2010 saw Marks & Spencer change over its entire range of small bottles to PET. For a long time fine wines were only considered as such when bottled in 0.75 l glass containers with natural cork.
Nowadays, even connoisseurs no longer view PET bottles with plastic caps as a sign of low-quality contents. Rising environmental demands and the forecast shortage of natural cork have made the sale of wine in plastic bottles rise even further.
In Germany classic glass bottles dominate – but what is the situation like in other countries?
Unbreakable and low-weight: at some 50 grams a 0.7 l PET bottle weighs in as little as one tenth of their glass counterparts. This is why airlines around the globe love to serve wine in plastic packaging, but the sales of wine in PET bottles is also rising on the ground.
While German consumers still seem a little sceptical, other nations have already gone one step further:
Spain / South Africa::The Spanish wine-growing estate “Bodega Matarromera” is considered a pioneer in bottling premium wines in plastic bottles. In South Africa the “Welmoed Wine-Estate” is gradually replacing its tradition-rich 750 ml glass bottles by bag-in-box solutions.
United Kingdom: Supermarket giant “Marks & Spencer” has retailed all of its 0.25 l wine bottles in PET for some six years already.
USA: In the USA the 4-packs of 187 ml wine bottles are in high demand. Their packaging consists of a tasteless inside, tear-resistant middle and a printable high-gloss outer layer.
Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia: Down under just as in the North of Europe wine bags in carton boxes account for more than 50% of sales.
Pros & Cons
Opponents to plastic bottles cite higher UV radiation and oxygen migration, which affects taste and, hence, the quality of this alcoholic beverage and reduces its shelf life. According to analyses conducted by research institute Geisenheim, however, modern processes could be applied to improve internal gas-proofing thereby ensuring no impact on taste. Moreover, air-tight closures for opened packaging ensure even longer shelf life than for glass. Pros for wine from PET include recyclability, low production and transport costs, as well as a small footprint for storage. Consumers enjoy immediate benefits through the reduced material weight and the possibility of also consuming wine where glass bottles are prohibited: e.g. at concerts or festivals.
Other trends in wine
Alongside plastic bottles other packaging solutions are also becoming ever more popular. March 2017 will see over 6,000 exhibitors present striking innovations to an international audience at ProWein in Düsseldorf.
3-5 litres of wine in a bag – handily packed in a box with a handle. This type of packaging already looks back on 30 years of history. In 1955 the US chemical engineer William R. Scholle invented this bag in plastic or aluminium with a tap in a cardboard box. Wine cartons are still not exceedingly popular in Germany; but in such countries as the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand consumers increasingly take to these handy and low-cost volume packs. Pioneers are the Nordic countries with a bag-in-box share of over 50%.
Also in demand are extraordinary and appealing design packs. Winery Peter Meters even received a “red dot award” for its BREE wine line. The frosted surface of the bottle appeals primarily to women who like to touch and be inspired by the feel of the bottle when choosing wines.
Also banking on design are five young men from the German region of Palatinate. Six 0.25 l glass bottles with crown corks, presented as a six pack – with six different wines and five “patrons” who created them: Knut Fader, Thorsten Krieger, Stefan Meyer, Marius Meyer and Christian Heußler are all pictured on the bottles.
OAK FOR WINE BOTTLES
Bottles made of wood: It is well known that wine and whiskey mature in wooden casks. What’s new is that wine can now also be taken home bottled in wooden bottles. Andrea Calisi from Italy had the idea when he invented his “Pinocchio bottle”. He now exports his oak bottles to over 50 countries.