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Two of my favourite things - rose and rose this winery

I drink boxed wine.

And, I don’t care what you think.

As we head into round two of the Covid Games and I check the stock levels in the Apocalypse Pantry, I’m feeling pretty good about my choices. Yes, I have about 50 bottles of decent wine on the rack but the pantry boasts the equivalent of about 30 bottles, thanks to the compact and modular nature of the five boxes of wine I have in there.

Hoarding boxed wine might be new for me, but quaffing it (if you can call it that) has been a Darren thing for years now. There are special bottles on the rack but, when it comes to the second and third bottles, nothing beats the box. And here’s why:

  • Because it offends the Sideways sensibilities of “fruit-forward” oenophrauds
  • Because I have production drinker friends, upon whom a proper second bottle would be wasted (you know who you are)
  • Because it’s always there, ready to pour at a moment’s notice
  • Because I adore my Boeuf Bourguignon
  • But mostly, if we’re being honest, because it broadcasts my distain for ignorant pretense

That sound of the first gushing grape torrent into the carafe is magical. I know, that in about 30 minutes, I will be sipping a glass of wine that tastes like it came from at least a $13 bottle (versus the $7.25 equivalent I paid). Imagine the joy when I spring for an expensive box!

There is reassurance in being prepared, even a little. It doesn’t take much.

And that got me thinking about the coming months where more lock-downs could (will) be coming.

Many consumers will have no choice but to tighten their belts and wring their wallets for greater value. What will that mean for producers? Like in any downturn, some businesses suffer and others succeed. Shoe repair and similar services surge while sales of the superfluous slump. Products and services that extend product purchase dollars and lifespan are a no-brainer for consumers worried about losing income.

I was stuck in Hamilton for three months, living La Covida Loca, when the virus first hit. It felt like I was looking at Soviet-era bread lines when I could find a grocery store that was open. Empty shelves everywhere. Toilet paper sold out like this was a dysentery epidemic. The first things to go were the most affordable. The last things to go were the premium.

I hope people have been stocking up over the last months in preparation. But, then again, people can be stupid. I also hope that CPG companies have been figuring out how to deliver easier formats at easier prices than before. 

I worry that it’s not going to be the case if my walks down restaurant alleys are any indication. All this time to prepare for the second downturn and I see about 70% of restaurants doing SFA to build or maintain share while the getting is good or to begin to create new consumer habits. It is going to be annoying to have to listen to them whining about being forced to close when they have not adjusted to be ready for the new reality, blowing the opportunity of this temporary reprieve.

There is always opportunity in crisis. Opportunity to capitalize. Opportunity to stand out. Opportunity to advance. Opportunity to lead. Yesterday’s consumer bought by the bottle, Tomorrow’s consumer will buy by the box. Are you ready?

1 Comment

  • Karen

    Oh, I've been a box wine girl, both red and white, for years. I too have a nice selection sitting in my wine rack. When I want 1 or 2 glasses while preparing and eating supper or just because I head to the box wine. I never thought of stocking up on the box wine but it makes absolute sense. Thanks for the (life saving) suggestion!!

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