By Robert Farmer
Years ago, before I began actually appreciating wine, I attended parties that featured wine that poured from a box. Granted, I was college-age or just a bit older, and the demographic of these parties was such that box wine was to be expected--indeed it was typically appreciated by the very few in attendance not drinking beer. But it also had the stigma of being, well, cheap. And in my more recent years, which have brought a personal wine-drinking evolution, little has changed my perception of that stigma.
Enter the green movement. Thinking green and, more important, living sustainably has had a profound impact on the wine industry. And readers of this space know I have long championed that impact and efforts to continue it. That's where box wine has again come into my life. The stigma associated with wine in a box has lately given way to a point of prestige--one driven by the fact that putting wine in a box is much better for the environment that putting it in a bottle. Now, we've got a long way to go before people's wine cellars are stacked neatly with uniform-sized boxes. But thanks to the efforts of The Wine Group, Inc., the box is fitting squarely into the packaging methods of more wineries.
The use of box, or more technically, a bag-in-box (BIIB), has numerous environmental benefits. Chief among these is the reduction a wine's carbon footprint thanks to less weight of a box than of a bottle. This eases the impact incurred during shipping. Some estimates put the reduction in a bottle of wine's carbon footprint at 50 percent by using this simple packaging switch and the reduction of packaging waste at a whopping 85 percent.
Wines already in the box include Fish Eye, Glen Ellen, Casarsa Vineyards and Pacific Peak. To these boxes I say "bravo!" and my once boxed-in opinion is now forever changed. You can learn more about the trend at www.betterwinesbetterworld.com.