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Aug 1, 2009 11:31 PM

Bag-in-Box Wine in SF

I read with interest all the Chowhound postings related to bag-in-box wine. That's the kind that comes in a box with a spigot. I ran around shopping today to try to buy the best I could find in SF and want to share the market data. I promise to share tasting data later (ie. after tasting!). If someone can corroborate, then great.

The benefits for me are lower weight in luggage, less chance for breakage, longer lasting after opening, and low cost. Boxed wine is perfect for group hiking to a remote picnic spot, BYOB to a hotel or sneaking alcohol onto a cruise ship. Compared to glass bottles, they appear surprisingly small for 3 liters (same as four 750ml bottles).

Of wines I read about that held any promise of acceptable quality, I found the following today in the 94110 area. All are 3 liter bag-in-box containers, unless otherwise noted.

Plumpjack Wines, 24th St, Noe Valley
$24 Black Box, Chardonnay, Monterey County
$25 Black Box, Cabernet Sauvignon
$11 Yellow + Blue Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (this is 1 liter juice box only, no bag inside, so will oxidize quickly once opened, like a glass bottle)
$35 La Petite Frog Picpoul de Pinet, Chardonnay(?), France
$25 Le Cask California Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi
$34 Jean Marc Brocard, Chardonnay, Bourgogne, France

BevMo, Bayshore
$22 Black Box, Chardonnay, Monterey County
$22 Black Box, Merlot, Sonoma County
$20 Delicato Bota Box, Merlot (BevMo has many other Bota Box varietals, too)

Safeway, Potrero x 16th
$25 Black Box, Chardonnay, Monterey County, $20 w/ Club Card through Aug. 26
$38 Red Truck 2007 California Red, $25 w/ Club Card through Aug. 26
- this one comes in a small round plastic barrel, like a very small keg or sake barrel
- I've had a couple bottles from Trader Joe's and seem to recall it was decent
$20 Fish Eye Shiraz, $12.5 w/ Club Card through Aug. 26 (wow pricing, only $3/750ml)

Whole Foods, Potrero
- no bag-in-box wines, just a couple 1 liter juice boxes
- wine guy there said they used to have some house brand ones, but they didn’t sell well and were probably lower quality than Black Box

Now, where the heck can I get the following?
- Seeberger Pfalz Riesling
- Powers Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Badger Mountain Vinyard
- Tefft Cellar Cabernet/Merlot, Washington

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  1. Jut a correction - The Le Petit Frog Picpoul de Pinet is not a Chardonnary. Picpoul is the grape variety, fyi it means "lip stinger." Its a wonderful warm weather/aperetif white, not "serious" but very tasty. I highly recommedn it.

    1. Gourmet Corner in San Mateo has some s Cellier des Dauphins nonvintage Côtes du Rhône, when I bought it the price was $9.99 for a 3-liter bag-in-box. It wasn't great, though it's worth the extra 50 cents over Two-Buck Chuck.

      My report on the Seeberger Pfalz, which I believe I got at the Lucky in El Cerrito (which I think was an Albertson's at the time):

      More on bag-in-box:

      1. I saw the Black Box Monterey County Chardonnay at Grocery Outlet in Redwood City a few weeks ago. Sorry, don't recall the price other than being less than $20 nor the vintage.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The *juice box* one liter packages can work well enough like a bag in the box -- just squeeze the carton to push the air out and then screw the cap back on. The boxes are easy to handle for picnics, etc. when the 3-liters are a bit much.

          At home we use the Private Preserve inert gas cans and lever bottle closures you can find at liquor stores, or upscale versions at Sur Le Table. A few spurts of the gas into the bottle to force out the air/oxygen and with the solid closure it lasts surprisingly well.

          1. re: MRMoggie

            Everyone's palate is different, but personally I don't find gassed wines palatable. The wine tastes oddly muted. BIB wines, on the other hand, can stay fresh for a couple of weeks.