If you’ve bought a big box for a party, you have to plan accordingly.

La Vieille Ferme Rose Wine
Credit: Courtesy of La Vieille Ferme

So you’ve bought a 3-liter box of wine. Now what? Put it in the fridge, of course. But that’s not the end of the story. A typical bottle of wine is 75 ml, so a 3-liter box contains four bottles worth. That means that the box you’ve brought home for your party requires a lot more time to cool down than your average bottle of wine.

A regular bottle of white wine takes up to two hours in the fridge and about 45 minutes in the freezer to reach the optimal temperature of 45 degrees. (Unless you wrap the bottle in a wet towel and stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes—a truly great hack!) Because it's four times the size of a regular bottle, a 3-liter box of wine, on the other hand, will take at least a few hours to come to the right temperature, Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle notes.

So plan ahead and leave at least three hours of chilling time before you’re ready to open the box.

When the wine has cooled down enough to drink with abandon (which is the only way that you should be consuming boxed wine), you’ll be happy you waited for it to chill. See here for a list of 11 boxed wines (plus bonus options) that are worth your full attention.

If you’re throwing an outdoor party and don’t have a refrigerator nearby, you can remove the bag from within the box, and gently place it in a bucket of ice water, Isle suggests. Just be very careful that the ice doesn’t puncture the bag!

If it all of a sudden feels like your carefree purchase requires more attention and time than you thought you were going to have to devote to it, remember this: The box will last in the fridge for at least three weeks, while a regular bottle of wine lasts only four to five days. Whether or not it actually lasts that long is, of course, up to you.