‘Drinking out of the box’: Box

Photo: Pixabay

‘Drinking out of the box’: Box wines shatter wine bottle dominance

New stats from the SA Wine Industry revealed that box wines outsold bottled wines in 2020. Get a taste of some of the luxury box wines on sale here.

‘Drinking out of the box’: Box

Photo: Pixabay

A new report by the SA Wine Industry shows that box wines had outsold bottled wines in 2020 for the first time. Meanwhile, canned wine is also becoming increasingly popular among wine lovers.

Box wine: Premium wine at a great price

The news comes after various alcohol bans, and the launch of a range of premium local wines — in boxes — by major retailer Woolworths.

Boxing clever: Some box wine favourites:

Other recommended South African boxed wines that you can try, include:

  • Robertson Winery Sauvignon Blanc,
  • Drostdy-hof Merlot 2010, or Sauvignon Blanc 2010,
  • Du Toitskloof – Pinotage or Merlot or Ruby Cabernet.

Lockdown rise in box wine sales

And even though wines sales in South Africa fell by 20% last year amid restrictions on alcohol sales, so-called “bag-in-box” wine sales were more resilient than bottled wine, and outsold the latter for the first time ever.

According to Business Insider, new data from the industry body SA Wine Industry Information and Systems (Sawis) shows total sales of still wine came to only 285 million litres last year – compared to 356 million litres in 2019. Sparkling wine sales were also down 20%, to below 8 million litres.

But while sales of wine in glass bottles dropped 24% to 121.5 million litres sold, boxed wine sales only fell 10% to 126.3 million.

“Our thinking is that it has to do with COVID-19 lockdown and bans; consumers buying bag-in-box and not bottles,” Charles Whitehead, manager of information services at Sawis, said according to the publication.

Canned wine

For the fist time ever, Sawis also recorded canned wine sales in South Africa, which reached 69100 litres last year.

While canned wine sales have been growing fast in other markets like the US and Australia, it is stille being picked up in South Africa. It is said that these wines are often cheaper than bottled version and are particulalrly popular among younger poeple. It is also more economical because you don’t have to buy a whole bottle.

“Since people are drinking more at home than they ever did in bars, clubs and other recreational centres combined,” writes WeeTracker. “It makes sense how the demand for (easily portable and concealable) boxed and more economic versions of their favourite booze brands became stronger. “

Litres of unsold wine

Earlier this year, it was reported that an enormous backlog – caused by the alcohol ban – presents several logistical headaches for South Africa’s once-booming wine industry.

Regional structures of the DA estimate that an eye-watering 640 million litres of ‘excess wine stocks’ have been left to pile up over the past 11 months or so. With intermittent bans placed on hospitality venues, alcohol consumption, and international exports, various wineries have been left with an ‘unshiftable’ amount of vino.

Andricus van der Westhuizen is the Western Cape’s Agricultural spokesperson. He revealed that this huge wine backlog is likely to encourage the “underground market” to undermine legally-run businesses in the weeks and months ahead. The politician has also branded the most recent alcohol ban as “unscientific”.

The DA in the Western Cape is deeply concerned about the over 640 million litres of wine stock currently held by producers and distributors, and the potential for this to worsen illicit trade through dangerous underground markets. This was a direct result of an unscientific continuation of the liquor ban under amended lockdown level 3 regulations.”