Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Argument For Boxed Wine

Box o' wine's official cup
Eric Asimov, writing for the New York Times, points out that no matter how maligned, boxed wine is actually a fantastic idea:
Despite the almost reflexive elevation of noses at the mention of boxed wines, one significant detail undermines these smug dismissals: the idea of putting wine in a box, or more accurately, in a bag within a box, is brilliant. The packaging solves significant problems that have dogged wine for millennia, whether it was stored in urn, amphora, barrel, stone crock or bottle.

No matter how elegant or handy those containers may be, their fixed volumes permit air to enter when wine is removed. Air attacks and degrades wine, making it imperative to drink up what remains, usually within no more than a few days.

The bag-in-a-box, to use the unlovely industry term, resolves this problem of oxidation by eliminating space for air to occupy. Wine can stay fresh for weeks once it has been opened. But while the packaging may be ingenious, what’s inside has been a problem.
They go on to taste test some fancy pants boxed wines (click the link for rankings), and while the typical price point for these paragons of boxed wine quality appear to be around $40 for 3 liters, that's still a pretty decent deal since the volume works out to be 4 standard bottles of wine. Since I live with a wine drinker who seldom finishes a bottle before it tastes of vinegar (even with a "wine saver" gadget), the idea of quality boxed wine is somewhat intriguing...  but the volume is probably too high, even if it lasts for weeks. Still, pretty interesting, and possibly valuable info to the more high volume wine drinkers out there.