Today represents my first foray into box wine. It’s a Sauvignon Blanc from Gratsi. Gratsi was created by Stephen and Aaron, a pair of wine lovers who wanted to introduce to the U.S., a more casual, European-inspired approach to wine drinking.

If you’ve been to Italy you might have noticed that wine isn’t always served in delicate stem glasses. Sometimes, they’re served in these thick cafe glasses that look kind of like a shorter and narrower version of their water bearing counterparts. Many Europeans drink wine everyday before, after, and during meals. Wine is offered alongside coffee selections in French cafes. In Spain, you buy a wine, it comes with tapas. It’s an unfussy, uncomplicated, integral part of daily life.

Stephen and Aaron believe that drinking wine should be a simple and enjoyable act. So they created two wines, Old Country White, and Old Country Red. They’re full of natural flavors, devoid of milk protein, animal byproducts, and egg albumen, and made from quality grapes produced in Washington State vineyards. What’s more, they come in no-frills 100% recyclable cardboard carton packaging, and ship directly to the consumer.

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I learned what Gratsi was about before I chose to take the box wine plunge with them because I didn’t want to randomly try a box wine just so I could say that I drank a wine that came out of a carton. If I was going to avoid judging a book by its cover, or in this case, a wine by its environmentally-friendlier but less than elegant plain white box, I needed to keep in mind that it’s the wine inside that counts.

Gratsi wines are free of unnecessary additives, low in sugar, and environmentally friendly. I was actually surprised to learn that a fair number of wines have byproducts in them and the producer doesn’t even have to disclose this on the label to the consumer! These additives are approved by the FDA for use in say, improving the clarity in white wine, but Gratsi chooses to skip them whenever possible without sacrificing the quality of their wines.

I tried the Old Country White made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Horse Heaven Hills vineyards in Columbia Valley. Chateau St. Michelle wines are also made from grapes grown here. I like white wines from Chateau St. Michelle and it’s not just because of the name. The Old Country White contains 0.035 grams of sugar for a 6oz. pour, far less than the 1.76 grams on average for most white wines. It was refreshingly acidic, full of fresh floral, and citrus fruit aromas, and had crisp notes of lemon zest, green apple, and papaya, along with a touch of minerals.

I was also surprised to find that the wine remained fresh about 4 weeks after I opened it. There’s about 3 liters’, or 4, 750ml bottles’ worth of wine in each carton so it took me awhile to finish it. The carton is about 7” wide, 9” high and 3 1/2” deep so it doesn’t take up much room in the refrigerator. Apparently you can also store it at room temperature.

I don’t know why I had hesitated this long. I guess I had bought into the misconception that all box wine is cheap, and of low quality. I was surprised to learn that the stigma surrounding box wine largely prevails only in the U.S.. In Northern Europe, for example, box wine consists of around 50% of wine consumption. They’re way ahead of us when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint so it’s no wonder that they embraced the wine carton concept, which, at least as far as Gratsi cartons are concerned, are 100% recyclable. There are too many great wines by the bottle out there for me to say I’m going to give them up. After all, it is what’s on the inside that counts. But I’m glad to say that I won’t be walking by a box wine without a second glance either, for the same reason.

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  1. Caroline
    August 26, 2021

    Thank you for the well-written and thoughtful review Michelle! I’m so glad you enjoyed your Gratsi sample. We will be announcing a new addition to our wine portfolio very soon and will make sure you are first on the list to taste!

    • September 17, 2021

      Hi Caroline,

      I am glad you enjoyed the article! I was just curious but is it possible to make a boxed sparkling wine? I imagine no but I guess if anyone can figure it out it would be Gratsi. How exciting about the new addition. I am confident I will enjoy it as much as I did the Sauvignon Blanc.


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