One of the things I’ve learned as I have grown older is that there are fewer absolutes than I once imagined.
As a result of this, I use words such as “always” and “never” less than I did when I was younger.
For example, there was a time when I might have said I would never drink wine out of a box.
That is no longer the case.
It is true that I prefer to buy wine by the bottle, but I don’t limit myself to that option.
Even when buying bottles, I used to scoff at wines that had twist-off seals. Being a traditionalist in this area, I preferred wine that came with a cork.
Now, however, I see the benefits of twist-off caps, and I’m no longer prejudiced against them.
Getting back to wine in a box, I don’t believe I will ever be one of those guys who keeps a box of wine with a tap on the shelf in the refrigerator. There are some interesting new options that I have come to embrace, though.
Parents figured this out years ago when they were hauling their kids around to various activities. The benefits of juice in a pouch or small box makes life easier under those conditions.
These things didn’t exist when I was a kid. Our parents lugged around big old insulated jugs and a supply of paper cups.
I’m sure it’s much simpler to throw a few pouches or boxes in a bag.
It turns out the same is true for wine.
I think it started with the tiny single-serve bottles of wine that hold one glass of wine each (depending, of course, on what size glass one uses).
Now there is a whole range of packaging options available to those of us who enjoy a sip of fermented grape juice now and then.
These can be both convenient and practical.
I’ve said for years that a standard bottle of wine is a single serving, but to be honest, there are times when it is neither practical nor prudent to drink a whole bottle.
Sharing a bottle of wine with a friend can be a delightful experience, but living alone at the bachelor estate, this isn’t always an option.
I do possess a vacuum system that allows me to re-seal a bottle of wine and remove the air, thus keeping it reasonably fresh for a few days. But to me, that never seems quite the same as opening a new bottle.
Recently, I have discovered a number of winemakers that market adult juice boxes that hold about 500 milliliters of surprisingly good wine.
Often, I find this the perfect compromise.
They hold just the right amount to enjoy during a solo dinner, or perhaps pair with a bit of cheese to unwind at the end of a long day.
They are incredibly convenient, and, if one is discrete, one can take them practically anywhere.
This is a big improvement from when I was young. If I wanted wine on the go, I had to open a bottle and carefully pour it through the narrow aperture of the wine skin I carried on a strap over my shoulder. This was tedious, and the wine skin was a bother to clean.
In my pantry (juice boxes don’t fit in my wine rack), I currently have a jammy sort of merlot, a big cab, and a couple nicely-balanced red blends.
I tend to prefer reds in the box, but I have found an acceptable pinot grigio and other white varieties, as well.
I think the reds hold up to different packaging materials better, while delicate whites benefit from being stored in glass.
Price points for adult juice boxes seem to range from about $4 to $7, which seems reasonable for what they are.
I’m glad that rather than taking a hard line and saying I’ll never drink wine from a box, I kept an open mind and embraced the new possibilities.
Adult juice boxes may not be as memorable as splitting a bottle of wine with an interesting friend, but they are definitely a viable option for anyone who is looking for convenience and portability.
Some wine is also sold in 375 milliliter aluminum cans (similar to beer or soda), but I haven’t experimented with those.
I’m not saying I’d never drink wine out of a can. I’m just not ready yet.