It’s Halloween and that means there are a ton of parties and events happening around town. We put so much thought into our costumes and plans, but do you think that hard about what you’ll drink while you’re out and about? I want to stir the caldron a bit and talk about a subject that most wine professionals dodge. Let’s talk about bringing box wine to your shindig.

I know some people may be scratching their heads while I bring up this subject because I’m always talking about esoteric and small production wines. But I also know there are some people that are pulling up a soapbox for me to stand on and saying “PREACH!” I’ll be the first one to admit that I was one to scoff at it before. Then I came to this realization: How would the vessel affect the quality of the wine? The short answer is that whether it’s a box, a bottle with a cork or a bottle with a screw cap, it’s not a sign of quality. I’ve had some mediocre wines that have corks and I’ve had some spectacular wines with a screw cap. And just so you know, there are some great wines in a box.

Why should you pick up a box of wine for your Halloween party? Unless you have some really intense wino friends that will decant and discuss the wine, you’ll make a lot more people happy by walking in with a box for you and everyone else. You know your audience. 

Box wine, much like wine in screw cap bottles is meant to be drunk soon. You’re not supposed to sit on those and age them. The wine is designed for early consumption. Also, keep in mind what you are getting into. Have a mindset of satisfaction; don’t expect to have your mind blown. I mean, it very well could happen and you could be pleasantly surprised. I know I was in my research. But don’t expect prime rib when you got a drive through burger. It’s meant to be good and make you happy instantly.

There are a lot of perks to box wines, especially when you find a good one. One is that it takes about a month for it to go bad. It’s in a bladder with a pour spout that doesn’t really let oxygen in so it’s got some life. Another great thing about it: wine in a box is a great value. They are perfect for having people over and not breaking the bank. And if you take it to a party and you don’t finish it all, grab the box on your way out.

This rambling was spurred by tasting some Bota Box wine at party I was invited to. I didn’t expect much but that made the surprise that much better. I do recommend Bota Box a lot now to people that ask me how to supply wine for a more than three to four people without going over budget. They make all the major varietals and a couple of blends. They are produced at a certified sustainable winery in California. Another cool thing about Bota Box is that they create 85 percent less landfill waste than glass packages. Its packaging is unbleached, recycled paper and they use cornstarch instead of glue for binding.

Don’t judge a wine by its label — or its box. Do the earth a favor and try a box.