Moving to Tennessee from Oregon has brought prohibition to the forefront of my consciousness. Every state has its own weird alcohol rules.

In Oregon, the state-controlled liquor stores have standardized pricing, the list of accepted liquors requires lobbying the OLCC (which is why you can't get good Kirschwasser in Oregon), some types of beer may be sold one place, but not another.

Utah has a "membership" thing happening. If you do not have a membership to an alcohol-serving establishment, you may not enter and buy booze. However, if someone sponsors you, you can get in for free. This means that pretty blonde girls don't pay, but the rest of us have to.

You can avoid the membership thing if you go to a restaurant that serves beer, but wait! SOME sections of certain restaurants have membership fees. I also noticed that, as a girl, my serving seemed consistently smaller than my male counterparts. Must be because women metabolize alcohol slower than men. Ok, not when you control for differing amounts of water in the body, but for our purposes, women are slower.

My trip to Charleston revealed a culture where every drink comes in a tiny little bottle. Bars have rows and rows of airplane bottles. I was told this is so they can track the drink taxes. It made my classical liberal hackles rise. Prohibition AND taxes. Stranger still was closing time: police officers shoed us out the door and made certain we didn't wander off with a drink.

Tennessee is topsy-turvey. Two different organizations oversee two types of the sauce. Wine and liquor may be purchased at a liquor store, but not on Sunday, never on Sunday. I guess when Christ turned water to wine, it wasn't on the Holy Day. Beer, on the other hand is available at grocery stores, but if you wanted to have it at a liquor store, well then I guess you'd have to build a separate store next door. Worse, you may not ship alcohol to or from the volunteer state. Well actually, will ship here, but will not. JD must have figured out a way around this.

Indeed, buying wine in Nashville has proven to be a challenge. I used to buy it by the case from a wholesaler in Portland on Sundays. ($60 bottles for $20)

It took me 2.5 months to find myself at the right kind of store on the right sort of day with wine on the brain.

Following a tip from a friend, I decided to try a wine called Black Box. For $20, you get the equivalent of four bottles. This is approaching Trader Joes prices and since we don't have Aldi's popular grocery chain here (probably because they'd have to build a separate TJ's wine shop), I gave it a shot. Here's is what I discovered:


  • It is more entertaining to open a box of wine than a bottle
  • It is more entertaining to get your wine into your glass with a spigot
  • It tastes OK
  • Seeing the box in my fridge reminds me of when I was a kid and we were really poor
  • $5 per bottle...


  • It is a challenge to keep the wine in the glass when you pour from a spigot because it comes out so quickly
  • The wine does not breathe in a bag (try a decanter)
  • Come to think of it, the charm of opening a box will wear off and I'll miss the ritual of the wine bottle
  • It "feels" so cheap
  • With one box equal to 4 bottles, it is tempting to drink too much because you never run out of wine

All in all, we are happy with the Black Box as long as it stays in the basement fridge where we can't get at it as easily.

Other helpful comments on Black Box Wines:
The Boxed Wine Spot
Looks like they are marketing their product, or??
See Sip Taste Hear
Interesting take on boxed Sauce.