Great wines in a box?

Great wines in a box?

By Bob Lipinski

‘Drink wine in winter for cold, and in summer for heat.’

— Henry G. Bohn 1796–1884, British publisher, ‘Handbook of Proverbs,’ 1855

For centuries wines have been bottled in glass containers (bottles) and enjoyed by millions of drinkers, novices and connoisseurs alike.

Over the past few decades, wineries have sought alternative containers for consumers to enjoy their red, white and rosé (blush) wines. Some of the ideas are: aluminum cans similar to a six-pack of beer, aluminum bottles, single servings of wine in a plastic glass, plastic wine bottles, bottles made from cardboard (plastic lined), Tetra Pak cartons (they house tomato sauce), AstraPouch (Capri Sun) ceramic bottles (Lancer’s Rosé) and yes even in a paint can!

By far, the best alternative package for wine is the “bag-in-the-box” or BiB for short. BiB packaging refers to a food-grade, plastic bag hidden inside a cardboard box fitted with a tap for serving and a handle for transport. The BiB was invented by U.S. chemist William R. Scholle in 1955 for the safe transportation and dispensing of battery acid. In 1965, the idea was patented and became the Wine Box thanks to Thomas Angove (1918–2010), a winemaker from Renmark, South Australia.

BiB comes in various sizes, including 1.5-liter (2 bottles), but the 3-, 4-, and 5-liter containers are the most common. It easily fits inside the refrigerator and is ideal for dispensing a single or multiple glasses of wine. BiB is ideal for the outdoor locations where glass may not be appropriate or accepted — swimming pools, outdoor concerts, picnics, barbecues, sporting events, parks and beaches.

Once opened, BiB can easily last several weeks before a replacement is needed. In years past, the quality of some offerings was low-end, appealing to the “jug drinkers.” However, the past few years has seen not only the quality dramatically improve but also the offerings. You can purchase cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Shiraz, Riesling and many others.

Two of my recent favorite brands are Archer Roose and Bota Box:

Archer Roose Sauvignon Blanc (3-liters) Central Valley, Chile: Aroma of stone fruit and kiwi is followed by a crisp, clean flavor of tropical fruit, and lemon, with hints of tartness.

Archer Roose Carmenère (3-liter) Maipo, Chile: Full bouquet and flavor of spicy plums, black raspberries, cherries and black pepper. Medium-bodied with subtle flavors of mint, herbs and dark chocolate.

Archer Roose Cabernet Sauvignon (3-liter) Maipo, Chile: Deeply colored with a bouquet and taste of black currants, blackberries and cherries. Medium-bodied with flavors of chocolate-cherry and spices.

Bota Box Chardonnay (3-liter) California: Bouquet and flavor of baked bread, pineapple and apples. Off-dry with just the right amount of citrus to keep it interesting.

Bota Box 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (3-liter) California: Aroma and flavor of melon, mint and orange blossoms. Light-bodied with plenty of flavor.

Bota Box 2014 Night Hawk Black (3-liter) California: Ruby-colored with a luscious bouquet and off-dry taste of blackberries, cherries and jam.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at or [email protected].