Encourage More Environmentally-Friendly Boxed Wines

Photo Oct 11, 11 40 18 AM

Target: Dana Nigro, Senior Editor of Wine Spectator.com
Goal: Increase wine drinkers’ general acceptance of environmentally-friendly boxed wine.

Wine bottles, while giving off the air of heightened sophistication, also use a heightened amount of resources. Though boxed wine doesn’t quite have the same aesthetic as a wine bottle, it does something that is far more important than simply “looking pretty.” It is more environmentally friendly and even preserves wine more effectively than traditional bottles. When you open a wine bottle, it doesn’t matter if you proceed to use a gas-extracting pump after pulling out the cork. The wine will still come into contact with oxygen once it is open, regardless of the precautions taken. This will cause the wine to lose its aromatic nose more quickly. By contrast, boxed wine is tightly sealed in a well designed plastic bag that minimizes the wine’s contact with the surrounding environment. This system also prevents wine form being wasted. How many times have you seen a forgotten half bottle of wine get tossed out? I work at a wine tasting room and let me tell you: even amongst professionals it happens on a weekly basis. Wasted wine means wasted bottles, and wasted resources. Boxed wine prevents this waste.

Bottled wine not only encourages waste, but also is more wasteful by design. Custom made glass wine bottles require significant energy to shape them appropriately. On top of this, they also must be shipped using well-padded cardboard boxes in order to reduce the risk of breakage. Even if this packaging is recycled, the resources used to manufacture it are still a waste. Boxed wine, by contrast, is packed using more simple (and still recyclable) materials: a plastic bag within a box. Plus, each box holds four bottles worth of wine, using only a fraction of the materials that a single bottle would require. A box of wine weighs less than two bottles of wine (glass is heavy), so think also of all the fuel costs that can be saved as well. Additionally, because the boxed wine does not run the same risk of shattering that bottles do, less packaging is required to transport them from Point A to Point B. The net result is a more efficient use of our precious resources.

Despite the obvious practical and environmental benefits of boxed wine, Wine Spectator, the most widely circulated wine magazine in the world, very rarely covers the product. This is in spite of the fact that very high quality wines come in the form of a box. If Wine Spectator featured more boxed wines, it could encourage wine audiences to embrace and purchase wine that is stored in a more environmentally friendly manner than its bottled counter-parts.


Dear Ms. Nigro, Senior Editor of Wine Spectator.com:

Boxed wine is an environmentally friendly option for wine drinkers to embrace, yet many are reluctant to because of the perceived stigma attached to them. While Wine Spectator has occasionally produced articles about boxed wine, they are few and far between, far from sufficient to encourage a movement towards boxed wine. Please feature more boxed wines in Wine Spectator in order to foster an appreciation for the environmental benefits of boxed wine, and hopefully foster a trend of acceptance towards them.


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