If you drink wine in the Yukon, certainly you have had a glass of Copper Moon wine. Maybe out of a glass bottle, but probably out of a box. I personally love that the Yukon wine drinking community has embraced alternative packaging and the pile of benefits that come with it, but there is more than just Copper Moon available.

First, we all know that boxed wine costs less, but that doesn’t mean that it is a worse product. It costs less to produce a boxed wine than a bottled wine, so it makes sense the purchase price is lower.

A glass bottle has many materials in it: glass, corks or screw tops, foils, wax and sticker labels. Some of these materials are very expensive and add considerable cost compared to the two packaging materials – plastic bag and cardboard box – that are typical for boxed wine.

Boxed wines weigh less and break less, too, so the costs of transportation and loss due to damaged products are significantly less.

The carbon footprint for boxed wine is about half when compared to glass because of the same factors that make the wine cost less. Also, the materials are more recyclable. Glass isn’t recycled in the Yukon, it is crushed and placed in the landfill whereas cardboard is recycled, making it a more environmentally friendly choice for our community.

But what about how it tastes? Many people feel that wine in a bag must taste worse, but actually if you had the same product from a bottle or bag, the bag should have a comparable taste. A taste benefit of boxed wine is that the wine isn’t susceptible to “cork taint,” which affects about 10 per cent of wines sealed with a traditional cork. Once opened, bagged wine has less contact with oxygen so stays fresh much longer than wine in a glass bottle. Boxed wine will remain fresh once opened for four weeks or even up to six weeks if refrigerated. Wine in a glass bottle: maybe five days.

Many sommeliers are predicting a growing trend in the boxed wine market and a number of producers have been working hard to change the perception of the box. One of these producers is Black Box wine from California, who have won over 50 Gold Medals in various wine competitions. They are a prominent producer in the “Quality Boxed Wine” category.

Their products aren’t currently available in the Yukon, but if you make a trip into Alaska you should pick one up; they are well worth it.

The quality producers are distinguishing themselves by selling their product in 3 litre boxes instead of the more common larger boxes. There are three red wine boxes available in the Yukon in the quality, 3 litre category: two products from Chile, Tocornal Cabernet Merlot and Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon; plus one product from California, Big House Cardinal Zin.

The Big House Cardinal Zin is the fruitiest and the Frontera Cabernet has the highest tannin and the smokiest taste. Tocornal is between the two with a nice balance of fruit, body and tannin. These boxes range from $34.55 to $42.60 in price.

Pick up a 3 litre box of wine the next time you are looking for wine and feel good about the price, quality and the environmental consciousness of your purchase.