Boxing clever: How I succumbed to the call of carton wine

Of course, we (I) should be drinking less. But you know what? January’s been a hard enough month

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The Independent Online

The weekend’s winds have made off with the lid of my recycling box, revealing to the world my household’s habits. Usually, the bin would be full to the brim with wine bottles, but not at the moment. That’s not because I’ve given up drinking for January to save my soul/bank balance/liver, alas, but because I have succumbed to the call of the wine box.

So easy to carry! So economical! So much fun with their dinky wine-dispensing taps! I could also point out that wine boxes (or bag-in-box, as its known in the trade) keep vino fresh, once you’ve opened them, than bottles do. Not that that would be much of a selling point in my house, where we get through so much of the stuff in cooking and quaffing.

I’d been a bit sniffy about wine boxes in the past because I thought they were naff. When I was little, our next-door-but-one neighbours had a bit of an incident after a wine-box fuelled dinner party when, the next morning, their six-year-old son was staggering around the living room. It transpired that he’d been lying underneath the wine box and using its dinky tap to deliver squirts of chardonnay straight into his mouth. Kids and alcohol? So not a good look. Then there were the tales my husband told of buying the things when he was at university. Apparently, there was always one more glass to be had - you just had to liberate the foil bag from its cardboard box and milk the last drops out with careful squeezing. Classy.

Now, though, wine boxes are being primped and promoted by the wine industry. A wine-box handbag that arrived at the office was scoffed at - but them promptly scoffed when someone took it to a party where it caused quite a stir. According to, in the next three years, sales of bag-in-box wine are set to grow by 27 million units in France alone, and in 2012, wine boxes saw an 8 per cent increase in sales in the US. Restaurants are using boxed wine, too - and in Jamie Oliver’s case, it comes from cartons.

Of course, we (I) should be drinking less, and three-litre wine boxes aren’t the things to buy if you’re cutting down on the hard stuff. But you know what? January’s a hard enough month without either giving up the grog altogether, or going to the pub and being asked to pay £7 for a glass of Pinot Grigio (London, these are the times when I tire of you). So I am going to stick with my wine boxes, but I’m also going to try and experience for myself the fact that they keep wine fresh for two weeks. Let my recycling bin bear witness.