Downward Dog Wines Perks Up Boxed Wine Market with Clean Quality

Betsy Hendershot, founder of Oklahoma’s Downward Dog Wines, wanted to stay true to her passion for sustainability, but she also wanted a box wine at a reasonable price point that had the quality she expected.

A fan of simple, drinkable wines, Betsy saw a gap in not only affordable box wine that delivered on taste, but also on alternative packaging for box wines.

Betsy has worked for six years with her husband’s company, Boardwalk Distributing, the largest locally owned statewide liquor distributor. She saw a need.

“About two years ago, I got serious about starting my own wine business. The availability of good wines in the box wine industry at a good price point was pretty slim. The quality of the wine was not what I thought it could be.”

After researching where to source the best possible grapes, Betsy began working with a winery and wine master from the Columbia Valley in Washington. The single-source winery made sense to her.

“I’m not a wine specialist,” she says. “Wine is just something I enjoy. I wanted to be able to taste wine and deliver something that I would drink. I wanted more of a luxurious taste than the other box wines offered.”

Today, Downward Dog Wine offers seven varieties: chardonnay, a red blend, a white blend, cabernet savignon, merlot, rosé and riesling.

“I wanted the chardonnay to taste like chardonnay and the cabernet to taste like a cabernet,” she says. “I wanted to offer something that your everyday person could enjoy.”

The sustainability of box wine was also important to Betsy, as was the simple, clean design of the packaging and logo. Although glass is recyclable, it’s also energy-intensive to produce. Wine boxes hold the equivalent of four bottles of wine at about half the space as well.

“We have a large family, and we do a lot of entertaining. I would see all these bottles stack up, and it didn’t make sense to me to not offer something that was more environmentally friendly,” she says. “For me, the simplicity of the box and the design of the Downward Dog logo reflect the simplicity of what you should have in wine. It’s fun and accessible for everyone.”

Downward Dog Wines are available throughout the state or at DownwardDogWine.com.

The Wines

Red Blend

Balanced and playful – Ripe blackberry and plum, complex, with loads of texture and a medium to full body.

Rosé

Fun and flexible – Fresh and juicy strawberries, with bright watermelon notes.

White Blend

Light and focused – Meadow flowers, honeysuckle and bright lemon.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Full and fearless – Full-bodied and rich, with broad shoulders and bold, brambly fruit.

Chardonnay

Toasty and toned – Crowd-pleaser chardonnay, lightly toasted, with subtle vanilla and zippy acidity.

Merlot

Smooth and centered – Blueberry jam, velvety texture, with medium body.

Riesling

Sweet and sensible – Perfectly sweet, refreshing acidity, floral notes and a touch of honey.

Downward Dog Frosé

Ingredients

Yield: 4-6 servings

25 ounces Downward Dog Rosé

1/4 cup Coppermuse Strawberry Vodka

8 ounces strawberries, trimmed, hulled and quartered

1/2 cup simple syrup

5 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Pour rosé into a pan and freeze until almost solid, about 6 hours. It won’t completely freeze because of the alcohol.

Once the rosé is frozen, add it to the blender with vodka, lemon juice and strawberries. Add simple syrup.

Blend all ingredients together and serve! Use mint or a decorative bloom for a garnish.