The History of Boxed Wine

Devon Kessler
April 19, 2024 | Box Wine, Tasting Room | Devon Kessler

The History of Boxed Wine

Often overlooked and underestimated, boxed wine has a story that spans decades, weaving its way through cultural shifts, technological advancements, and changing consumer preferences. From its humble beginnings as a practical solution to packaging challenges to its current status as a popular and eco-friendly option, boxed wine has evolved in ways that may surprise you. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or just curious about the evolution of beverage packaging, we promise you will find a newfound appreciation for the boxed wine phenomenon.

Boxed wine, or bag-in-box wine, was invented in 1965 by Australian winemaker Thomas Angove. The invention was intended to be a modern-day half-gallon wine jug. Shortly after, this product became popular in Australian markets. Come the 1990s, two-thirds of wine consumed in the country came out of a box. Over the last 30 years, the trend of boxed wine spread across the European markets - especially in Scandinavia. In 2017, nearly 50% of the wine consumed in both Finland and Sweden was sold in a box. 

According to 2015 Nielsen reports, sales figures of 3-liter wine boxes climbed by nearly 14 percent in value and more than 12 percent by volume. When it comes to the “premium” boxed wine category, reports show it has grown by 20 percent each year for the past decade - with close to 75 percent growth in 2015 alone. 

Reports show that the bag-in-box market was estimated at $4 billion in 2022 and could grow to $6.6 billion by 2031.

Experts explain the growth is due to a wave of influential, independent-minded winemakers and importers who are impressed by the product’s economic and ecological positives.

Benefits of Boxed Wine

Unlike Europeans and Australians, Americans aren’t embracing the change to boxed wine as easily even though several benefits come with the product. We’ve looked into the known benefits, which include more sustainable packaging, lower carbon footprint, and easy portability. Another benefit that could be driving the trend forward is the longevity of the wine in a box versus a bottle format before it goes bad. 

Wine stored in boxes can stay fresh for as long as 4 to 6 weeks once opened compared to 1 to 2 days for wine in a bottle. But, with this, comes the worry of polyethylene from the plastic bag making its way into the wine. At Good Harbor Vineyards, the bags we use in our Fishtown White Box are BPA-Free.

When Angove invented bag-in-box wine, he used a one-gallon polyethylene bladder that was put into corrugated boxes to sell it to consumers. In the beginning, this required the consumer to cut the corner of the bag inside the box, pour out the desired amount, and then reseal it with a special peg. While boxed wine has a longer shelf life, experts explain that consumers don’t have to worry about the plastic leaching into the wine. 


There has been some resistance when it comes to growing the boxed wine market in the United States, however, we’ve seen a rise when it comes to the production of quality boxed wine. Many larger wine brands have yet to make the shift, but small companies - like Good Harbor Vineyards - have been able to develop quality wines offering consumers an alternative to glass.

The United States wine market saw an increase of 53% in bag-in-box sales in March 2020. Even though this was likely brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, experts believe the industry will continue to see steady growth in the U.S.

Good Harbor’s Boxed Wine Line

In mid-2023, Good Harbor Vineyards released our iconic Fishtown White in box form! Fishtown White Box is the first member of our new alternative packaging line. We are one of only two Michigan wineries to offer a boxed wine and the only Northern Michigan winery to have one available. And just like most boxed wines on the market, our Fishtown White Box holds four bottles of wine.

In honor of Earth Month, we are excited to announce that we will be expanding our alternative packaging line! Coming this year, we will be releasing our popular red blend, Harbor Red, in box form as well. Keep your eyes open for the official announcement of its release and we hope to continue to expand our boxed wine options in the future.



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