Paula’s Wines of the Week, Week starting 16 March 2020
Put away your corkscrew, wine is available on tap. Look around the wine section of your average supermarket and you’ll see 800 different bottles and 20 wineboxes. Clearly more people buy wine in bottles but they are missing out on the great advantage of buying wine in 2.25 or 3-litre boxes – no corkscrew is required. To pour a glass of wine all you need do is push open a plastic tap.
Winebox tap dispensers also stop air from spoiling the wine. As the plastic bag concealed within the cardboard box empties, the pressure of the remaining wine stops air entering the tap. Partially consumed wine remains fresh and unoxidised for up to six weeks. If you’ve tried to keep a partially drunk conventional bottle of wine you’ll know the wine will become tasteless and oxidised within a couple of days.
Wineboxes have other advantages. They’re one-third lighter than the equivalent number of glass bottles and also cheaper. You’ll find many supermarkets sell the same wine in bottles and wineboxes – check out the equivalent price per bottle and you’ll find the winebox wine works out cheaper.
Buying wine in wineboxes does have slight drawbacks. You’ll need to really like the wine you’re buying, after all you’ve just purchased three-litres of it, and you should be are prepared to display a cardboard box at your dining table.
About ten years ago Danish designer Lars Erdmann solved the issue with the VinUno – a stylish stainless steel and laquered wood box designed to conceal 3-litre wineboxes. Lars came up with VinUno after deciding wineboxes looked “messy because of the all their different sizes and colours.”
Unfortunately the £70 designer winebox cover did not survive but fabric covers (rather like a stitched cushion cover) are available from an American maker for $23. If you’re handy with a sewing machine I’m sure you can make your own much more cheaply. Because winebox covers are still needed. Attractive packaging that makes you really want to buy the boxed product is still missing from this market.
PG Wine Reviews
Top 3-litre (contains 4x75cl bottles) everyday wineboxes:
Co-op Fairtrade Red Blend & White Blend
£19.50 (equivalent to £4.87 a bottle)
Great drinking wines that goes with almost anything.
Good 2.25-litre (contains 3x75cl bottles) everyday wineboxes:
Sainsbury’s House series wines (individual grape varieties plus regional styles)
£13 (equivalent to £4.33 a bottle)
Good drinking wines. But watch out that what you bought last time is the same as today – the house range being generic can change the country of origin of the wine without you noticing which can change the taste slightly.
Unexpected bargain 2.25-litre (contains 3x75cl bottles) everyday wineboxes:
Waitrose is selling Stormhoek Chenin Blanc Chardonnay for £12.99 (equivalent to £4.33 a bottle)
The pretty stripey blue and white box is pretty enough to be on display while the wine inside is decent stuff. This brand was on sale at almost twice the price six months ago at £20 for their 2.25-litre box. It just goes to show that wine prices can be volatile.
Best supermarket selection of boxed wines:
Morrisons and Asda has a large range of 2.25 and 3-litre wineboxes plus the newer style 1.5-litre pouches (the inner of the winebox without the cardboard outer) ranging from their own-label to big name brands like Hardys, JP Chenet and Gallo.
Best source of really, really large format wineboxes:
If you want an even larger format 5-litre winebox (equivalent to almost 7x75cl bottles) then check out Amazon.co.uk. But watch out for the delivery charges on some products as this can push the price right up. But it is a good source for everyday favourite JP Chenet in 5-litres.
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