Does Big Green Box Equal Big Green Value?

There was a time last week when I had 25 bottles of wine open in the house. “What is the problem,” you ask? Well, for one I feel obligated to drink every bottle and two, not all of them are good wines. The open wines were from the Chile Blends tasting, One Hope Chardonnay, and four box wines from Don Sebastiani & Sons.

Over the last six months, I’ve had my share of boxed wines, many of them from the group that distributes the Octavin family of wines. This week, I’m cautiously optimistic to take a look at four wines from Don & Sons and their Pepperwood Grove brand. As a mouth breather and wine lover, chances are you’ve had one of the seven D&S brands, Aquinas, The Crusher, B Side, Flock, s|k|n, Smoking Loon and Pepperwood Grove.

After significant research Don & Sons concluded that consumers were hesitant to buy 3L boxes because they didn’t see a brand they liked or knew. D&S is taking a significant step by using one of their mainstream recognizable brands in the 3L box format. The four Pepperwood Grove wines are Don & Sons first boxed wine release. In my opinion the packaging, presentation and labeling are the best of what I’ve experienced in this format.

For newcomers to the “new” box wine format, a bladder inside the box deflates as the wine is consumed keeping oxygen (wine’s enemy) from deteriorating the flavor. The 3L format is equivalent to four (4) bottles of wine. A convenient spigot provides easy access. While I’ve yet to encounter a premium wine I’d enthusiastically serve, there are several mid-quality offerings available. Let’s see how the recognizable GREEN BOX wines perform.


Since each of these wines is simple, clean and in eco-friendly packaging. I’ll keep my reviews simple, clean and I’ll save some words too.

Pepperwood Grove Pinot Grigio

Tweets from the machine:

 nectarwine: Pretty mild nose and flavor, lacks significant acidity but has a nice mineral and gentle lemon finish #biggreenbox #donandsons

mmWine2: The Pepperwood Grove Pinot Grigio in a box is a nice, easy drinking wine. A sipper, unassuming #biggreenbox

oenoblog: #biggreenbox Pepperwood Grove Pinot Grigio: Would really like some more acid, brightness from this wine, not remarkable, seems mass produced

The un-oaked Pinot Grigio comes across as an oaked wine to me. The wine was round, slightly flabby and offered subtle hints of pear and lemon water flavors. The acidity was weak and the finish was a quick flash. 13%ABV – certainly no offensive flavors but very simple in presentation. Quite a few people will enjoy this wine. It’s simple to drink and will probably go fast at a party. $20 retail for 3L ($5 per bottle); 3-/5

Pepperwood Grove Chardonnay

Tweets from the machine:

nectarwine: So far it’s like listening to someone playing one vuvuzela – novelty wears off and sounds thin #biggreenbox #donandsons

swirlsipsnark: This isn’tmy style of chard – prefer a crisp, stainless option, but can see this working for a wide array of folks #biggreenbox #donandsons

beausbarrelroom: #biggreenbox Chard – good balance of acidity and lush texture, notes of buttercream, green apple on the palate. Great crowd-pleaser!

Very yellow and thick in the glass, like a pale banana. Strong aroma of toasted apples and vanilla. The mouth feel is big and flabby. The six months on oak staves comes across. I would envision quite a bit of malolactic fermentation as well. The acidity is mild leaving the flavor lingering in your mouth. For those that prefer crisp Chardonnay, this will not be your wine. If you enjoy Chardonnay for the thick easy drinking apple flavors, you may want to give it a try. $20 retail for 3L; 3-/5

Pepperwood Grove Old Vine Zinfandel

Tweets from the machine:

nectarwine: So, here we go – at $5 this is a killer value. Good flavor, good finish, good acid – this is a winner #biggreenbox #donandsons

pencilarms: #biggreenbox. Just tasted the zin. Lovely. Nice acidity and balance where is it sourced from? What makes it “old”

JohnOnWine: I was happy to taste this Zin; tired of high sugar, alc heat, fruit and pepper bombs. No more blown palate. #biggreenbox #donandsons

Light burgundy in color and very translucent, can see to the bottom of the glass. At only 13.5%ABV (refreshing for a California Zinfandel), this is on the very low side of alcohol for Zins. Good aromas of blueberry, subtle strawberry, tobacco spice and more. It’s all mellow, but it’s there. The palate is very nice as well with flavors of plums, strawberries and mild pepper. The acidity is well balanced and the finish is lovely. Definitely the bargain find of the four wines tasted. While not complex, there are good flavors in this wine. 3/5

Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon

Tweets from the machine:

nectarwine: On to the Cabernet – sour sour sour berry with cloves on the nose… #biggreenbox #donandsons

swirlsipsnark: I’m getting a fair bit of cherry/berry flavor on the cab, but not the darker fruits I expected #biggreenbox #donandsons

beausbarrelroom: #biggreenbox #donandsons Cab – Interesting on the palate, lots of green/herbs, chewy earth, firm tannins, surprisingly good finish, yum!

The wine is sourced from Valle Central (Chile) fruit and weighs in at 13.5%ABV. I get a lot of sour red fruit and raw meat with hints of clove on the nose. Other participants enjoyed the aroma, but for me it was a little off putting. In the mouth the wine felt disjointed and out of balance. With green peppers, sour cherries and medium tannin, the flavor profile was not one that I enjoyed. From the comments on the machine, it looked like the participants were split. 3-/5

Other Reviews, Insights and Final Thoughts

Suburban Wino

Spirit of Wine

mmWine2: Really nice budget offerings from pepperwood grove – nothing i’d be ashamed to serve :) #biggreenbox #donandsons

nectarwine: Love the packaging, the branding and the direction you’re headed. Zin rocked, Pinot will sell well #biggreenbox – looking fwd to future

donnysebas: RT @beausbarrelroom: #biggreenbox the wines were better than anticipated, I like those kinds of surprises! #donandsons brings life to the box wine market segment

Don’t try this party trick with 16 bottles :)


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

5 comments on “Does Big Green Box Equal Big Green Value?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Does Big Green Box Equal Big Green Value? | Nectar Tasting Room and Wine Blog --

  2. The Sediment Blog

    But which tastes better – a bottle of good wine which is left open, or a box of poorer wine which does not deteriorate?

    1. drinknectar

      Ahh, that is a very good question. In this case there was one stand out that worthy of buying

  3. shirl

    I enjoy the pinot grigio but purchaced it in ME. And now that Iam in FL. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND IT. ANY IDEAS AS TO WHERE I might be able to find here?


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