Drink Magazine

Big Red Box

By Brian @WineInMyGlass

I’ve reviewed the 2010 Big House Red before, but I recently received this wine in a 3L wine cask. It’s the same wine, so there isn’t a need for a new review, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a bit about some differences between wine in a bottle and wine in a box.

First of all, the box (or wine cask) is the typical “bag in box” packaging. While this has definite advantages over the bottle once it is open, it is not suitable for long-term aging of wine, as the bag is apparently permeable to oxygen, and oxidation can occur even in an unopened package. For this reason, many companies print a “use by” date on the box. Always check the date before you buy a box. Not all retailers may be aware of the date and the need to rotate stock.

Once you start dispensing wine from the box, the bag will collapse to match the reduced volume of wine. This keeps air from entering. Unlike a bottle, wine in a box can keep for several weeks after opening without degradation. I’ve had wine boxes open for a couple weeks, and I haven’t noticed any change in the quality of the wine.

Overall, though, there is really no difference in the quality of wine from the box compared to the bottle. It is significantly cheaper in the box, though. This wine has a suggested retail price of $9.99 for a 750 ml bottle or $22 for a 3L wine cask. The 3L price is equivalent to $5.50 per 750 ml, which is a  45% savings. If it’s a wine you like, the 3L cask is a much better value. It is also cheaper to ship due to the reduced packaging.

However, if you’re not sure if you’ll like the wine, buying 3 liters of it is more of a risk. With some wines, such as the Big House Wines, you can buy either a bottle or a cask, so you can try a bottle first, and then get the cask if you like it. You don’t have that option with some other wines, however. I will be reviewing more box wines in the future, and I hope that my reviews will help you make more educated choices and minimize your risk!

I received the 2010 Big House Red 3L Wine Cask as a review sample from The Wine Group.

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