Don’t be afraid… of Bag-in-a-Box wines!


The various degrees of wine sophistication, like any other degree-dation, often seem to be a tool for variously sophisticated winegeeks to set themselves apart from the vast number of wine lovers who just want a nice glass of wine on an everyday basis.


The winegeeks shunned Australia’s [yellow tail] Shiraz (624544) $12.99 until it dominated the import wine market and they could no longer ignore it.  They are still turning up their noses at the outrageously successful Apothic Red Blend (125617) $16.99 from California - two years after it took over that same coveted slot!


And those same winegeeks have never acknowledged the clear market dominance of the ‘Cellared in Canada – From Imported and Domestic Wines’ Domaine d’Or White (106179) $32.99 and its companion Domaine d’Or Red (108688) $32.99 – both in 4L boxes. 


With the 4L Schloss Laderheim (106175) $34.99 these wines dominated the ‘Cellared In Canada’ domestic wine market until the varietal wines from Copper Moon – Shiraz, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec – all priced around $31.99 for 3L – swept past the initial single variety Bag-in-a-Box offerings from Sawmill Creek and Jackson-Triggs.


The Bag-in-a-Box process was developed by Thomas Angove, a winemaker from Australia, and patented by Angove’s Wines on April 20, 1965.  You had to cut off the corner of the plastic bag and peg it closed after opening.  In 1967 Charles Malpas of Penfolds Wines patented a plastic, air-tight tap on a ‘metallified’ plastic bladder.  Today’s wine ‘casks’ all use a plastic tap tucked into a perforation in their cardboard boxed packages.


In 2003 California-based Black Box Wines introduced premium wines to the Bag-in-a-Box market.  Recently two of their now very international wines arrived in British Columbia.  Black Box Chardonnay (764167) $38.99/3L is 88% California Chardonnay enhanced with Riesling and an intriguing variety of unnamed other whites swirled into a full-bodied blend.  Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon (884456) $38.99/3L is a mouth-filling blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Carmenere, 4% Merlot and 2% Syrah from Chile’s Valle Central.


Today’s active wine lovers are keen to discover decent quality wines that come in lightweight and environmentally friendly recyclable packaging.  Boaters and campers love the convenience of the easy-to-store wine ‘casks’.  Adventure kayak campers are always on the lookout for a quality wine that they can remove from its cardboard package then slip the plastic bladder full of wine into the front or rear storage compartments of their sleek crafts.


In a very nearly pale, drab and quietly unnoticeable cardboard box Bota Box Pinot Grigio (628099) $39.99/3L is packaged in 100% recyclable, unbleached, post-consumer fiber printed with soy-based inks.  Besides being so politically correct, this is a wonderfully rich California white overflowing with bright apple, honeyed peach and cantaloupe melon aromas and flavours.  Almost as drably packaged Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel (720532) $39.99/3L offers up silky smooth mouthfuls of  ripe black cherry fruit with dried blueberry, fresh-cut tobacco leaf and a twist of vanilla and leather in the finish.


Not to be left out of the possibilities Bag-in-a-Box wines offer wine lovers, a few local premium BC winemakers have tested the tide, despite the ruling that Bag-in-a-Box wines cannot receive the coveted VQA designation from the BC Wine Institute.


Only available in select private liquor stores Hester Creek Pinot Grigio $44.95/3L shows the classic Okanagan Valley profile of this currently still very trendy white wine grape – lots of lemon and grapefruit notes fleshed out by apple, pear and cantaloupe aromas and flavours.  Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are masterfully blended together in Hester Creek Cabernet Merlot $44.95/3L.  A medley of blackcurrant, raspberry and blackberry flavours lead into a finish that shows linging hints of cardamom, leather and liquorice – and only available in private liquor stores.


Available by the case when ordered directly from the multi-award-winning winery in Penticton, BC Perseus Pinot Blanc (350777) $39.99/3L is a medley of lemon, grapefruit, pear and honeydew melon flavours and aromas that slide into the tropical fruit salad zone before finishing crisp and clean.  Perseus Cabernet Shiraz (303230) $49.99/3L is a full-bodied blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Shiraz and 13% Cabernet Franc.  Both of these wines can be ordered directly from the winery online at or by phoning ‘Toll Free’: 1-888-880-6605.


Be adventurous!  Don’t be afraid of Bag-in-a-Box wines!  They're too convenient for words...


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