With more and more premium wines being distributed in bag-in-a-box formats, buying boxed wines comes with way less shame than it did just a decade ago.
But what if you don’t want the typical package sitting on your counter? What if you want something a bit more classy? Fortunately, there are now accessories to accommodate your tastes, and we’re going to take a look at two of them here.
The first is called the Wine Sack, and it is produced and sold by Uncommon Goods, a company in Brooklyn, N.Y., that supports artists, especially those who create with recycled items.
The Wine Sack is meant to handle a 3-liter bag from inside a boxed wine – the equivalent of four bottles. It’s simple enough to remove the bag of wine from inside the cardboard box, insert it into the Wine Sack in a way that the spout sticks out the hole, and you are all set.
The Wine Sack makes it easy to carry because of the attached handle. This makes it good for many occasions, including picnics, parties, camping, trips to the beach, on a boat, etc.
The inside of the Wine Sack is roomy enough so that if you put in a bag of white wine, you can also slip in a couple of thin ice packs to keep it cool.
The Wine Sack will work with any 3-liter bag, though its shape most easily accommodates a rectangular bag.
It retails for $69.95 and is available directly from Uncommon Goods.
Meant for countertops, Boxxle is a sleek-looking dispenser for boxed wines. It’s easy to use and looks great.
Just like the Wine Sack, to use Boxxle, first remove the bag from the cardboard box. Pop open Boxxle and slip in the box with the spout near the top. Close the top and pour yourself a glass of wine.
The spout ends up at the top of Boxxle, so it’s always above your glass, meaning there’s no need to tip Boxxle to get wine out or hold your glass below the counter.
Boxxle has a nice feature that pushes the bag upward as the wine is emptied, so it doesn’t rely on gravity to get every ounce of wine out of the bladder.
Like the Wine Sack, Boxxle handles a 3-liter box.
It is finished in stainless steel, so it looks great on the counter and fits in with most other appliances. Boxxle’s footprint won’t take up a lot of space, either.
Boxxle retails for $99 and is available at boxxle.com as well as various online retailers such as Amazon.
Why boxed wine?
When we think of boxed wine, we often envision the cheap, less-than-premium wines made from grapes grown in California’s Central Valley. While these kinds of wines still dominate the boxed-wine scene, many premium producers began using bag-in-a-box technology several years ago.
The advantages of boxed wines are many:
- They generally cost much less than purchasing the equivalent wines in bottle because you no longer need to pay for the glass (or the shipping of the glass).
- Wine will last a long time after being opened – at least six weeks – before becoming oxidized. Most of us can finish the equivalent of four bottles of wine every six weeks.
- As consumers, we end up having to get rid of less material when we’re done. No recycling bottles, etc. Boxed wines are among the most environmentally sound ways to enjoy wine.
- They’re convenient. They sit on your counter (or in your fridge, if they’re white wines), ready for you to put your glass under the spout and pour yourself a few ounces. No corkscrews, no fuss, no mess.
- They’re great for get-togethers. The convenience and price make them perfect for weddings, parties and camping. In the case of camping, there’s no need to lug bottles of wine to the wilderness when you can bring the bag of wine and pack out only the empty bag.
Who makes boxed wine in the Northwest
A few wineries in the Pacific Northwest are putting wines in boxes. It started years ago when now-defunct Tefft Cellars in the Yakima Valley town of Outlook, Wash., began putting out a premium Cab-Merlot blend in a box. It sold through Costco and was hugely popular with consumers as well as restaurants that wanted to use it for less-expensive glass pours.
Today, one of the top producers of premium boxed wines is Powers Winery/Badger Mountain Vineyard in Kennewick, Wash. This environmentally conscious winery in the heart of Washington wine country began bagging and boxing wine several years ago.
Run by second-generation winemaker Greg Powers, Powers/Badger Mountain makes both regular and organic wines. The Badger Mountain Pure Red and Pure White are sold through Whole Foods across the country and are so popular, the winery can barely keep up with demand. It also produces boxed wines under its Powers label.
Also producing premium bag-in-a-box wines is Magnificent Wine Co., owned by Precept Wine in Seattle. Under the House Wine label, Magnificent Wine Co. produces 3-liter boxes of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and a red blend. The wines are broadly available throughout the Pacific Northwest.