BOX WINE MANIA

The wine industry’s innovative marketing and packaging techniques have helped boost sales to an impressive yearly rate of 8.4%. In 2004, wine sales were up 4.3% in retail stores, a percentage that more than doubled the 2% sales gained in the beer market. Consumers are now more willing to experiment with wine, a change fueled mainly by new brands with outlandish titles and eye-catching labels. Boxed wines are also a part of this upward trend and are no longer considered second rate in comparison to traditional bottles. Last year box wines had a volume growth of 42.7% in food, drug, and liquor stores while bottles were up only 3.9%. Box wines are easy to carry, cheap to produce, better wine preservers, and allow consumers to get more for their money. They are, overall, a better deal and something wine producers are latching onto. But as Ray Sproule, founder of Granite Bay, California-based Black Box Wines, points out in Progressive Grocer’s Sept. 15, 2005 issue, “‘It’s always difficult to get people to purchase for the first time, due to the stigma…[but] we found that once people bought it, the repeat business increased.’”