Boxed wine rebrands itself

Ten years ago, you may have been mortified to see your family members toting their own boxes of Franzia blush to wedding receptions so they wouldn't have to buy drinks at the cash bar. These days, they can probably get away with it by telling people they're being conscientious of their carbon footprint.

Just this month, Italy's Agriculture Ministry announced that some wines that receive the government’s quality assurance label may now be sold in boxes. An op-ed in yesterday's New York Times discusses how boxed wine makes more and more sense.

Author Tyler Coleman notes that the American market is huge, and growing--in terms of overall consumption, Americans are second only to the French when it comes to wine drinking--and makes a strong environmental argument for boxed wines:

More than 90 percent of American wine production occurs on the West Coast, but because the majority of consumers live east of the Mississippi, a large part of carbon-dioxide emissions associated with wine comes from simply trucking it from the vineyard to tables on the East Coast. A standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters of wine and generates about 5.2 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions when it travels from a vineyard in California to a store in New York. A 3-liter box generates about half the emissions per 750 milliliters. Switching to wine in a box for the 97 percent of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars.

I don't know of any local vineyards who are boxing their wines, yet. Target has actually been making "wine cubes" for a while, but they're not available in Minnesota stores due to liquor sales restrictions.