includes the cost (and environmental impact) of shipping thousands of pounds of empty bottles to winemakers. Boxes and bags can make the trip flat.

Black Box Wines is an example of a good brand. They’ve won 28 gold medals since they started boxing wine in 2003. Each box holds the equivalent of four 750 ml bottles for around $20, and there are 10 varietals to choose from.

How long will it stay fresh? Once opened, boxed wine is good for up to six weeks. Bottled wine lasts five days after you’ve popped the cork (if you’re lucky). But unopened, it works the other way around. The plastic bladder inside the wine box only has a one-year shelf life. Some bottled wines can age indefinitely.

What will my guests think? If they don’t see the box, they probably won’t know the difference.

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