Arnaud's Blog

Opinions on open source, standards, and other things

Why I gave up on Box Wine

A few years ago I posted an article about how Box wine rules! in which I explained I had found box wine to be great for table wine because of its ability to keep from deteriorating the way wine does in an open bottle. Since then I’ve actually stopped buying box wine and it’s been on my mind for a long time to post about it to set the record straight.

While what I said about the advantage of box wine remains true I’ve stopped buying it for two reasons: 1) impact on the environment, 2) possible impact on my health.

Environment Impact

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you ought to be aware that plastics are a major problem for our planet, our oceans and marine life in particular. I’m not even going to bother talking about this in any details here but it is clear that we all ought to make an effort to reduce the use of plastics. Unfortunately box wine uses a plastic bag to store the wine, plus a valve to make it easy to pour, that will end up adding to the amount of plastic waste.
It’s always difficult to fully assess the environment impact of anything we do and I was thinking that the production of glass which is very energy intensive might not be any better for the environment because of its contribution to global warming but I have come to the conclusion that it’s still better than adding to the ever increasing global amount of plastic waste. Sadly, even though those plastic bags carry a logo that may make you believe they are recycled they typically aren’t! At least glass is if you dispose it properly. If only we could start reusing glass containers rather than merely recycling them the gain would be that much greater.

Health Issue

Then there is the possible health issue related to the wine being stored in a plastic bag. Plastics, especially the soft ones, aren’t stable. They leak chemicals into what they contain. If you have ever tried drinking from a plastic bottle of water left in the heat you’ve literally got a taste of that. Some plastics are better than others and you’ll find claim that no negative health impact has ever been linked to the use of those plastics used for food containment but the reverse is true as well: it has not been proven not to have any negative impact. As far as I’m concerned, call me chicken if you want but I’d rather not take the chance given that an alternative exists.


Sorry box wine, in the end, you lose. I’d rather waste a bit of wine if it comes to that and not take a chance with my health than add to the terrible impact on the environment and risk unknown consequences on my body.

More on Plastics

Since I read “Plastic Purge” from Mike Sanclements a few years ago I for one avoid using plastic containers for drinks and food as much as possible. And if I ever do I never put them in the microwave oven (like when you want to quickly reheat that leftover you stored in a plastic container). It’s actually not that hard to store your food in a glass container instead or at least transfer it to a plate (non-plastic obviously) before putting it into the oven. I highly recommend reading this book. It’s easy to read and very informative.



March 6, 2018 Posted by | standards | , , | 1 Comment

Box Wine Rules!

[ March 6, 2018 update: Also read Why I gave up on Box Wine ]

For once I’ll post on something that has nothing to do with my work. It’s also not that new news but I think I feel like adding my piece on this.

When my wife and I were on vacation last year we were given a box of wine – and I don’t mean a box of bottles of wine, but literally a box of wine, as in “box wine”. 🙂

It’s fair to say that we were pretty skeptical at first but we ended up agreeing that it was actually quite nice. Based on that experience we decided to try a few box wines back in California. We tried the Bota Box first and stuck with it for a while but we eventually grew tired of it and switched to Black Box which seemed significantly better. This has become our table wine. We’ve compared the Cabernet against the Shiraz and the Merlot and the Shiraz won everyone’s vote, although I like to change every now and then.

Last weekend I had some friends over for lunch and ended up with a bottle that was barely started. On my own for the week it took me several days to get to the bottom of it. All along I kept the bottle on the kitchen counter with just the cork on.

At the rate of about a glass a day I noticed the quality was clearly declining from one day to the next. Tonight, as I finally reached the bottom of the bottle I drank the last of it without much enjoyment. This is when I decided to get a bit more from the Black Box wine that had now been sitting on the counter for about two weeks.

Well, box wine is known to be good in that it stays better longer because the bag it’s stored in, within the box, deflates as you poor out wine without letting any air in. As a result the wine doesn’t deteriorate as fast.

If there was any doubt, tonight’s experience cleared it out for me. Although the wine from the bottle was initially of better quality than any box wine I’ve tried to date, after a week, it was not anywhere near as good.

I’ve actually found box wine to have several advantages. It’s said to be less environmentally unfriendly. (They say more environment friendly but with its plastic bag and valve it doesn’t quite measure up against drinking water. 😉 Because it can last much longer than an open bottle of wine you can have different ones “open” at the same time and enjoy some variety.

So, all I can say is: More power to box wine! 🙂

[Additional Note: This is not to say that one should give up on bottled wine of course. The better wines only come in bottles and I’ll still get those for the “special” days. But for table wine you use on a day to day basis box wine rules.]

October 3, 2013 Posted by | standards | | 2 Comments