Though boxed wine—also called bladder packs, space bags or goon sacks according to Wikipedia—will always receive a snarling wince from snobbish oenophiles, a good percentage of open-minded wine appreciators are beginning to praise the box's unsurpassable utility. Like traditionally bottled wine, the quality of boxed wine varies enormously (Franzia, we're looking at you), but it is possible to get the equivalent of four bottles of totally palatable table wine for around $15. Add to that ease of transport (try fitting four glass bottles of wine in your purse), ease of pouring (hi there, spigot) and ease of recycling (the city actually picks up cardboard), and you've got yourself one cost-effective, green drink on the go. So, in the spirit of summertime park imbibing, we took a look at a few boxed wines and other portable booze varieties on the market. Ready, set, get your goon sack on.
The new kid on the boxed wine swing-set, Bota Box is part of a movement in the industry to appeal to more discerning, Earth-friendly crowd. Vinted and bottled in Manteca, Calif., the wine comes in a 100 percent recyclable box made from 100 percent post-consumer fiber and soy-based inks. Varietals include shiraz, pinot grigio, old vine zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay. With road-sign-ish graphics, the Bota box offers suggestions for where to drink it—hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing or yachting. Um, all of the above, thanks.
A favorite of the college crowd, Franzia has held its spot on the grocery store's dusty lower shelf for years. While the price point is inarguably stellar—about 10 bucks for 5 liters—the quality is less so. With head-scratching varietals like Chillable Red and White Grenache, Franzia is what country songs mean when they croon about cheap wine. But, hey, every wine has its time. This one's just happens to be after you've downed a couple glasses of something a bit ... better.
Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs
These fizzy little treasures somehow retain both class and novelty as you crack your way through the hexagonal pink pack. Though the bubbles make the accompanying straws entirely superfluous, champagne in a can might just be one of the greatest inventions of our time. Thank you Francis Ford Coppola, thank you.
Three Thieves TetraPak Bandits
Ahh, wine in a juice box. Not much more needs to be said. Also comes in 1-litre, pour-top varieties for those who like their booze juice boxes sans sippy straws.
A bit like Sparks before it blew up (then, sigh, was discontinued), Twisted Tea comes in a 16-oz. can that can easily pass for some other non-alcoholic beverage to the undiscerning eye. A little sweet and a little refreshing, Twisted Tea is a good option if you're looking to have just one. Or maybe two if you're on a porch swing. Who's counting, really?: