Ever since Constellation introduced Black Box, wines of all quality levels and price segments have been gaining traction with consumers, retailers, and producers alike. Let's break them down and understand why!
Boxes as a wine package consist of a polyethylene bag with a spout inside a cardboard box. They are meant for wines that should be drunk relatively quickly, generally within three months of packaging. This is because the plastic is semi-permeable, and can break down to contribute off-flavors to the wine.
The benefit is that the bag is flexible and deflates as wine is dispensed, which means that oxygen doesn't enter through the spout. Winemakers need to think about volume of headspace in the bag, since it is never completely filled, and what type of gas is in that headspace. It's usually just whatever is in the environment. Even though the bags can be purged with nitrogen the same way a bottle can, we're much more likely to damage the bag in the process. Additionally,to make the switch to packaging in boxes, wineries need to purchase a new bottling line or contract out services with a winery that already has one.
One nice aspect of a box for marketers and retailers is that it can be interestingly shaped, and there's a lot of space to make the product look interesting, fun, sophisticated, or attention-grabbing in some other way.
One of the blessings of boxed wine can be its downfall— its easy packability. Because wines packaged in box are square or rectangular, there’s less dead space on a pallet. Without glass, though, the wine lacks structural support, so pallets cannot be stacked more than two high. Damage to the boxes during transit can be a huge deterrent to consumers, resulting in unsalable product. After all, damage to the box may or may not represent damage to the wine inside.
There's nothing inherently wrong about drinking boxed wine. They can sometimes represent incredible values. I recommend the Jack Tone Red Blend if you can find it, and in a pinch, Vin Vault will do the trick. Why not give one a try, even if it's not an Aridus wine? You might surprise yourself and find your everyday drinking wine!
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