Discussion: Will Wine-in-box Be the Next Screwtop? Part Two

The following is a discussion I started on Linkedin groups “Wines & Spirits,” “Wine 2.0," "International Sommelier Guild" and “Wine Business Network.” The discussion revolves around the potential of wine-in-box to become established as screw-tops have. Wine-in-box has limited use today and may appear to have limited potential but remains the only packaging for wine that protects against oxygen for considerable time beyond the initial use. The low cost of the packaging, the friendliness toward the environment, and the overall lower cost of bulk wine make for an ideal means to market wine at lower cost in traditional venues. The names of the contributors have been abbreviated and all comments posted in best chronology regardless of the group of origin.

Will Wine in the Box be the next screwtop?

The screwtops and platic corks have been around for over 10 years. Is the next step in saving wine and the environment to explore "Wine in the Box" and its potential to save glass? Here is the article and my 2-centshttp://winebycush.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/wine-in-box-looks-great-in-green/What do you think? How far can we go in replacing glass bottles with Wine in Box before sales interests overcome the urge to be green?

Posted 17 days ago | Delete discussion

Roger M.

More than likely. Packaging continues to evolve. New generations will not be so enamored with glass bottles. "Greener" approaches will dominate. Wine in a box has many positives going for it, storage and shipping costs head list. But the wine cellar will suffer the aesthetics … unless some very smart people, come up with very cool boxes. My money is on change.

Posted 17 days ago | Reply Privately

Mary D.

Bag in Box or cubitainers have been around for ages. They went out of fashion in the 90's and are coming back in here in France. There are even some very decent wines flowing out of them.

Posted 17 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar d.

I agree about "aesthetics" and "going out of fashion" and hope for the best. Here in the California wine country the big changes make a lot of news. When screwtops were first becoming commonplace, Plumpjack released half of their Cab Sauv that year with cork and half with screwtops! A lot of people argued against screwtops because it was not charming! The whole business of taking the cork out and presenting to the guest at the table has a lot of class. The screwtop has none of that. Almost all cheaper wines now have plastic corks or screwtops. I hope for Box in the Wine to become more popular.

Posted 17 days ago | Delete comment

Thomas D.

Box wine with a liner doesn't appear to be plausable for long storage periods due to plasticizers in the liner and not due to sealing characteristics. With plastics getting more press for their leaching plasticizer into beverages and suspected hormone-like side effects on the human body, there probably needs to be a lot more study.
I always thought that glass was the more "green" of the products getting collected, since it can be easily recycled over a composite plastic film technology that can't be reused.

Posted 16 days ago | Reply Privately

Tim J.

I think you are all forgetting about wine in a can. I think that is the next evolution for today's young, energetic wine consumer on the go, at least in the USA

There is an incredible brand in Europe that offers a few varietals in a slim can, like Red Bull and apparently it flies off the shelves.

The millenials are raised on slim cans and don't mind drinking from them, so this could be a step inbetween
Wine in a can is portable, easy on the environment, quick to serve and perfect for dinner for one or two.

Posted 16 days ago | Reply Privately

Sabrina P.

Why should wine in the box be the next screwtop….I was done before…..Think 1990s

Americans still have trouble with screw-tops, with great New Zealand's and South African wines with screw tops….whats a girl to do.

Bags and cans are very taboo in America. Red bull is fine for the 20 somethings, but Young American wine drinkers then of them selves as educated and enlightened….

I for one know that a good wine is a good wine know matter how it is packaged!

Like it or lump it……wine last longer in "air tight" containers.

My suggestions…don't save it, sip, life is too short!

Posted 16 days ago | Reply Privately

Donald C.

I think this can be really big……..give it a year or two…….

Posted 16 days ago | Reply Privately

Matthew D.

I don't see mid-high value wine being changed over to box in the near future.
Some good points were made in this thread regarding handling and storage of wine. Alot goes into the marketing and design of the bottles to assit in the sales and marketing aspect.
A box of wine is still viewed as cheap to the consumer.

Posted 16 days ago | Reply Privately

Michael D.

I cracked open a Yalumba 86 Riesling a couple of months ago. This was under screw cap and it was outstanding. I started putting my Rieslings under Stelvin screw caps back in 01 and I'll never forget the back lash I received from from my own friends and many of my peers in the wine industry. I was called names, I really can't say in this discussion group. I then proceeded to put my Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cab Sav and Grenache under screw cap since 04. Interesting how those friends now think it was the best thing I ever did and even more interesting that 99% of my industry peers are now under screw cap as well.

It has been wonderful to know that my wines are being enjoyed at dinners and tastings without the fear of having cork taint. So as a from a winemakers and consumers point of view, Long live the screw cap!

Boxes on the other hand, I'll leave that to the smart/clever marketers out there, my wines are staying in the bottle.

Cheers, Michael

Posted 15 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar d.

Cork can be a big problem: The industry average is you can have one corked bottle in each case. The only good thing is different consumers have different levels of ability to sense the corkiness in the wine. A whole lot of corky wine is drank everyday and the person does not know. Your wines have been saved. On the other hand, if you made them to age, the traditional cork would have been your only way of letting the wine breathe and age. Looks like you are fine. Do remember not everyone uses the new stuff because of the value. Many people are greedy and will try anything to make a quick buck (as we say here in US). Thanks for sharing

Posted 15 days ago | Delete comment

Alexei A.

@Roger – I think that your comment on people coming up with some innovative ideas for box packaging is right on… the direction is definitely going to be green and people always find new and creative ways to deliver this green packaging. Think about what the pouch did for kids' softdrinks… there will definitely be some smarty pants somewhere who will create a custom box which will be so simple, stylish and cost-effective that we will all wonder how we did without it.

Posted 14 days ago | Reply Privately

Patricia S.

Has anybody tried the new Herding Cats from South Africa?


Posted 14 days ago | Reply Privately

Alexei A.

Not yet… what kind of wine is it?

Posted 13 days ago | Reply Privately

Lizbeth D.

Wine in a bag…catching up in college campuses

Posted 12 days ago | Reply Privately

Brittany R.

As a college student and wine drinker, I'm not ashamed to say I would buy box wine if it was a good wine. I hate opening a bottle, then leaving it in my fridge for weeks only to go bad. Give me a good alternative, and if I like the wine inside, I don't see the problem. Now, I don't really like the idea of wine in a can, I think you might get a "tinny" flavor that some people might be able to detect. I agree that the plastic might leach some kind of chemicals into the wine too, so I would probably try to stick with some form of glass containers. On the note of screwcaps, I love them, and I find that the wine in the screwcap bottles tastes fresher. My favorite german Riesling so far is a screwcap. Monchof Estate Steep Slope Reserve. Delicious. =)

Posted 12 days ago | Reply Privately

Kooshyar D.

I found a short article about wine-in-box at parties in our local SF Chronicle this morning and in on my wine blog: (http://winebycush.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/have-a-picnic-with-these-wines/ ). Bag-in-box is only a method of delivery and does have flaws but our friendly wine industry scientists will go the extra mile to fix them. The industry has too much wine on hand and new methods of delivery not only aid the consumer and environment but also help them move their stock. I got an interesting idea in this regard (a French suggestion). The boxes can be put inside barrel stacks at a bar, for instance, and the guests see wine being poured off a barrel. That is just one clever idea to market the same basic wines at lower costs and every glass is 100% (bottle-)fresh unlike the wine poured from a wine glass bottle that gets air while sitting around at the bar. The bulk of wine-in-box in the market are for restaurant kitchen use and don't have to compete for taste with other box-wines. However, as better quality wines go in the box, it becomes a serious alternative for group consumptions. If one finds a small barrel that can take the box and make so the nozzle is out, that barrel will be so popular at a party. It works for reds for now and in Europe, it is common to fill a glass with ice cubes, half fill with wine and half soda or seven up. Bartenders in the US call it a wine cooler (with soda) and wine spritzer (with seven up). That competes with beer and appeals to everyone on a hot day out in the sun.

Posted 7 days ago | Delete comment


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