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October 29, 2018

15 Best Boxed Wines You Can Buy, Tested and Reviewed

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: , — admin @ 9:18 pm

Boxed wine at a party was once as classy as a can of Cheez Wiz. No more. Today, the best boxed wines are more practical, a better value (two or four bottles versus one), and have a longer shelf life once opened than typical glass bottles. We’d be remiss not to add that the quality and number of boxed wine brands have skyrocketed in recent years, introducing vino that can hold its own among even the best red wines.

That might be hard to believe when you think of the boxed wine of your youth: We all remember breaking open the cardboard casing of Franzia boxed wine, then ceremoniously chugging from the exposed plastic bladder. If that sugar- and sulfate-laden juice left a bad taste in your mouth, fret not. Boxed wine has grown up.

“The perception of boxed wine has shifted over the last few years,” says Alyssa Carroll, founder of Big Naturals, one of the newer boxed wine brands that’s specializing in low-intervention wine. “In the U.S., the format has historically had a bad reputation for being low quality, but boxed wine has been very popular in Europe and other parts of the world for years because those consumers are more accustomed to house wines and well-made bulk wines.”

If you’re looking to shop around, our Best Overall pick is Sandy Giovese Vino Rosso. It represents the standard in which all boxed wine should meet in terms of quality and affordability. Its nose and palate are in total synchronicity with one another, with all the hallmarks of a sangiovese (though trebbiano grapes are in the mix, too). Bright cranberry and cherry are the standouts, but it’s also herbaceous. With low sulfites and fine tannins, it’s a dream to drink while cooking on a weeknight or sharing among friends at a dinner party.

Why You Should Trust Us

Austa Somvichian-Clausen and Amy Zavatto are journalists who specialize in spirits, cocktails, and wine. They’re always reviewing new bottles, discovering new brands, and speaking with expert sommeliers, master blenders, and founders in the space. For this roundup of the best boxed wines, we asked sommeliers to pick their top boxes and also sampled around two-dozen varieties to come up with this final list.

Best Boxed Wines

Best Overall: Sandy Giovese

Brittany Smith

Volume: 3L (four bottles of wine)

Italian wine lovers, rejoice. Founded by wine specialist Amy Ezrin, Sandy Giovese provides some supremely delicious boxed juice—smooth Vino Rosso and bright Vino Rosato—both made from organically farmed grapes. The average price for a box of Sandy Giovese’s popular Vino Rosso is around $35, meaning each “bottle” clocks in under $10. The light-bodied red is fresh, juicy, and fruity, making it the perfect counterpart to take-out, whether you’re ordering pizza, sushi, or tacos. We like to call that range.

$35 at Sandy Giovese

Best for Gifting: Juliet

Best for Reliable Quality: Really Good Boxed Wine

Best for Your Nightly Glass: Alileo

Best for Parties: Bota Box

Best Rosé Boxed Wine: Bridge Lane Rosé

Best for Variety: Communal Brands

Brittany Smith

Volume: 3L (four bottles of wine)

Communal Brands is a producer, importer, and distributor of some of the most critically lauded boxed wines. So, unlike other boxed wine brands on this list, its Euro-centric offerings fall under very different categories and technical brand names, with some of the most popular being Herisson, Schplink!, Cedric, Volpina, and Vagabonde. Herisson’s Rouge, featuring gamay and pinot noir from France, is a must-try, along with Schplink! Gruner Vetliner from Austria—a bright, crisp white with notes of lemon and apple.

$33 at Drizly

Best for Philanthropy: House Wine

Courtesy Image

Volume: 3L (four bottles of wine)

Besides the inherent sustainability factor of boxed wine, House Wine is also the first brand to win Wine Enthusiast’s Social Visionary of the Year Award for its partnership with Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. The brand was created back in 2004, inspired by European table wine, and now offers 11 different boxed varieties, from the brand’s Red Blend to the popular , both of which are excellent to have on-hand for holiday entertaining.

$24, Red Blend, at Drizly

Best for Natural Wine: Big Naturals

Brittany Smith

Volume: 3L (four bottles of wine)

Big Naturals brings something new to the boxed wine landscape: It caters to fans of natural wine that has some funk. Currently, the brand has two offerings: Grenache and Picpoul. Both are produced in small batches by family winemakers in the Paso Robles area of California. To promote a low-intervention process, natural yeast and fermentation are employed, minimal sulfites are used, ambient temperatures are maintained, and no chemicals or sugars are added, allowing the grapes to speak for themselves. The 3L boxes run for $60, or you can purchase the Great Big Set for $110. Yes, the cheeky nod to breasts is unmistakable. Big Naturals’ founder, Alyssa Carroll, launched the brand in 2023 as a new mom and says she was inspired by the celebration of natural beauty and the feminine form. The grenach pairs beautifully with sharp aged cheese and Chinese take-out. Keep it in the fridge and let its unfiltered, slightly tannic, strawberry-forward notes shine. If you prefer white, the picpoul is refreshing and a little puckering, with hints of green apple and honey dew. Serve alongside sushi and you have yourself a terrific night in.

$60, Grenache, at Big Naturals
$60, Picpoul, at Big Naturals

Best for Value: Black Box Wines

How Long Does Boxed Wine Last?

As a consumer, the best benefit of switching from bottle to box is shelf life. Airtight seals and one-way spouts help prevent oxidation, helping many boxed wines stay fresh for longer. Once opened, most boxed wines can last for as long as four to six weeks in the fridge. Bottles of wine usually only stay drinkable for a few days. 

For those stocking up, keep in mind that unopened boxed wine can expire. Unlike glass bottles, which can keep fresh in the bottle for years, boxed wines have an expiration date. Check on your individual box, but it’ll usually be anywhere from six to 12 months.

Reasons to opt for the top boxed wine brands include portability, sustainability, and superior shelf life.

Hannah Whitaker

Benefits of Buying Boxed Wine

1. Better for the Environment

For those who care about reducing their personal carbon footprint, boxed wine is the superior option. “The easiest metric we lean on is that boxed wines produce half the carbon emissions than their glass bottle equivalents,” says Antonio Bertone, co-founder of boxed wine company Alileo. “It would take twice as much energy and fuel to transport and ship the liters you’re producing in glass versus bottle.”

A 2022 review of the wine industry’s carbon emissions, published in Cleaner and Circular Bioeconomy, confirms glass bottle production is the top contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, often generating more emissions than grape cultivation and winemaking combined.

It’s natural to think of glass as a highly recyclable product, but it’s not that simple. It’s energy-intensive to produce, and while it’s easy to recycle on the consumer end, only around one-third of all glass is actually recycled, according to data from the Glass Packing Institute

Related: 11 Best Wineries and Vineyards in the United States

The reason? Experts suggest recycling rate discrepancies in the U.S. are mostly due to disparate local government policies; consumer education and habits; and the availability of cullet, which is recycled glass used to manufacture new glass. That means two-thirds of a difficult-to-produce, expensive-to-ship product ends up in landfills.

“Cardboard and Mylar bladders (the plastic bags that encase boxed wine) require less energy to make,” says Alexandra Drane, the other half of Alileo. “More specifically, with Alileo, all our paper is post-consumer recycled; our bladders are of the highest quality to block out light and oxygen, thus keeping the wine in a better state; and our formats carry multiple bottles of wine in them. It’s the gold standard from a sustainability standpoint.”

However, that’s not to say boxed wine is a perfect product either. Not all plastic pouches are recyclable.

2. It’s More Affordable

Because it’s cheaper to make the packaging for boxed wine, it tends to cost less for the same quality wine at a much higher volume. (Who doesn’t love cheap wine that tastes way more expensive?) Your standard 3L bag is equivalent to four 750mL glass bottles. A great example is the recently released single-vineyard , which retails for $120. The same caliber wine would cost that much for a single bottle, making the box around a quarter of the price for quality.

Related: How Much Should a Good Bottle of Wine Cost?

3. It’s Portable and Convenient

If you’re hosting a party, going to an outdoor picnic, or throwing a big dinner, you can’t beat the portability and ease of boxed wine. Moreover, for people who want to enjoy a glass of wine but might not finish an entire bottle before its freshness wanes, boxed wine is a great solution. The cardboard protects the wine from light exposure, while vacuum taps and collapsible bags mitigate oxidation. 

Bottom line: “Boxed wine is a win-win in terms of affordability and convenience,” says Carroll. 


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