August 23, 2021
Boxed, or bag-in-box, wines have become increasingly popular in recent years. While boxed wine has long been thought of as cheap wine, the rise of quality and premium boxed wines has led to a shift in perceptions about this type of wine.
The reality is that the bag-in-box design offers a number of benefits to consumers. The packaging is less expensive, which means that consumers pay less for a quality product. Additionally, opened boxes can be stored and kept fresh more than four times longer than glass bottles. Plus, the packaging for boxes has a carbon footprint that’s over 80% smaller than that of bottles, making it a much more sustainable way to package and ship wine.
These benefits, combined with the availability of premium boxed wines, have many people considering boxed wines for the first time. Naturally, this means lots of questions about the bag-in-box design, how boxed wines are made, and how they’re stored. To help address some of those, we thought we’d discuss the top five questions we get about bag-in-box wines.
Does Bag in Box Wine Expire?
When you look at a box of wine, you’ll usually see a “best by” date on it that’s about a year after the wine was packaged. The wine will not expire by this date, but it will lose some of its freshness.
The reason for this is that the bags, sometimes known as the bladder, in the packaging allow for microscopic amounts of oxygen to pass through them. The result is that over time, the wine will taste a little less fresh. It won’t “go bad” or “spoil,” but it will lose some of its brightness.
This is one of the reasons that boxed wines are not made for aging. They’re ready to drink right away, and it’s best to enjoy them within six to eight months after they’re packaged.
Can Boxed Wines Be Left Out?
Yes, boxed wines will stay fresh in or out of the refrigerator, and they can be stored at room temperature before and after being opened. That said, a best practice for storing wines of all types is to never store them at high temperatures or at temperatures below freezing. If possible, it’s best to store white wines between 40 and 50 degrees and red wines between 50 and 60 degrees.
When looking at how long wine will stay fresh, the amount of oxygen the wine is exposed to is a key factor, as oxidation is what leads to spoilage. Bag-in-box wine only allows for traces of oxygen to get to the wine, which is how this wine stays fresh for so long.
The boxed-wine design keeps opened wine fresher by keeping oxygen out of the bag. As you pour wine, the bag collapses inside the box, which means there’s no residual air in the bag to oxidize the wine. Additionally, the seal is air-tight with only trace amounts of oxygen getting through. This slows down the oxidation process and helps keep the wine fresh.
Because of this, boxed wines stay fresh for four to six weeks after being opened even when stored at room temperature.
Can Boxed Wine Be Frozen?
While you can freeze boxed wine, we wouldn’t recommend it. The packaging will do fine when frozen, but the issue is that freezing the wine can change its structure. This means that when it’s thawed, the taste will change.
The primary reason that people want to freeze wine is to keep it fresh; however, boxed wines can stay fresh for four to six weeks after being opened. This should reduce the need for freezing while also ensuring that you’re always drinking fresh wine and never wasting a drop.
We should note that while we don’t recommend freezing boxed wine, it’s certainly okay to put a box in the freezer for a few minutes to get it to your ideal serving temperature!
How is Boxed Wine Made?
There are often rumors circulating about the process for making boxed wine, but the truth is that the winemaking process is no different than that of bottled wines. The only difference is the packaging. In fact, some winemakers put the same wine in bottles and boxes.
As we talked about above, boxed wines are not made to age, so they’re produced ready to drink. However, 90% of the wine produced in the world is meant to be consumed fresh, without any aging process.
Winemakers that produce boxed wines go through the same winemaking process as those that produce bottled wines, nothing about the packaging impacts the process.
Where Was Boxed Wine Invented?
While boxed wine is only recently becoming mainstream in US wine markets, the design has been around for a while. The bag-in-box design was patented in 1965 by Australian winemaker Thomas Angove. In the original design, consumers had to cut the corner of the bag, pour it, and then reseal it with a peg. While this offered a better way to store wine than the bottle, it was not as easy to use.
In 1967, Australian inventor Charles Malpas solved this problem by patenting the air-tight tap. This ensured the freshness of the wine while also making the design more user-friendly.
Not surprisingly, as early as the 1990s, over two-thirds of wines purchased in Australia were packaged in a box, and the box continues to be Australia’s preferred way to consume wine.
Try Quality Boxed Wine
The Gratsi team chose to package our wine in boxes rather than bags for a few reasons. First, it gives us a way to reduce shipping and packaging costs, which means lower prices for customers. Second, we can sell larger quantities at a time--further reducing packaging and shipping--because the wine stays fresh for so long after being opened. Third, the packaging makes our process more sustainable and reduces our carbon footprint. Fourth, it’s easier for our customers to transport and store.
The decision was easy for us--a box is the best way for us to provide customers with a quality, low-priced, sustainably produced product. Try a box of our Old Country Red or Old Country White to see for yourself the quality of wine that you can get from a box.