Though there’s something oh-so satisfying about popping a cork out of a new bottle of wine, boxed wine is an easy-to-pack alternative that pours for a crowd. It’s exactly what it sounds like: wine in a box. Some may see boxed wine as unpolished, but there are plenty that even sophisticated wine drinkers can get behind.
After all, times are changing and the good ‘ole days of Franzia are over.
“There’s a lot of good quality wine that’s going into the box these days, and it’s not as cheap anymore,” says Marshall Tilden III, Wine Enthusiast’s chief revenue and education officer. Boxed wine can reach $100—the equivalent of $25 per bottle, which is a steal for fine wine.
Whether you’re heading to a barbecue or simply looking for something that keeps fresh longer in the fridge, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best boxed wines, according to industry insiders.
Is Boxed Wine Good Quality?
In short, boxed wine is a perfectly good option when you’re looking for a portable wine that can serve a crowd. But, it’s all about managing expectations.
“I’ve never had boxed wine that has blown me away,” shares Tilden. “But I’ve had plenty of good, solid 85- and 90-point wine, which is where I expect a good boxed wine to be.”
Wine Enthusiast’s Tasting Director Anna-Christina Cabrales agrees, noting that the quality of boxed wines is dependent on the wine itself. “It really depends on what you’re putting in the bag,” she says, referring to the plastic bag-in-box (BIB) that contains the wine. And recently, what’s going into the bag has gotten an upgrade.
Some reputable wineries are beginning to “bottle” some of their fine wines in boxes as a sustainable solution to shipping and storage inefficiencies. For example, Tablas Creek Vineyard was amongst the first to pilot the concept with a rosé blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise. “When the wine in the box is this good, it’s a no-brainer,” shared wine writer Sara L. Schnieder in the Robb Report after the product’s release in 2021.
So, some boxes may be worth breaking into. “Once you lose the negative connotation of wine that comes out of a box, you can just get to the juice inside—and usually it’s pretty good,” says Tilden. “Give it a taste before you start knocking what’s inside.”
The 11 Best Boxed Wines
Black Box Pinot Noir
“I just came across a really nice Black Box Pinot Noir in a recent blind tasting. Among the big brands, the Bota Box and Kirkland Signature boxes are almost always solid quality, but the Black Box wines seemed to lag behind in years past. So, the Pinot Noir in a three-liter box was a pleasant surprise. It’s nicely ripe and fruity while being dry and well-balanced like a much more expensive bottled Pinot from California.” —Jim Gordon, Senior Tasting Editor$17 Total Wine & More
Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel
“My favorite boxed wine has to be the Bota Box Old Vine Zin. While I enjoy most of the varieties produced by Bota Box, the Old Vine Zin stands out as having that true brambly black fruit and peppery spice that I look for in a Zin. It has turned into my go-to camping wine and is always a crowd pleaser when I throw some ribs in the smoker.” —Marshall Tilden III, Chief Revenue and Education Officer$19 Total Wine & More
Bridge Lane Rosé
“I love to support local wineries, so my box wine comes from the North Fork of Long Island in New York. Bridge Lane is produced by Lieb Cellars, which uses sustainably grown grapes from the Lieb’s estate vineyard, as well as other top-quality sites in New York State. My favorite is the rosé produced with Cabernet Franc.” —Jacy Topps, Assistant Editor$47 Total Wine & More
Original House Wine Chardonnay 3L Box
“If I am in charge of bringing wine to a large gathering, I’m grabbing House Wine Chardonnay. It’s always a crowd pleaser. In my experience, it pairs well with everything from appetizers like vegetables with dip or meats and cheeses, to main courses like hearty salads or something fresh off the grill. Not to mention, there’s always some left over for a nightcap.” —Kristen Richard, Digital Editor$22 Original House Wine
Bota Box Nighthawk Black Red Blend
“This deep-colored and concentrated wine packs in ample black-fruit flavors and supports them with firm tannins. Baking spices and cedar add complexity to the core of tasty berries.” —Jim Gordon, Senior Tasting Editor. Read the full review here.$16 Total Wine & More
Sokol Blosser Evolution Pinot Noir
In an eco-friendly box wine format that holds the equivalent of two regular bottles, this brings the price down to about as low as you will find for any vintage-dated Oregon Pinot Noir. The quality is exceptional given the cost and the troubled vintage. It tastes like true, unadorned Oregon Pinot, with tart berries, cranberries and cherries. The tannins are ripe and balanced, and the finish clean and persistent. —Paul Gregutt, Former Contributing Editor. Read the full review here.$26 Total Wine & More
“It is 100% Sangiovese and is delicious. It’s everything I love about young and fresh Sangiovese: fruity, fresh and bright.” —Jeffery Porter, Writer at Large
“The first time I tried this boxed wine, it was side-by-side with a similar version poured from a bottle. I actually preferred this one. It’s so fruity and fresh, and pairs beautifully with light vegetables and pastas.” —Arielle Weg, Senior Digital Editor$ Varies Wine Searcher
Big Naturals Picpoul
“I love drinking small. I also love gathering large. See the issue? It‘s especially hard to find good quality wines to serve a crowd. Enter a new boxed wine start-up: Big Naturals. Their natural Picpoul is a great option when introducing friends and family to a new varietal in a casual setting. Similar to Pinot Grigio, Picpoul is easy-drinking and pairs perfectly with whatever’s on the menu.” —Samantha Sette, Digital Producer$65 Big Naturals Wine
Domaine de la Patience ‘From the Tank’
“If you’re looking for an introduction to low-intervention wine, then look no further than Domaine de la Patience, which offers an assortment of boxed wines. The From the Tank White is 100% Chardonnay and sourced from organic vineyards in Southern France. This dynamic white is crisp, with vibrant stone fruits and minerality. Plus, it’s great for the environment.” —Irvin Vidals, Advertising Social Media Manager
“Boxed with an artisanal slant! Made for one of the natural wine world’s superstar importers, Jenny and Francois, these are juicy, sunshine-y, easy-to-drink wines made from organically farmed grapes that don’t have the commercial, over-made elements of many boxed wines. There’s a Rouge, Blanc and Rosé, all from Southern France, each with Mediterranean vibes, the light touch of minimal winemaking and a mineral throughline.”—Christina Pickard, Writer at Large$ Varies Wine Searcher
Herisson Bourgogne Vin Rouge
“Burgundy in a box? I know—hear me out! Here we have a Passetoutgrain, which is Gamay and Pinot Noir done beautifully in a three-liter container. It’s got all the freshness and fruit you’d expect from Beaujolais (the Gamay) with the structure and earthy/firmness from Pinot Burgundy. The best part? It’s a steal for the price.” —Irvin Vidals, Advertising Social Media Manager$ Varies Wine Searcher
How Many Glasses of Wine Are in a Box?
This varies based on the size of the box of wine. An average boxed wine holds about three liters of wine, or four 750ml bottles. A standard glass of wine is five ounces, so this holds approximately 20 glasses of wine.
Is Boxed Wine as Good as Bottled?
If the wine itself is of high quality, then it shouldn’t matter whether it’s bottled, canned or boxed, right? Well, not so fast. Boxed wine can be just as good as bottled, but it depends on what type of wine we’re talking about.
When choosing a boxed wine, aim for something that is meant to be consumed within a few months rather than a Cabernet or Pinot Noir that fends better with age. Given the corkless design of boxed wine, we’re not looking to age this stuff. “This is for right now,” Cabrales immediately counters when entertained with the idea of maturing boxed wine.
How Long Does Boxed Wine Last?
Although it isn’t ideal for aging, one of the benefits of boxed wine is that it can stay fresh for up to six weeks in the fridge after opening. According to Cabrales, this is because the packaging works against gravity. “You’re pushing the air out—not pushing the air in, per se—since the spout is at the bottom,” she says.
Does Boxed Wine Expire?
On the flip side, boxed wine does have a shelf life. Most companies recommend pouring it out no later than six to eight months after purchasing. As a best practice, we recommend buying boxed wine as you intend to consume it, versus stockpiling it in the garage corner for a rainy day.
Last Updated: August 15, 2023