Reusing a Box Wine Bladder


Boxed wine or Bag in a Box (BiB) wine bladders are something we reuse. In our case it is to refill them with our homemade wine, but we see online that people use them for other liquids also. Most of our boxes come from friends and neighbors who have enjoyed consuming the contents. The bladder is easily removed through hole where the valve protrudes.


There are only two parts, the plastic bag or bladder and the valve. There are several types of valves but they are all a compression fit into base in our experience. I’ve used a twist valve style for this post but the push valve style can be removed the same way.


The tools I use to remove the valve. You have to be very careful because they are sharp and can cut you if they slip. Wearing gloves while learning the technique is strongly advised.

putty knife

I begin by using a putty knife, inserting it between the valve and the base, then using a twisting motion the to open a small gap between the valve and base, then moving around the base . It takes very little effort to insert the blade. I grip the blade very close to valve and apply the twisting motion. I ruined a few bladders and valves when I was first learning that it is moving a round the base and repeating the twisting motion that opens the gap, not exerting a great deal of force in any on spot. Think, insert, twist, move a little further around the base, twist again.


Once a small gap is opened around the base and valve, I take a large bladed screwdriver and with a gentle twist open a larger gap that pops the valve out to the first rib. Usually I have to work my way around the base just as with the putty knife. Don’t try to “pop” it all at once, just work around the base and it will slowly start to separate.


Once it is popped out to the first rib I use a rocking motion with my hands to work the valve the rest of the way out of the base. Then it time to clean the bladder to prepare it for reuse. I use a special cleaner that is sold for cleaning wine making equipment which seems to do a very good job. I’ve been able to reuse bladders two or three times so far. Maybe some day I will post about my winemaking, but don’t hold your breath as we should begin traveling once again in the next two or three weeks.


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