Over the past decade boxed wine has been one of the fastest growing segments of wine in America, particularly on the premium side. Gone are the days when most of us thought wine in a box was simply cheap swill – thanks again for that Franzia – and more people are grabbing a box for their fridge or parties in order to have great wine on hand that is widely appealing and can serve a crowd or just one person, without fear of wasting a bottle.
What makes boxed wine so appealing is that every time a glass is poured, it’s like opening a new bottle and the wine in that box stays perfect after opening for at least 3 weeks when kept in the fridge. On top of this, wine in a box is far more sustainable than wine in a glass bottle, which is appealing to many consumers who are after more products that satisfy their desire to go green.
But with the rising appeal of boxed wine also comes new entrants – after all, everyone needs to make a buck – so we wanted to know, what boxed wine should you be buying as we enter the season of backyard BBQs, picnics in the park and lazy evenings at home, also known as peak boxed wine season. But far be it for us to be the ones telling you what to buy, we don’t rate wines here at VinePair, which is why we asked our readers to decide for us.
Similar to our recent sparkling wine panel, a few months ago, we issued an open call for all makers of boxed wine to submit their products to our VinePair offices. Twenty wines were submitted, ten white and ten red, a ranked list of which is at the bottom of this article. We then convened a randomly selected panel of readers last week to sample what was submitted.
Here’s how the panel rated the offerings:
We asked panelists to rate each box on overall taste and then also based on two categories:
The first category asked whether or not this was a wine you’d want to keep just for yourself. If you knew you had a box of wine that contained 4 bottles worth of vino sitting in your fridge, and you were the only one that was going to be drinking it, you sure as heck better enjoy it. We wanted to know what bottle you’d be more than happy to keep to yourself.
The second category asked whether or not this was a wine the tasters felt had group appeal. If you’re bringing a wine to a party or picnic, you want to make sure it’s one everyone has a chance of liking, since sometimes what you prefer isn’t something everyone else likes. If you were staking your reputation on the hopes that everyone would enjoy the wine you were bringing, which wine would that be?
Especially when it comes to boxed wine, we shop with our eyes first, before even tasting, so we asked readers to rate each box on its branding before we poured what was inside. We wanted to know: what box, simply based on the look, would you want to bring to a party and have in your fridge? Millennials shop heavily based on appearance, so we were curious which brands seemed to stand out.
Here are the results:
Favorite Wine To Keep To Yourself:
Both in the white and red category, the overwhelming favorite for the wine our panelists would want to keep to themselves was the wines from Wineberry. Both Wineberry’s White Bordeaux as well as their Côtes du Rhône scored the highest marks in this category. Tasters loved the wine’s complexity and commented on how both were not only incredibly drinkable, but also refined. They couldn’t believe they were coming out of a box.
Favorite Wine For A Group/Party:
Again in this category the same producer was taster’s favorite for both red and white and that producer was Public House. Taster’s commented that the wine was appealing not only for its easy drinkability, but also for how delicious it was without being too complex. They voted it best for a group or party because they felt that while the wine was very good, it also wasn’t something you had to fight with. It was simple and that was a good thing, especially when it comes to having a wine that appeals to a group.
While many tasters loved the look of the wood box Wineberry came in, they also commented on how the wood made it appear bulky and heavy. While they loved the wine after tasting it, they actually said the bulk would be a turn-off initially and might prevent them from grabbing it in the store. To some, it actually felt like a gimmick.
In this category, the wine with the best branding was again Public House. Tasters commented on how young and fresh they thought the packaging looked. It was clean and simple, yet had a hipster aesthetic that was extremely appealing. Most importantly, it looked like a box they would gladly bring to a party.
As one taster put it, “I don’t care what a box looks like when I am going to just have it in the fridge for me, then I only care about the quality of the wine inside, but if I am bringing it to a party or as a gift, looks 100% matter, and in that category, Public House is the clear winner.”
The wines tasted and ranked in order of favorite to least:
Wineberry White Bordeaux – Bordeaux, France
Public House Sauvignon Blanc – Maule Valley, Chile
From The Tank White (Chardonnay) – Côtes du Rhône, France
Crucero Sauvignon Blanc – Curico Valley, Chile
Andegavia Sauvignon Blanc – Sonoma, California
La Petite Frog Picpoul De Pinet – Languedoc, France
Bandit Pinot Grigio – California, USA
Cantina Valpantena Garganega – Verona, Italy
Alandra Blanco – Portugal
Bandit Chardonnay – California, USA
Wineberry Cotes du Rhone – Côtes du Rhône, France
Public House Cabernet Sauvignon – Maule Valley, Chile
Andegavia Napa Valley Merlot – Napa Valley California, USA
Maipe Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina
From The Tank Red – Côtes du Rhône, France
Crucero Cabernet Sauvignon – Colchagua Valley, Chile
Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon – California, USA
Alandra Tinto – Portugal
Bandit Merlot – California, USA
Bandit Red Wine Blend – California, USA