A while back, Mary Jo, a TBG reader, asked for specifics on getting rid of cardboard on a boat. One of her questions was about wine boxes. I wrote an article with lots of tips on how I stripped cardboard from various products, and said that many wine boxes actually had a bladder inside and that I just removed it and used it without the box (they take up less room this way, too).
As a follow-up, Mary Dixon, another reader, posted a photo on TBG’s Facebook page of the plastic wine box she and her husband made (see photo below). What a wonderful idea!!
Mary graciously provided several more photos of the wine box for me to post here. The photo at top is of the box I made for Dave and I.
You can start with any plastic food storage box that’s about the same size as the wine box. You could even use an old gallon milk or vinegar jug but it won’t last as long.
Ones made of soft plastic, such as the Tupperware or Rubbermaid ones designed for cereal work really well — the soft plastic isn’t as likely to crack as the ones made from hard plastic. And you don’t really need a lid with a pour spout (they’re usually cheaper without). I like the 21-cup/5-liter size because some wines do come in bags as large as 5 liters, so they’ll always fit. If you always get wine in smaller bags, you may prefer a smaller box.
Mary’s husband drilled a pilot hole in the plastic, then used a jigsaw to make a larger hole that the pour spout would fit into — basically, the same arrangement as the cardboard box had. I’m sure you could also use a Dremel to make the hole, although it would come out more square-ish. I used an old serrated knife.
In case you’re new to boxed wine, with this system you need to buy the boxes that have a bladder inside the box, as in the photo. Generally, the box is labelled with some reference to its pour spout. Widely available brands include Black Box and Franzia, although there are a host of others. There are also some “boxed wines” that are more like milk cartons with a plastic spout and screw-on cap — these don’t have an interior bladder and you can’t remove them from the box until you’re ready to drink them.
Mary says that for the “wine cellar” (aka extra bags of wine), she discards the boxes before bringing them aboard and puts each bag in a plastic box (without a hole for the spout) of its own. Should one leak (very unlikely, but never say never . . . ), the wine will all be in contained in the box and not create too big of a mess. Be sure to use boxes with tightly sealing lids so that if one does leak, it can’t slosh out on a rough passage. Mary has a perfect space behind one of their settees for a wine cellar with several boxes!
Our “wine cellar” is slightly different: I use a 20-quart storage bin with a lid. I can put six 3-liter bags in one and still put the lid on. It fits perfectly in the bottom of one of our deep lockers!