Tesco is this week rolling out a selection of its premium Finest wines in box format – a launch exclusively revealed by The Grocer four months ago.

Five wines, Picpoul de Pinet,  Fiano, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Swartland Chenin Blanc and Swartland Shiraz, will be sold in 1.5-litre boxes – the equivalent of two bottles (rsp: £11.99 to £14.99).

The range, which the retailer said represented a cross-section of the Finest portfolio, would appeal to existing as well as new consumers looking for more “compact and convenient” packaging, said UK & global category product development manager Laura Jewell MW.   

“It’s the first time we have used this size and we feel is perfect for our Finest brand,” she said. “The boxes keep the wine fresh for six weeks after opening and take up less space in the fridge than two bottles.”

The boxes are filled by Accolade Wines – which has a three-year supply deal with Tesco – at its Accolade Park site in Bristol, marking the first time Finest wines have been packed in the UK.

Bag-in-box is currently worth £292m and accounts for 5% of total value sales of still wine [Nielsen 52w/e 26 May 2014] and 7% of volume.

Overall volume sales of boxed wine have declined 5% in the past year, driven by falls in the three-litre format, which accounts for almost 60% of the sector. Smaller formats such as 2.25-litre are in growth.

Mintel research suggests consumer perceptions of boxed wine have changed, with two in five thinking the quality was now as good as bottled wine.