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Boxed wine makes a comeback

“So how is your apocalypse going?” chirps the cheery checkout guy at my local supermarket.  Luckily I have my mask on, so he can’t see me gnashing my teeth. 

Whilst I admire him for cheering people up, I first heard him say this back in March – I did laugh the first five times though!

As it happens, ‘the apocalypse’ has changed the nation’s drinking habits and Bag in Box wine producers are hoping that change is here to stay. With BiB sales up over 50% since the beginning of the year (one supermarket reported a whopping 300% increase in sales), why should we ‘think BiB’?

For a start, it is an environmentally sound option. Reportedly 10 times more carbon-friendly than glass bottles, it is better than PET plastic bottles or any other credible alternative. Bottles are also heavy and therefore cost a lot to transport around the world, including the boot of your car.

Co-op Chilean Merlot, £14.50

In addition, 75% of the Bag in Box is cardboard and therefore recyclable. This really helps with the embarrassment factor come bin day – nicely flat-packed in the paper stack, rather than adding to an already burgeoning glass bottle bin (or is that just mine?)

Another fantastic thing about boxed wines is that they stay fresher for longer once opened – around six weeks. This means you can have a single glass rather than, with a bottle, feeling you need to finish it off. They are also a fantastic choice for parties and outdoor gatherings (sorry folks, one day) and super-easy to carry.    

They generally come in 2.25, 2.5l or 3l formats and tend to be cheaper than their bottled equivalents (they have the same wine inside by the way). However, you might feel it is a risk to buy so much when you’re not sure whether you’ll like it.

Grillo from When In Rome £26.99 for 2.25l

That has been cleverly remedied by The BIB Wine Company and their smart new taster packs (think paint match pots for wine). This company ONLY sells boxed wines and high-quality ones at that, generally from smaller producers.  They have regular online tastings which are very popular and sell out quickly – you can find out about them here:

Their standard sized boxes are beautifully presented and this really helps with the overall perception of boxed wine, in my view – particularly if you are buying one to take round to a friend’s house (oh, those heady days).

Scandinavian countries have been fans of BiB wines for many years, with over 50% of their wines sold in boxes.  It doesn’t have the same negative connotations as in the UK – although that has been justified to some extent in the past. 

Luckily, there are now plenty of great quality boxed wines to choose from at the moment.  You can buy direct online, from selected independent shops and in supermarkets too.

Just look out for the joker at the till!

Languedoc red from St John Bread & Wine £38 for 3L plus delivery

Selection of wines to try:

Gorgeous Languedoc red from the legends at St John Bread & Wine £38 for 3l plus delivery

Easy drinking Chilean Merlot from the Co-op: £14.50 for 2.25l

Pop in the fridge and pour this lovely Grillo (Italian white) from When in Rome £26.99 for 2.25l available at Waitrose and Amazon

Follow Janet at Cracking Wine

Janet Harrison
Janet Harrison runs Cracking Wine, providing fun and informal wine tasting events in the North of England. She is also founder of the People's Choice Wine Awards.

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