Boxed Rosé — Central Otago winery, Dicey, adds to their boxed wine range as customers fall for the format
Wine growing brothers Matt and James Dicey launched their first premium boxed wine in October 2022. Putting top-notch, hand-crafted Central Otago Pinot Noir into bag-in-box format was a solution for reducing the winery’s carbon footprint.
A year on and the winery can attribute 55% of their total online wine sales to the box increasing their total web store sales by 75% on the previous year.
On the back of this success, the brothers have released a new vintage of the Pinot Noir and expanded the range by introducing the Dice by Dicey Rosé 2023 — a wine which has proven to be so successful it is all but sold out only 3 weeks after release. Dicey have intentions of adding a white wine option in 2024 and dramatically increasing production of the Rosé.
Proud advocates of this category, Dicey has also been quick to improve the packaging on this second iteration by becoming the first wine company in Australasia and the Asia Pacific region to utilise the Liquipure Ultra recycle ready film and fittings, making the inner bag recyclable as a soft plastic.
“There are a lot of clever people out there working on solutions and improvements for packaging across all categories. We’re keen to ensure that we evolve alongside the technology, so we do right by our wine, our customers and our environment.” states Matt Dicey. “You can’t wait for it be perfect, but you can work on doing it better.” he continues. “The next step is helping support better recycling access for soft plastics and that’s something we’re keen to work with other NZ businesses to improve.”
40% of the carbon that is emitted from making wine comes not from the farming or running of tractors and other farm machinery but rather the production of the glass bottle. Only 13% of that is attributed to the shipping.
The inert qualities of glass do make it the perfect receptacle for wine that is destined to be cellared. However, for the large quantities of wine that is consumed within a month or two of purchase those storage attributes of glass become redundant.
“Switching to wine in a box for the 97 percent of wines that are made to be consumed within a year would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tons, or the equivalent of retiring 400,000 cars.” — Source, The New York Times, Drink Outside the Box
Customers are not the only ones intrigued with the box. The wine industry has also been keen to learn more about it. “It’s been great to see a number of other wineries ask us how we’re doing with the box and show interest in joining us in the category. That’s a real win for everyone. The more good wine producers who offer this packaging, the quicker it will be adopted as a normal way to enjoy great wine.” says Matt.
“It’s been an interesting observation of the mindset of the consumer.” adds Morven McAuley who worked on the concept with the Dicey brothers and manages the brand’s marketing. “There have been some folk who can’t cope with the concept, feeling the box removes the romance of wine or somehow cheapens the offering. However, it wasn’t that long ago the industry made the move from cork closure to screw caps for the right reasons. Having endured similar initial market response, screw caps are accepted now, expected even. This isn’t any different. There is a compelling, important and very sound motivation for putting good wine in a box. This isn’t a gimmick. There’s a real need to open our minds to packaging alternatives.”
This sentiment is shared by some serious industry stalwarts. Master of Wine, Jancis Robinson, together with other globally revered wine writers, penned an open letter to the industry to look at packaging alternatives. Jancis is quoted as saying “the best wines I’ve tasted from BiB (bag-in-box) and cans have been of a quality I would be happy to take to the dining table” — Decanter Magazine.
Matt Dicey reiterates the quality of the wine inside the box, “The wine in the Dice has been made with the same care and focus that we give to all our wines. For the Rosé, as an example, the Pinot Noir to make this wine was sourced from a younger portion of our Inlet vineyard. At harvest it was destemmed and left to soak overnight. The grapes were pressed the following morning with the juice going to tank to settle prior to being racked to barrel for fermentation. Fermented with indigenous yeast, the wine fermented to dry and was then stirred weekly for 3 months. The wine is un-fined, but filtered so that it is vegan friendly.”
He also adds, “We feel there’s a better focus on wine consumption here too. This is not a cheap offering of wine that is to be smashed. It’s the opposite.” Dice by Dicey will offer that ability with bag-in-box wine reportedly keeping the wine vibrant far longer than a conventional glass bottle once the wine is opened.
“The wine will stay fresh when opened for three to four weeks in this format” explains Matt, “meaning you can take your time and savour it.”
Indeed, the copy on the physical box does instruct users to “kick back and enjoy slowly in moderation.”