Are box wines really that bad?

Monthaven Winery Chardonnay Boxed Wine

Monthaven Winery Chardonnay Boxed Wine

Years of poor quality wine in cardboard boxes have made even the most frugal wine shopper pass them by. However, recent quality improvements as well as a focus on “greener” delivery methods have brought the box back to bearable. With Memorial Day just a few weeks away, in the short video below, I bring four options to CBS12 and chat with Kara Kostanich about them.

What’s good about boxed wine?

  • Boxed wines are affordable. They typically come in boxes that hold three liters, or the equivalent of four regular 750 ml bottles of wine.  You usually pay 1/2 to 2/3 price of the four bottles.
  • Box wines last longer after opening. Boxed wines typically last about four to six weeks after opening, allowing you to not worry about spoilage if you are just pouring one glass from a bottle.
  • Box wines are more eco-friendly. The packaging for boxed wines is not only cheaper than the packaging for the equivalent four bottles, it’s also lighter. That allows delivery to be more “green”, using less carbon emissions to transport them.

What’s Bad About Boxed Wine

  • The quality is still low. While the wines I brought to the show are fine for drinking, they won’t win any awards.  They are definitely steps in the right direction, but for me, they’ll be relegated for big parties where the budget is the focus.
  • They have a shorter shelf life than bottles. Talking with a number of retailers, they all agree that boxes don’t last more than six months. The new Octavin wines, such as the Monthaven in the video, say they last over a year. I’ve not put that to the test, yet.
  • They are a bit more difficult to keep at serving temperature. The producers of Monthaven say the reds should be served at 57 degrees, the whites about 50. That means having them outside in the summer time requires some thought as to how you’ll keep them cool. Ice may cause the cardboard to soften and break, and you’ll have basically a plastic bag in the ice chest.

In the video I talk about

  • How to store boxed wine
  • How to serve boxed wine
  • A bit about how the wines taste
  • The prices of the box wines we tried

My next post will talk about each of the wines in a little more detail. Be sure to come back and see what I have to say about the Double Dog Dare and Monthaven box wines, which were purchased from Total Wine and More here in Florida..

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10 thoughts on “Are box wines really that bad?

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matthew S Horbund, Kate. Kate said: Are boxed wines really that bad? | A Good Time With #Wine [...]

  2. Nice to see you, Matthew.

  3. norcalwingman says:

    I have a box at home I need to review. Also have a box of Big House Red!

    I hear they've come a long way from Franzia pink or chablis.


  4. Thanks Mia! Hope all is well!!

  5. I think Big House Red is the same group that does the Monthaven! Let me know what you think.

  6. If you keep the reds in your fridge, isn’t that too cold for them? I guess I need to locate a cool dry place for storing my reds.
    Have you reviewed the boxes that the wines come in at all?

  7. Adam
    Thanks for stopping by, and commenting. Even better, a great question. Keeping the reds in the fridge isn’t bad for them at all. Therefore, I will assume when you say “too cold for them”, you are asking if they’ll taste right if stored in the fridge. Serving wines, red or white, too cold, will mute their flavors and make them bland and boring. However, simply taking them out of the fridge 30 or 60 minutes before serving will get them to “room temperature” and they’ll be perfect for serving. A few things to keep in mind, first room temperature isnt 70 or 80 degrees, but rather, about 60-65 degrees when it comes from wine. When wines are served too warm, over 70 in my opinion, you taste nothing but the alcohol. Second, storing wines so they are “too cold” has no ill effect on them. A wine cellar is often in the 55 degree range, which allows the wine to age without issue. If it gets too much coder, it simply slows down the aging process. Much warmer, however, and the aging process is accelerated. While 60 degrees isnt terrible for your wine, the warmer it gets, the less likely it’ll last long periods of time.

    As for the boxes, I’ve not put a lot of time or effort into studying them. However, I can easily talk about the box of these wines, as well as the Pepperwood Grove “Big Green Box” I recently sampled and will write up soon.

  8. Thanks for the reply Matt. In the winter here in PA, we keep our house at about 65 degrees, and will consume a box in about 2 weeks, so do you think we will need to refrigerate it at all?

  9. I am going to assume that you are keeping your house at or below 70 degrees in winter? I would say if that is the case, you should be fine. The issue really comes to taste, because over 65-68 degrees you’re really going to get a “hot” taste rather than the various components of the wine. However, if you are happy with what you’re drinking, and like it, you go for it ;)

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