Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The first time I saw a box of wine in France, I was shocked. SHOCKED!

Boxed wine in France? This is an aberration. It can't be true!

I was at a village picnic and I was told to go get myself a glass of wine at the beverage table set up in the field. This was my first summer here and certainly my first village picnic. You can probably imagine what my visions were, but just to make it clear, it involved buckets and buckets of chilling bottles of wine, refracting the rays of the late afternoon sunshine...blah...blah…blah.

Sort of like this.

Except it wasn't.

Instead, what I found on the long, plastic table were boxes of white, red and rosé, lined up like soldiers along the table's edge. The villagers, who obviously were not shocked about this outrageous oddity had brought pitchers along with their picnic and continuously passed by the table to fill and refill as the evening went on. If truth be told, the more I poured from our table's pitcher, the more I found the whole thing kind of charming. And the wine was actually good.

So yes, sorry to break it to you, but French people do drink boxed wine, or a cubi as they call it. To prove it, here's the aisle of Rosé at the supermarché. This being the beginning of Rosé season, they're well stocked.

Red and white fans have a pretty good selection as well.

Of course, these are generally not the high end varieties, but even our low and medium end can be pretty damned good. The advantages are, as with all boxed wine, it's cheaper, it lasts for 6 weeks, or so they tell me, and you can drink a glass or two at a time without losing the rest of the bottle. This is also hearsay, since I'll be damned if I'm going to ever let half a bottle go to waste

My last box sat on my kitchen counter for a day or two, but then I hid it from myself.

Too much of a good thing is, well, just too much. And this one turned out to be not so great. The giant Hyper U symbol on the side might have been my first clue! That is the negative side of boxed wine. If you don't like it ,you've got 3 to 5 litres to finish before you get to try something else.

But if you liked it, and after you've removed the bladder from the box and squeezed out every last drop (my friend Holly has experimented extensively with the bladder squeeze and says there is always another glass and 3/4 left in the bag) the effect can be rather tragic.

Isn't this just a sad photo?
 Poor, broken down, shell of a bag.

Now if boxed wine isn't to your liking, we also have wine fill-in stations.  I'm not kidding! Take your plastic 5 litre jug to the local wine co-op which you'll find in every other village,  and they'll fill it up with their table wine variety in any color.

This has to be consumed or bottled pretty quickly since it won't last more than a day or two but it's great for a party and it amuses the hell out of my visitors. 

My box of wine is gone, consumed during a long and very late table conversation which probably wouldn't have been nearly so long and late if I hadn't had that ginormous box of wine. I think for now, at least until visitor season starts in two weeks, I'll stick with bottles. It's safer. 



  1. I buy wine in boxes too. My current rosé box is in the fridge nearly finished so tomorrow I have to stock up. For everyday wine they are totally okay.

  2. Delana...try the box VDP red and rosé from Correns....bio & delicious...couldn't live without it.

  3. i want a wine filling station! i drink boxed wine a lot!

  4. I used to reckon we needed wine on a drip when some particular friends came to stay....

  5. I feel better about the brand I like that has a screw top. If the French are giving a thumb's up to boxed wine, a screw top bottle has to be ok.

  6. Hi Delana.
    I just came back from France. I found the house and made an offer.
    email you shortly.
    Hope everything is well with you.

    Julie xx

  7. When we lived in Paris, we bought wine both by the box and at the fill up wine station. Thanks for bringing back the memories.


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