Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review: NV Pepperwood Grove Chardonnay Big Green Box

Big.  Green.  Box.

Bottom Line: Hard to argue with a gulpable wine delivered at this price in what is quite possibly the future of non-premium wine packaging.  Good for Don & Sons for taking a risk and moving things forward.  $20-ish

The Rest Of The Story:  (Full disclosure: this wine was received as a sample from the winery's PR firm.)  Let's get the obvious out of the way: this is wine in a box.  BOX WINE.  (Not to be confused with this box.)  Cardboard, mylar, a spout.  Box wine, people!

Keep reading...

Okay, now that we've got the worst behind us, let's take a look at the merits of this:
  • 100% recyclable packaging
  • Fits standing up in your fridge (and can be poured directly from the fridge)
  • Super efficient storage and transport
  • Paper sourced from sustainable forests
  • Wine bong adapters are no doubt soon to follow
  • Stays fresh for 2 weeks after opening*
Sweet.  So, it was a bit cumbersome to get started and it's a bit of a sloppy pour until you get the hang of it, but nothing you can't get past quickly.

The wine?  Fresh, clean nose with traces of caramel and vanilla that follow through on in your mouth.  Smooth and fairly full-bodied.  Easy to like, but far from complex.  And don't let it warm up on you or the caramel melts and the vanilla becomes more extract than bean.  But, come on - this box is the equivalent of 4 bottles.  If retail expectations on this are right, that's $5/bottle.

How fresh does it stay for how long?  No idea.  (SEE FOLLOW UP NOTES IN THE COMMENTS)  At least 5 days which is about how long it lasted -which says a lot about how easy it was to drink this wine. 

We also served it blind - out of a glass, label-less bottle - and got unsolicited compliments on it.  Oh, that's nice.  What is it? On the other hand, some also acknowledged a predisposition to not liking it once they knew it came out of a box.

Could this be the future of wine packaging?  Who knows?  Who cares?  And it's that last question the market researchers are trying to get answers to.  As far as we're concerned, it'd be really great to see an ultra-premium winery test the waters of this format - like Plumpjack did (and still does) with their $200 screw top Reserve Cabernet all those years ago.


  1. "How fresh does it stay for how long? No idea."

    My understanding, in general for boxed wines, is that inside the box is a collapsable "bladder," if you will (plastic/foil bag, basically), that collapses as the wine comes out. No air goes into the bladder/bag, and therefore there's no oxygen to interact with the wine. Same concept, although better executed, employed by those "wine savers" that suck the air out of a half-finished bottle of wine.

  2. Thanks, Craig. Yup- that's pretty much my understanding, too. The manufacturer claims it'll stay fresh for two weeks, but, other than my mother-in-law, who keeps wine around for that long?

    But then again, how different would our wine drinking habits be if we didn't have to worry about post-open spoilage?

    A potential answer to that question - and a personal favorite - here:



  3. Thanks for the terrific review Steve!!

  4. You bet, Leah. While we're at it, we revisited that box just yesterday - more than two weeks after opening it. (Turns out there was still a little left in there.) Tasted pretty much exactly the same as it did back then.

    Great packaging!


Please add your comment here: