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Has The Time Come For $45 Box Wines?

Has The Time Come For $45 Box Wines?

by Tim Elliott on August 7, 2008

Tonight I finally opened a wine sample I received earlier this year… a 3L box of California Chardonnay. I’m not much of a box wine guy because most I’ve had are really nothing to write about. At best, they are clean, simple wines sold at low prices. And this sample is not plowing that much new ground as it succeeds as a nice $6 wine… but I’m looking for a great $12 wine like the ones I normally drink on weekdays.

Has the time come for a $45 box wine?

Something on the order of an Eric Solomon, Terry Theise or Cameron Hughes selection would do well with wine lovers and I’m hoping to see something like this in the future. The big problem will be one of consumer perception which makes this category a problem sell at much over $25 a box.

So I hope that some enterprising distributor or importer will package their better wines in 1 liter TeraPacks. It’s better for the environment and saves fuel in shipping, a rising problem these days.

Who’s going to innovate here?

  • Hey, TetraPak is a Premier sponsor of WBC08 and there will be 2-3 “alternative packaging” wines at the Live Blogging Event!

    Just FYI…

  • Hey Tim,

    I tried a good, new wine in Tetra earlier this year:


  • Dr. Vino, what are your thoughts on the Tetra – assume possitive?

  • Tasted some wines from Banrock Station in Tetra-Pak at the Climate Change and Wine conference this year: reasonable wines, not inspirational. Banrock are positioning themselves as a “green” company, and Tetra as their “green” packaging because of the reduced carbon footprint for transport.

    I think I prefer Bag-in-box as a package, because of the lack of oxygen intake once opened, and if some intrepid importer were to try to bring in something in the $45 range, I’m with you: I’d gladly give it a whirl as my house wine. There already have been some attempts: last year my local market carried JM Brocard’s Bourgogne Blanc “Jurassique” — essentially a declassified low-end Chablis — for $32. I quite liked it for the price and convenience of the format: minerally and enjoyable albeit nothing stupendous. I kept buying the wine because I wanted to support what both my market and the importer were doing, but it’s gone now (I’ll have to ask their wine buyer whether that was due to lack of customer interest or other factors). The buyer did mention he was looking, without success, for a red in a similar vein.

  • You know, in France, the box is very common; not so much in the supermarket per se, but many local winemakers in areas like the Southern Rhone sell bulk in gallon jugs that the locals bring, or boxes of wine. I was at Domaine Rabasse-Charavin and winemaker Corinne Couturier has Parker-praised Raseteau and Cairanne that you can buy at the Domaine in 3L boxes that she fills while you wait. I think it’s great for wines that have 2 different lives –one in its youth and one after 7 years of age or more. I think it’s all about marketing –no one in the small producer market can afford the marketing it takes to put a 3L box on a shelf.

  • Tim

    Joel: Looking forward to that tasting. Hope to see a wine a bit better than we regularly see in box or TeraPack now.

    Tyler: Will have to try that one…

    Doug: Agree about Banrock Station; good, clean simple wines but looking for something a bit better. Your Chablis sounds like a good trend.

    CD: Wish I lived in France and could tap that tank… hope to see you again at Family Winemakers in a couple weeks.

  • wwh

    I think it will still be awhile before we see a $45 box of wine. There seems to be a negative connotation behind the “box-o-wine”, although I personally am willing to try anything once. But who knows, if the wine is good enough, they should be able to charge whatever is fair.

  • Tim

    wwh: I agree and hope to see some better juice in boxes or TeraPaks soon. If there is enough support in the marketplace, producers will fill this demand.

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