Our favorite was also the cheapest.
Credit: Annie Campbell

Hi, my name is Corey and I love boxed wine—and I will no longer be shamed for it.

Yes, I know I’m not in college anymore. And, yes, I know that many people consider drinking wine from a box one step above drinking it from a paper bag under a highway overpass. But you know what? I don’t have room in my life for that kind of negativity.

Boxed wine is good for the environment, lasts way longer than its bottled counterparts, and most importantly, it’s cheap. So spare me your condescension, Mrs. Moneybags.

But just because I’m on a budget doesn’t mean I want to drink bad wine. I’m on a mission to find the best boxes on grocery store shelves, and I’m dragging my coworkers along for the ride, making them taste along with me.

We chose boxes of pinot grigio because it's light, it’s breezy, and it was available. Here’s how our friends at Food & Wine define the perfect pinot grigio: “Italian Pinots (and others modeled on them) tend to be light, simple wines with suggestions of peach and melon. These crisp, fresh whites are ideal as an aperitif or with light seafood or chicken breast dishes.”

Sounds pretty springy to me!

I went to three stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Target) and purchased every boxed pinot grigio I could find. Each box was under $20 and contained the equivalent of four regular-sized bottles of wine.

My coworkers and I carefully tasted each one to find out which was the absolute best. Here’s what happened:

Honorable Mention: Bota Box Pinot Grigio

Price: $16.99 ($4.25 per bottle)

bota box pg
Credit: Target


One tester perfectly summed up this wine: “It’s light, crisp, balanced, and super drinkable.”

We liked how it was sweet, but not cloying. It was unexpectedly buttery and slightly salty, and that’s not a bad thing.

For Drinkers Looking for a Laid-Back Sipper: Target Wine Cube Pinot Grigio

Price: $17.99 ($4.50 per bottle)

target pg
Credit: Target


Mild, mild, mild—but still kinda good? It was definitely watery, which was weird, but we did appreciate the citrusy flavor.

For Drinkers With a Sweet Tooth: Barefoot Pinot Grigio

Price: $17.99 ($4.50 per bottle)

barefoot pg
Credit: Target


There’s no denying that this is extremely sweet. If that’s what you’re into, you’ll probably really enjoy this wine. Most of us were reminded of our college days.

“Brings back bad memories,” said one tester. “No thanks.”

For Drinkers Without a Sweet Tooth: Black Box Pinot Grigio

Price: $19.99 ($5 per bottle)

black box pg
Credit: Target


This is the anti-Barefoot. It lacked sweetness of any kind, which we all found kind of unpleasant. Most of us were shocked, because we’d only had good experiences with Black Box in the past. But, hey, we can’t all be winners.

Best All-Around: Trader Joe’s Block Pinot Grigio

Price: $12.99 ($3.25 per bottle)

trader joes pg
Credit: Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s, you never disappoint. The cheapest of the bunch was also our runaway favorite. Our testers called this the “perfect picnic wine” and “super flavorful, but still inoffensive.”

We definitely tasted melon here and thoroughly enjoyed it.