A Surprising Number Of People Think Franzia Is The Best Boxed Wine Brand

Boxed wine is a kind of divisive topic. It's been around for over 50 years, but for much of that time, it's been the Rodney Dangerfield of the booze world in that it got no respect whatsoever. More recently, however, higher-end wine makers have realized that boxes actually do have some advantages over bottles (a much longer storage time, for one thing, as well as the fact that they don't tend to shatter when you drop them), and that they can package their fancy wines in plebeian cardboard without having to sacrifice too much of the snootiness factor.

Still, when it comes to wine drinking, one truism little acknowledged by connoisseurs is that most of us drink what we can afford to drink, and in fact may well prefer what we're used to than what we're told we really "should" be liking. Case in point: a recent survey Mashed conducted of 656 randomly selected people inquiring as to their preferred brand of boxed wine. The choices we offered covered a range of price points: Bota Box ($15.99 for three liters of Cabernet Sauvignon from Total Wine), Black Box ($16.77 for three liters CabSav from Total Wine), Dark Horse ($29.99 for three liters CabSav from Harris Teeter), Franzia ($15.47 for five liters CabSav from Total Wine), Provisions ($18.95 for three liters CabSav from Dolce Vita), and Carlo Rossi ($21.99 for five liters from Remke Markets). Our winner, with 25 percent of the vote, was the budget-priced Franzia.

How the other wines ranked

If you were shocked and dismayed to find so many wine drinkers expressing a preference for a bargain basement brand, you may be relieved to find that the somewhat more high-end Black Box came in second with about 17.5 percent of the votes. In third place, with 17 percent, was the category we called "Other" (more on that later). Carlo Rossi, the most expensive of the cheap brands, was in fourth place with just 17 percent, while Dark Horse, the priciest of the wines we listed, was a distant fifth, with not quite 12 percent. Bota Box, with 7.6 percent, was in sixth place, while the big loser — not quite able to scrape up even 4 percent of the votes — was Provisions, the second-priciest wine when you take into account the size of the package.

So how are we to interpret this data? It's not necessarily a knock on Provisions, Bota Box, or Dark Horse. In order to arrive at a true quality-based ranking, we'd have had to supply all of our poll respondents with a sample of each type of wine, so they could determine which one was their true preference. Needless to say, that's not going to happen, although if we were ever able to pull off something like that (don't hold your breath), we'd certainly have no shortage of willing participants! As it is, though, people may have voted for the wines they were most familiar with.

What those Other votes meant

Generally when we administer such a survey, we receive a small handful of votes from people that don't approve of any of our choices and would like to supply their own write-in candidates, which is something we permit in the comments field. This survey was interesting in that such a large number of respondents chose this option. As to the story told by the comments, hardly anyone suggested an alternative boxed wine selection. We just had one vote for Dark Wood, one for Almaden, one for Costco house brand Kirkland Signature, and one for Kroger's own Bay Bridge. There was also one person who abstained from voting because they'd only ever tried Franzia and didn't want to be unfairly prejudiced against the other selections. 

Of course, we also got a few respondents that turned up their noses at the whole concept of boxed wines. But, by far the largest number of responses we had in the "Other" category, were from people who either do not drink wine or do not drink, period, including one person who is to be congratulated on 15 years of sobriety. This, in itself, leads to an interesting question: are there non-alcoholic beverages that lend themselves well to similar shelf-stable packaging? Boxed soda's probably never going to be a thing, but boxed cold-brew coffee sounds totally doable.