Has Boxed Wine Finally Overcome Its Negative Stigma?

Over the years — and for some inexplicable reason, boxed wine has taken on the notion of being a low-brow alternative to the traditional bottled and corked (or screw-topped) wine. Jokes galore abound about people who drink boxed wine. But, we must ask, why? Is there some inherent difference in the quality of the wine? Is it mocked because it's generally more affordable? Is it classist or problematic to continue to make such haphazard jokes at the expense of boxed wine consumers?

No matter the pejorative comments or haughty jokes, boxed wine is a highly popular item. A single Google search yields countless results including commerce guides and buying lists touting various brands and varieties. As a matter of fact, Market Watch reported back in 2021 that boxed wine is more popular than ever before and has a certain appeal, especially with the more environmentally aware crowd and younger consumers.

Per Consumer Reports, glass bottles didn't become commonplace until the late 19th century. Boxed wine, which is much newer, carries a certain stigma, particularly with the older generations, per Market Watch. Consumer Reports refers to its reputation as "a vessel for the cheapest sludge you'd pour at a college party." But it's beyond time to look past that lazy joke and instead appreciate boxed wine for its freshness, convenience, and portability.

First, a single box of boxed wine usually contains at least double that of a standard, 750 ml bottle, making it the more economical choice. Another perk? No risks of breaking the bottle!

The pros of drinking Boxed wine

What's less-than-ideal about standard, bottled wine? Liquor sums it up, stating "they're delicate, clinky, and ... you can't stack them on top of each other for storage." Conversely, boxed wine has none of those issues. A box of wine is much more environmentally sound than a glass bottle. Nadine Brown, consultant and former wine director, tells Liquor that "a large part of the carbon footprint of wine comes from shipping heavy bottles all over the world."

In addition, boxed wine lasts longer than bottled wine, which can quickly lose flavor and quality if not re-corked or sealed properly after initially opening the bottle. When stored in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box, the wine stays fresher than when held in a glass bottle, as noted by The Kitchn. Senior Director at the Wine Group, Melanie Amezaga, elaborates on this point to The Takeout, stating that "There's no oxygen that can enter the bag through that tap, and that's very different from a bottle. With a bottle, when you uncork it, oxidation immediately starts. It hits the wine and can continue after it's recorked. And that can change the flavor and even the freshness of the wine."

Next time you're in the mood for a glass of white or red wine, reach for the boxed version and put these claims to the test.