The Canned Wine vs. Box Wine vs. Bottled Wine quarrel is ongoing
Trust us, there’s a time and place for all wine, but there are moments when a glass is better served from a can, box, or bottle. When mastered, friends will think of you as the wine guru, wine hero — or whatever you want to call yourself. You’re bringing wine after all, and that’s already a wise decision.
Here’s your guide to bringing the right type of packaged wine, every time …
Pros: Bottles are elegant and traditional, and therefore they work well in formal settings. Giving a host gift around the holidays? Pick up a bottle and place it in a pretty wine bag with a ribbon. Having the boss over for dinner? Buy a red and a white, and ask which they prefer. Bottles are also great for trying rare and interesting blends that aren’t typically boxed or canned. Doing this can help expand the palate when it comes to tasting the different varietals in mass-distributed wines, and helps determine which you like and which you don’t.
Cons: Glass bottles are fragile and they aren’t the easiest to transport. The tall and rounded shape can become heavy and awkward in the wrong setting. Plus, glass bottles aren’t designed for spontaneous adventure. Unless your name is Hemingway, you probably won’t pop a bottle at the ascent of a fourteener or stow away a case on a rafting trip. Wine should be the cherry on top of an epic adventure — not an awkward bottle that weighs down the backpack. And the worst part about bottled wine? Many require a corkscrew, which everyone has forgotten at home at least once.
Pros: Four bottles in one box? Say no more. This packaging grew in popularity over lockdown, because it sustained wine-drinking households for a longer amount of time between grocery deliveries and trips to the store. It’s also perfect for parties — place a red on the bar cart, or encourage guests to dispense white or rosé from a box in the fridge. There won’t be the same pressure to ration a bottle, so guests will pour freely until the very last drop.
Cons: Let’s face it — four bottles of wine, no matter what it’s packaged in, is heavy. That’s a lot of liquid to haul around. Unless you’re car camping, or settling into a beach chair with a big group of friends, there’s not that many outdoor activities to do with a box of wine in tow. Hiking? Rock climbing? Mountain biking? This wine is getting left behind at base camp.
And the problems aren’t just unique to the adventurous, boxed wine isn’t always great at home. As a single or two-adult household, the flavor is bound to get bland after a while. The novelty of a “new” flavor can get old by week three — it is a never-ending box after all, and the worst when it feels that way.
Pros: That wine you always wanted to bring along? Now you can — with cans! Canned wine makes it so people don’t have to rely on beer for casual barbecues, outdoor excursions, and football tailgates. It’s by far the easiest wine to transport, feels more celebratory than a beer on top of a mountain, and is made with more recycled materials compared to it’s glass-bottled and plastic-bagged peers. Plus, it’s perfectly portioned into satisfying single or double servings, so you don’t have to finish a whole bottle or four from a box. And that corkscrew you forgot to bring along? It’s irrelevant now.
Cons: When taking drink orders, you might get a weird look or two from a more traditional wino when you offer canned wine. There’s two ways to combat this problem: simply don’t tell them and pour in a glass (they won’t know the difference), OR hand them a can and let them experience the wonders of canned wine for themselves. We recommend the latter.
No matter what you prefer, all drinking mediums for wine are great (as is wine itself, of course!). From Canned Wine to Box Wine to Bottled Wine, all are viable options no matter the occasion. That being said, it may come down to preference, but most importantly, ensure you try all the vessels of wine drinking before making your decision!
Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.