As it turns out, boxed wine isn’t just for flip-flopped college kids and struggling artists anymore. It’s worked its way up the social rungs to meet eco-approved status. Yippie! What’s so green about boxed wine? Pull up a lawn chair, hold out your plastic cup, and get clued in.
Traditionally, wine comes in glass bottles. It’s sanitary, it preserves the wine, and let’s face it, it’s straight up classy. And then there are the boxes of wine: rectangular, awkward boxes with punch-out spouts that slowly hose wine (generally cheap wine) from an inside “wine bladder.”
This “wine bladder” is what makes boxed wine so cheap—aside from the general quality of the wine inside. Glass is expensive, and these wine bladders are not. The paper used to make the box, also not as expensive for manufacturers as glass.
But retailers have recently shifted their advertising efforts from convincing consumers to save on green towards convincing consumers to go green with the product. And boxed wine has beautifully followed suit. Manufacturers make a strong case for the boxed stuff:
- In a case of bottled wine, about half of the weight comes from the glass bottles. But in a case of boxed wine, almost the entire thing (a whole 95%) is pure wine; only 5% is packaging.
- If 97% of wine sales switched from glass bottles to boxes, we’d cut back greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million tons per year (that’s equal to about half a million cars off the road each year).
- Boxes preserve wine much longer than glass can. Once open, a wine bottle loses freshness and flavor within two days. Boxed wine, however, stays fresh for up to four full weeks—that’s 14 times longer than wine in a bottle! The freshness is thanks to the “bladder” in boxed wine, which lets wine out through a spigot but never lets any air back in, so the wine never oxygenates.
Is the future of wine in a box? Perhaps. Australia and Europe are already paving the way for quality wines to be sold in green boxes. Maybe it’s time we put on our flip-flops and join them in a glass or two.