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From wine windows to wine in a box

It’s 2020, and the world is coming full circle. What’s old is new again — a glass at a time.

During the plague in 17th century Italy, buchette del vino, wine windows, emerged on the streets of Florence. Out of necessity, these little holes in the walls allowed a glass to be filled with wine while preventing contact between people — an early form of social distancing. After the plague vanished, these little windows were closed and became architectural features. Fast forward almost 400 years and the windows have been reopened. Neither plague nor pandemic will keep people from drinking their wine.

Alcohol and wine sales have accelerated during 2020, and along with that a new trend has emerged — boxed wine. Boxed wine is simply a bag of wine with a spigot, placed into a box, with an opening for the spigot. BiB (bag-in-box) was created by an American in the mid-1950s as a way to transport battery acid. Ten years later an innovative Australian took the concept and created the “wine cask,” and although the idea of quality boxed wine has been questioned, the practical aspect stands the test of time.

In reality, any wine can be boxed, however it is outside the age-old tradition of opening a bottle of wine. Boxed wine can’t be aged in the classic sense, but once opened the wine lasts from four to six weeks with little to no change in taste, a perk for singles or those households who prefer different varietals — a glass at a time.

For decades, the stereotype of boxed wine was that it was sweet and cheap swill, only for those lacking a more refined palate. But with the conscientiousness of sustainability and environmental awareness, much of that snobbery has been vanquished with the advantage that wine in a box is greener than a bottle. It’s easier to transport, reduces resources and is recyclable. It also costs less, which adds value back to the consumer.

Generally, a box of wine is 3 liters, which equals four bottles, but priced for three. Both sizes and prices vary, but that is the average, and it’s a good deal.

Quady North offers its extraordinary wine in bottle or box. Its boxed wine can be left in the box or positioned into their Ammo Can, both available for purchase online or in their tasting room in Jacksonville.

The Oregon Cheese Cave in Phoenix has some Portuguese and other wines on their shelves as well. The Portuga Rosé, or “pink water” as owner Melodie Picard calls it, goes with anything, and in true European style, any time of the day.

Natural Grocers has an organic Argentinian Malbec in a box that is jammy with a slight slate undertow.

EdenVale offers its popular Sangria in an easy-to-pack 1.5L bag.

From medieval wine windows to upscale wine in a contemporary box, there is a historical precedent for the love of wine.

Be adventurous, drink out(side) the box.