One of my favorite activities is Friday night pizza night. I’d like to say I’ve perfected my homemade margherita pizza, which I wrote about in one of the earliest posts here!
Here’s the steps I take to make this wonderful pizza pie:
- Make the dough with water, yeast, sugar, salt, flour, olive oil.
- Make the sauce with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, sugar and spices, olive oil.
- Roll out the dough, add the sauce and strategically place torn up pieces of bocconcino mozzarella balls.
- Bake it at the highest temperature the oven can be cranked to.
- Remove from oven and add fresh basil.
Then comes the most important part: a glass of red wine. Well, in all honesty, it’s one of the first steps in making pizza!
I used to be a fancy pants wine drinker. I’ve had the opportunity to drink great wines. A 1934 Chateau Latour. A 1967 Chateau Cheval Blanc. Some seriously old grapes and some seriously real wine.
But am I going to shell out hundreds of dollars for a bottle of fermented grapes? Ha! I wouldn’t be Mr. Everyday Dollar if I did!
Until a few months ago, I would purchase wine from a variety of places: the local neighborhood wine shop when they have 15% off on the 15th of the month, the local wine bar where they give you a 10% discount on a full case, or the local supermarket where they move so much booze that the prices are always rock bottom.
As my 12 bottle wine rack would start looking sparse I found myself gravitating more and more often to the supermarket because of their low prices. And then, I stumbled upon the box wine section.
It was one of the best things that alcohol has ever brought me!
Wine has been packaged in glass bottles with corks for centuries. Then, with diminishing cork quality and cork supplies, many vintners switched to screw tops. I remember a friend of mine up in arms when screw tops began making inroads in the wine world.
While I could agree with him on the ritual and honor of pulling a cork from a bottle, I preferred the ease of use of the screw top. Not needing a corkscrew makes enjoying wine on the go much easier!
And now the screw top is giving way to wine that is packaged in a plastic bag and box.
But wait, hasn’t there always been box wine? Of course! And we probably all have a grandmother living in Florida that has been drinking Franzia out of cardboard for as long as we can remember.
Because of relatives like this box wine has a bad rap. (Not to mention, in the past notoriously bad wine was sold in box form.)
The first box wine I tried was Bota Box. I liked it. It’s not a fantastic wine and it doesn’t try to be, but for an everyday wine for a Mr. Everyday Dollar, it’s perfect!
Now, every time I stroll into the box wine aisle for a re-up I find more or more shelves are being overtaken by this newcomer. Like the aforementioned Bota Box, I’ve been through a few other brands as well: Banrock Station, Big House Red, and Black Box.
I’m loving it and here’s why:
All the boxes I’ve consumed run 3-liters which is equivalent to 4 bottles. I’ve paid anywhere from $12.99 for Banrock Station to $18.99 for Black Box. Even at the highest price point, it works out to less than $5 a bottle.
One of the reasons why the manufacturers can keep the cost down on box wine is because they’re not paying for expensive glass. It costs less for them to produce so it costs less for us consumers.
2. Environmentally friendly
Like glass, boxed wine is also recyclable (the bag can go in with the plastics if your community recycles category number 7). But unlike wine in a glass bottle, far less energy is used producing box wine and transporting it.
According to an article in the New York Times, “a standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters of wine and generates about 5.2 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions when it travels from a vineyard in California to a store in New York. A 3-liter box generates about half the emissions per 750 milliliters.
Switching to wine in a box for the 97 percent of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars.”
Let’s all do our part!
3. Long lasting
According to the vintners, box wine lasts weeks. Usually up to 45 days. I don’t think I’ve ever had a box last quite that long, so I can’t confirm this!
The wine can last that long because the technology used in the valve doesn’t allow air in, one of wines top enemies. Additionally, the bag containing the wine is vacuum-sealed, collapsing down as the wine is consumed.
4. The single pour
You know the night you want one glass of wine but feel obligated to drink the whole bottle because you don’t want it to go bad? And by doing that, you don’t know what kind of person you’ll be the next day?
Worry no more! We can pour as little (or as much) wine as we want. It’s great being able to have a glass of wine and not worry about finishing the bottle.
Your turn! I’m glad vintners have embraced box wine, have you tried them yet? What brands and varietals do you recommend?