What's cooking this week: Box wines outsell bottles in a first for SA

Our food editor has some thoughts on why

18 February 2021 - 06:30
Box wine offers great convivence: no corkscrews or bottle stoppers needed.
Box wine offers great convivence: no corkscrews or bottle stoppers needed.
Image: 123RF/Bernd Juergens

I was astonished when I saw the stats released by the SA Wine Industry earlier this week, which showed that box wines had outsold bottled wines in 2020 for the first time.

Box wine? It conjures up thoughts of my student days when it was all we could afford to drink other than a good 'ol bottle of Tassies. The notion was that it was cheaper than bottled wine because the contents were of inferior quality, but at that stage economics were more important to us and with a 5L box of wine you could start a party.

Besides which, we enjoyed the novelty and convenience of having wine on tap — no corkscrew needed.

Fast forward to today and box wine still offer the same convenience but I have to eat my words about its inferior quality. Labels by wine estates like Pierre Jourdan, Kleine Zalze and Diemersdal can now be found in the boxed wine section of retailers, and the contents are sufficiently worthy to carry the brands.

Is it still cheaper? A 2L box of Pierre Jourdan Tranquille Blush sells for R139.99 at Woolworths; a 750ml bottle of the same vino is R69.99. So a box gives you an extra 1.25L for R70. In these times when pennies are tight and the availability of booze can be stopped with a single sentence by the president, those extra glasses of wine are very valuable.

A last thought about why box wine has grown in popularity is that it's rumoured to be a more environmentally friendly option than glass as it lasts longer and contains more wine, meaning fewer bottles.