Lindemans wineboxIf you really like a certain wine, rather than buying it in single cork-stoppered bottles why not get in larger two, three or four bottle-sized amounts available in boxes and pouches?

You’ll find many supermarkets sell the same wine in bottles and in four bottle-sized 3-litre wineboxes, but check out the equivalent price per bottle and you’ll find the winebox wine works out cheaper. Wineboxes have other advantages. Dispensed through a plastic tap dispenser, wine boxes do away with the annoyance of broken corks and tainted 'corked' wine - improperly sterilised corks spoil at least one in ten traditionally bottled wines.

Partially consumed winebox wine remains fresh and unoxidised for up to six weeks. As the plastic bag concealed within the cardboard box empties, the pressure of the remaining wine stops air entering the tap. For single glass consumers of wine this is a huge bonus. If you've tried to keep a partially drunk conventional bottle of wine you'll know it will become tasteless and oxidised within a couple of days.

Big Green wineboxBut if you’re not convinced that you’ll get through 3-litres of the same wine in six weeks then there are alternatives – newer, smaller, three bottle-sized 2.25 litre wineboxes are now rapidly gaining popularity with both supermarkets and their customers as well as even smaller two bottle-sized 1.5 litre pouch containers.

Looking like the innards from the more traditional 3-litre cardboard winebox, the 1.5 litre wine-filled plastic pouches are being marketing as environmentally-friendly (when thrown away they use 90% less landfill compared to a glass bottle equivalent) and can now be found in both Marks and Spencer and Asda wine aisles.

But despite their ease of use and informality, as well as longevity, wineboxes and pouches have one major disadvantage compared to wine in traditionally-sized 75cl bottles – their price. You just can’t get away from the fact that you’ve got to hand over a large wad of cash in one go.

PG Winebox Reviews

Asda wine pouchesAsda Australian Shiraz 1.5-litre wine pouch

£9.48 (equivalent to £4.74/75cl) Asda

Tastes like Maltesers with a backbone of blackberry – will stand up to most foods.

Sainsbury’s House French Dry White 2.25-litre winebox

£11.75 (equivalent to £3.92/75cl) Sainsbury’s

Simple flavours of melon and pineapple.

Vineyards Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon 2.25-litre winebox

£11.79 (equivalent to £3.93/75cl) Tesco

Pizza plonk.

The Co-op Fab Cab Californian Ruby Cabernet Shiraz 2.25-litre winebox

£13.99 (equivalent to £4.66/75cl) Co-op

Cherry juice and bubblegum. Very American.

Parra Alta Argentinean Malbec Shiraz 2.25-litre winecask

£17.99 (equivalent price £6/75cl) Tesco

Full-bodied red with blackberry and vanilla flavours.

JP Chenet Vin Blanc, 3-litre winebox

£17.99 (equivalent price £4.50/75cl) Tesco

This is what we used to call a wine lake blend but is now more delightfully called a ‘Vin de la Communauté Européenne’. There’s no clue to what grape varieties go into this or from which countries they originate but all that become irrelevant when you concentrate on the taste – extremely pleasant and fruity with light apple, melon and pear flavours. A go with anything white. Good stuff.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

blackberriesPurple-stained cooking water is a sure sign of an accidentally nicked beetroot skin. But don't discard this nutrient-filled liquor, allow it to cool then add some sugar and yeast and the result in a couple of weeks time will be a beetroot 'country' wine.

school desksTerm is starting for the children, and in a few weeks time it’ll be the adults’ turn. Evening classes begin in September and it’s not all about beginner’s French. Wine tasting is still being offered by many local education authorities and if you’re lucky the course will be taught by a wine tutor who is knowledgeable and understands you’ll be nervous when you first arrive.

blackberriesIf you ask someone if they’ve got the latest blackberry they’re more likely to spout on about communication technology rather than the new thornless hybrid suitable for freezing, jams and winemaking. But fruit-lovers needn’t fear, the common or garden bramble is still common and it can still be found in many gardens (intentionally or not). And if the thought of its tart and tannic flavours make you salivate then why not try a blackberry-tasting Merlot of Shiraz as well.