Empirical Proof That Box Wine Is Just Fine!



"Pouring Red Wine Into Wine Glass" by Dave Dugdale, via Flickr CC by 2.0

With the barbecues of summer upon us, I thought I would point the GeekMom readership to some game-changing research published recently in that beloved journal of oenophiles worldwide, The New York Post:

British psychologist Richard Wiseman asked 578 visitors to the Edinburgh Science Fair to taste eight pairs of wine, evenly divided between red and white. In each pair, one wine cost significantly more than the other. Yet, overall, the tasters correctly identified the wines by price barely half the time — in effect, a random outcome.

Summing up the results [of a second experiment], lead researcher Evan Goldstein wrote, “Our main finding is that individuals who are unaware of price do not, on average, derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In fact, unless they are experts, they enjoy more expensive wine slightly less.”

In short (the research says), the single biggest player in the wine-tasting experience might not be price or grape varietal, it might be context. Are you having an excellent time at this barbecue? Then, oh my, but this wine is delicious–it must have cost your host a fortune!

With this in mind, I ask you to reconsider the much-maligned box wine. My local wine shop offers a line of box wines that are tasty, often organic, and grown by small, independent vineyards interested in reducing the carbon footprints of their businesses. Two of my personal favorites are Bluebird’s Pinot Noir ($18-$22 for the equivalent of 3 bottles of wine), sold in a no-glass,”boat-friendly” pouch (note to self: make friends with someone who owns a boat), and Bota Box’s Old Vine Zinfandel. A 3 litre Bota Box costs approximately $20 and is the equivalent of four bottles of wine: just think of all the landfill space my new boat-owning friends and I won’t be using!

Yet another advantage of box wine is that since it is vacuum-packed, oxidation occurs at a much slower rate, with the result that box wine stays palatable for up to four weeks longer than bottled wine.

Anyone part of the box wine revolution? Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments.

(Thanks to Dave Dugdale for the use of his Flickr photo.)

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5 thoughts on “Empirical Proof That Box Wine Is Just Fine!

  1. Andrea I am so glad that you liked my Flickr photo so much that you included it on this page. I enjoy when people use my photos, but as I noted on Flickr below each photo I let people use my photos on the condition that they provide me credit to my rentvine.com site. Please add my link when you can. Thanks, Dave

  2. One of our local wineries does boxed wines, and all of their advertising is about why we shouldn’t automatically diss boxed wine. Someday I’m going to tell them that no, their wine actually is bad, regardless of container.

    That being said, I like a Bota Box here and there. Can’t beat the convenience.

  3. I’m not necessarily concerned about cost, but I can’t stand mass produced boxed white zins, and I doubt you’re going to change my mind there. If I could find local boxed wine, I might give that a whirl. I’m moving toward the Finger Lakes in a couple of months, so that should help my wine drinking immensely. I also recycle my glass wine bottles, but can you recycle the plastic bags in the boxes? As an ecologist, if you talk about carbon footprint, that’s the kind of thing I think about!

    1. To be honest, I think that the “smaller carbon footprint” campaign is artful spin on the part of the vineyards. Wine in a box is easier to ship than wine in a bottle…and less likely to break, probably less expensive to manufacture…

      Of course, the boxes these wines comes in are often made to be recyclable (soy dyes, recycled paper, etc), but the inner liner and spigot are still plastic. The advantage comes in the lighter weight that costs less to ship, not in that the packaging is completely recyclable and earth-friendly.

      http://www.aboutboxedwine.com/wine/bota-box-old-vine-zinfandel/ Is a review of the Zin I mentioned. Personally, I don’t drink white any more. This Zin is actually a red–and really nice with everyday meals like pasta and hamburgers.

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