Mountain Edge casksIf 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.

winebox tapPartially 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.

But 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.

wine pouchLooking 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.

Asda’s new four wine pouch range, introduced earlier this year, consists of some very acceptable Australian Shiraz and Chardonnay, as well as an Italian Pinot Grigio and a Californian rosé.

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 Chardonnay 1.5-litre wine pouch
£9.50 (equivalent to £4.75/75cl) Asda
An everyday white tasting of banana mixed with apple dryness.

Asda Italian Pinot Grigio 1.5-litre wine pouch
£9.50 (equivalent to £4.75/75cl) Asda
Light flavours of almonds, apples and lemon.

Asda Australian Shiraz 1.5-litre wine pouch
£9.50 (equivalent to £4.75/75cl) Asda
Tastes like Maltesers with a backbone of blackberry – will stand up to most foods.

Asda Californian Zinfandel rosé 1.5-litre wine pouch
£9.50 (equivalent to £4.75/75cl) Asda
Strawberry lolly sweet.

Sainsbury’s House French Dry White 2.25-litre winebox
£11.50 (equivalent to £3.83/75cl) Sainsbury’s
Simple flavours of melon and pineapple.

Sainsbury’s House Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2.25-litre winebox
£12.50 (equivalent to £4.17/75cl) Sainsbury’s
A simple, fruity red with blackberry, plum and cocoa flavours.

Co-op Jacaranda HillThe 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.

Mountain Edge Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2-litre wine ‘cask’ (a cylindrical winebox)
£16 (equivalent to £5.33/75cl) (down from £20 until September 24) Sainsbury’s
A very acceptable fresh and elegant Sauvignon Blanc that tastes more French than New World. The usual gooseberry flavours found in Sauvignon Blanc have been reduced to a mere background and the main flavours are pineapple and celery. A wine that will match almost anything and be enjoyed by almost everyone. Comes in some posh packaging that hides the fact that you’re dealing with plastic bag in a cardboard tube. Wine will stay fresh for up to 4 weeks.

Mountain Edge Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011 2-litre wine ‘cask’
£16 (equivalent to £5.33/75cl) (down from £20 until September 24) Sainsbury’s
An adaptable wine with flavours of Black Forest gateaux with a hint of crème fraiche. Smooth but not sweet, intense but not rich. Nice.

JP Chenet Vin Blanc, 3-litre winebox
£17.49 (equivalent price £4.38/75cl) 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.

The Co-op Jacaranda Hill Australian Semillon Chardonnay 3-litre winebox
£17.99 (equivalent to £4.50/75cl) Co-op
Buttery melon, apricot and pear.

The Co-op Jacaranda Hill Australian Shiraz 3-litre winebox
£18.49 (equivalent to £4.60/75cl) Co-op
Fresh cherry and tobacco flavours that make your mouth water.

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

school signTerm 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.

Barbecue man with womenBarbecued red meat and robustly-flavoured red wines are well matched. But where are we white wine drinkers in this mass of red? The lighter tasting flavours of white wines go well with barbecued fish, chicken, vegetable kebabs and salads.

barbecue manBarbecues and delicate wines don't go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine that tastes of berry fruit and chocolate. So what's needed are robustly-flavoured reds.