Posted on | October 5, 2012
Written by | W.R. Tish
DFV’s Bota Box Leads the Booming Genre.
Aside from screwtops, no other category has more profoundly changed the U.S. wine landscape in recent memory than 3L bag-in-box wines. As surely and steadily as table wine consumption has risen, 3L boxes have grown even faster. Shops of all sizes and orientations continue to make room for these square but-hip packages, and leading the way is DFV Wines’ Bota Box.
The factors driving box wine’s success are well established: economical scale compared to 750mls, superior convenience for home use, freshness extended over weeks not days, and a gentler environmental impact. But what has continued to set Bota Box apart is the quality inside the smart packaging.
Senior Portfolio Manager Mark Koppen, who also oversees DFV’s Twisted and Domino brands (both in bottle), explains that the Bota Box advantage derives from the family-owned firm’s 85-plus years as a grower and supplier of wine for other California labels. Bota Box was born in Lodi—the Indelicato family’s “home territory”—using quality juice that previously had gone to external clients. And as Delicato morphed into DFV and grew its bag-in-box line, they were able to keep moving more wine to Bota Box.
Vintage-dated and anchored by varietals, Bota Box was instrumental in easing America’s bag-in-box stigma. As Koppen sees it, Bota Box led people to distinguish between two tiers of box wine—one cheaper and generic, the other premium. “Obviously the price point has helped people differentiate between these tiers, but once they taste a premium brand like Bota,” says Koppen, “the comparison then becomes between Bota and other wines they may have had in a bottle.”
Extending & Improving
Introduced back in 2003, Bota Box is arguably the senior statesman of the $18-and-up 3L category—and has drawn plenty of imitators, from California and beyond. But Bota Box has maintained its leadership by not standing pat. Evolving in synch with American tastes, the line has grown to include 10 types. Pinot Grigio is the best seller, followed by Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other varietal wines include Merlot, Shiraz, Old Vine Zinfandel, Malbec and Riesling; plus the newest additions, wildly popular Moscato and a jammy blend called RedVolution.
The package itself has also evolved. The proprietary FlexTap’s drip resistance and ability to lock out air have become key selling points. A handle was added to the box in 2010, making it even more portable and easier to tip forward when pouring. The current box also reinforces the brand’s green messaging. The more natural look is not only 100% recyclable, but also the box is made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper, bonded with corn starch instead of glue, and all inks used are VOCfree. Adding even more eco-friendly resonance, DFV’s ongoing partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation has replanted over 100,000 trees across the country.
Meet the New Bota
Most recently—and clearly a testament to the strength of the brand name—Bota Box has spun off a completely new, yet complementary, 500ml package. The Bota mini, so to speak, essentially turns the box concept inside-out, offering a new twist on the themes of convenience, value and sustainability. Besides appealing to an active, modern lifestyle, the go-anywhere package has fantastic price appeal. As Koppen puts it, “It’s a five dollar bill, and the perfect size.”
The 500ml line launched in 2011 with four varietals—Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot—and already DFV has extended the line to include Old Vine Zin and Moscato. Sales of the 500ml Tetra Paks are expected to hit 250,000 six-liter cases in 2012. It appears that Bota Box has not only earned its tagline—“the original environmentally friendly premium 3.0L wine box”—but also has proven that good things come in small Bota is now available in a handy, portable size. packages, too.