In my fridge, I keep a certain set of staples. I always have eggs, butter and cream for baking. There are always carrots and celery in the crisper. And I always have a box of white wine handy.
Boxed wine? Really? I know you might be thinking why not spring for the good stuff? or even do you really need that? But here’s the thing: A box of wine comes in incredibly handy in the kitchen. And once you pop open a box, you’ll find yourself turning to it again and again. Here’s why I keep a carton in my fridge at all times.
Wine Is a Cooking Must-Have
Frequent home cooks know that plenty of recipes call for a splash (or two) of wine. Many of these dishes—like comforting soups, risotto and braises—are regulars on my menu at home. In all these recipes, the wine adds an extra layer of flavor which makes for next-level cooking.
Even if a recipe doesn’t call for wine, it’s a handy ingredient to keep in the kitchen. Wine is a great way to deglaze a pan. Deglazing is using a liquid to lift up all the baked-on bits left in your pan. From there you can make an easy pan sauce—like with this juicy chicken recipe.
But I know what you’re thinking—you can use any wine for these recipes, you don’t have to use the bulky boxed variety.
Boxed Wine Keeps Longer
Here’s the biggest reason that I keep a box of wine in my fridge: It keeps longer than an opened bottle. Once opened, a box of wine keeps for several weeks without issue. When you uncork a bottle of wine, however, you’re on a time clock. Opened bottles of wine are only good for seven days maximum. If you’re not planning on drinking or cooking with it all within a short time frame, opening a new bottle can seem like a waste.
The boxed variety, though, has a plastic bladder inside which helps keep oxygen out (oxygen is what causes a wine to go bad), keeping the wine fresher for much longer. My go-to variety of pinot grigio can last me for a month of sipping and cooking, and that works out much better for my kitchen habits.
There Are Great Boxed Wines to Be Had
Now, boxed wines sometimes get a bad reputation for being cheap and tasting not so great, but I encourage you to give these options another go. Boxed wines have come a long way since they were first released on the market.
There are so many more wine brands producing these large-scale boxes than ever before. It’s not just Franzia—though I was pleasantly surprised by their red blend in our boxed wine taste test. Brands like Barefoot, House Wine, The Naked Grape and more are jumping into the boxed wine game, so you can find your go-to varietal in a larger size. Many of these brands are award-winning, so don’t count them out!
How to Choose a Box of Wine
Because most boxed wines contain the equivalent of two or more bottles of wine, picking one can feel like a bit of a commitment. If you’re going to be sipping and splashing that wine into recipes for the next few weeks, you want it to be one to enjoy. So how do you pick the right one for you?
If it’s your first time buying boxed wine, stick with what you know from the bottled wine world. Love a dry red? Grab a cabernet. Want something lighter but not overly sweet? Stick with a sauvignon blanc. If you’re craving something fruity and delicate—snag some rosé. If you’re finding yourself deciding between brands, check the tasting notes on the box.
If you want my recommendation, though, opt for Bota Box’s pinot grigio. It’s never done me or a recipe wrong.