The stigma surrounding boxed wine probably prevents most people (those that enjoy wine, those that are largely uneducated about wine, those that don’t care but don’t want to look uncouth, etc.) from taking the plunge and saving their money. However, you do so, according to Ari LeVaux, at your wallet’s peril.
Go buy a box of Franzia Cabernet (not the Merlot or Chianti), which I consider a decent yardstick of value in a good cheap blend. The box costs $15 for five liters. A standard wine bottle has 750 ml, so the Franzia works out to about $2.25 a bottle—about what they pay in Europe for a bottle of good, cheap wine, usually blended. Do a taste test comparing that Franzia to any $15 bottle on the shelf. Unless you choose well or get lucky, the Franzia easily wins at least half the time. And even when it loses, ask yourself: Was the bottle seven times better than the box? That’s a personal question, of course, one that’s directly linked to your wallet.
There are a few brands of boxed wines that I generally find agreeable to my palette. Of course, when you bring a boxed wine home or to a party, there’s generally a look on people’s faces like, “gee, thanks for the shit wine.” But in terms of taste and value some boxed wines can’t be beat.