Game Box Wines – An Idea for Our Times?

The new package from Game Box Wines features a sense of fun at every turn.

Remember when wine was fun and nothing more? For many of us, that was likely in our early days of discovery, before we bought wine according to score, prestige, investment value or what food it paired with. We just bought wine to try on the way out of the grocery store. And you know what? We enjoyed most of them.

I thought of those days, long ago for me, when I got an email about the introduction of a new box wine. Wait, wait, wait! Before you stop reading, give me another 10 seconds please – here’s why I think the new Game Box Wines are good for our industry, and the right product for our current times:

  • It’s the environment. Duh. – The #1 contributor to wine industry emmissions is the production and transportation of glass bottles. As much as I LOVE the tradition and romance and sound of a popping cork, the future belongs to alternative packaging such as boxed wines. The industry refers to them as “Bag-in-Box” (or BiB), as it’s actually the mylar bag and the one-way valve that weighs just ~5% of a bottle.
  • Wine Preservation. – As with all boxed wine, the package protects a wine from oxidation for weeks instead of days. And it does it wihtout any expensive technology, gas cannisters that need replacing, or valuable counter space. And speaking of storage space, the box requires far less than the 4 bottles it contains.
A small sample of Game Box Wines’ sense of fun, inspired by childhood cereal boxes. Click for more.
  • Fun. – When a wine doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s more approachable. And that is key to attracting new fans. And Game Box achieves this in spades, with a box design inspired by childhood memories of fun cereal boxes. To get a taste of the humor just click the image, above.
  • Quality! – We’re not talking about the Franzia crowd here. Or if we are, we’re talking about the slice of that vast market who are ready for an upgraded wine experience. On the Quality-Price grid, I put Game Box in the same quadrant as Black Box Wines, which has fairly well dominated the space for over 20 years now. The wine inside the package is reportedly sourced from “quality grapes from appellations adjacent to Napa Valley”, which I suspect to be Sonoma, Lake County (already a significant source of quality grapes used in Napa-designated wines, just below the 15% requirment), and perhaps including the lesser vineyards in Solano and Yolo counties.

Let’s keep an eye on Game Box Wines. Of course, there are many hurdles between today and their eventual success in this hyper-competitive, insanely regulated industry. But I have a feeling the minds behind this new product will weather the storm.

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Talk About Alternative Wine Packaging!

Previous postings in this space have highlighted alternative wine packaging.  Which usually means BIBs (bag-in-box), Screw-caps, composite corks, or glass T-tops.  Never has it meant empty milk cartons, cider bottles or “gasoline” containers.  Until now.

In today’s wine news is the fact that the French (ever the wine innovators?) have adopted these dispensers in their supermarkets.  I applaud the change!  Any Wine Merchant worth his/her salt will support anything that encourages the consumption of a sensible amount of wine on a daily basis as part of our regular meals.

Of course, such bulk dispensers (which sometimes use the same “measured volume” technology we only see at the gasoline pump) have been commonplace across Europe, but as far as I know, only in the local wine/agricultural cooperative , such as this one we recently visited in Spain (see image).   Today’s news story was the first time I’ve heard of such dispensers working their way into local grocery stores.  I’m pleased to see that French authorities have NOT adopted our nation’s penchant for pandering to to the extreme ends of the alcohol-averse bell curve.

Dispensing wine at the local Co-op, Spain's Montsant region
Dispensing wine at the local Co-op, Spain's Montsant region

Would that our neo-prohibitionist lawmakers see the wisdom of encouraging the consumption of such moderate-alcohol beverages in favor of “the demon’s rum” – Carry Nation’s term for anything distilled. The curious wine student will note with interest that this was Thomas Jefferson’s argument for exempting wine and beer from our early nation’s sin taxes.  Maybe we should take a bit of wisdom from one of our country’s founding fathers.

Read more about it here (if you read French) –