Bacchus Would Be Proud

by Dennis Machicao

Now you can have the best of both worlds!!  In a recent article in Packaging Digest, a magazine for the packaging industry, it is reported that the wine industry is looking to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the weight of their wine bottles. Soon you can drink your wine knowing you are saving the environment at the same time. I’ll drink to that!!

It seems that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), one of the largest buyers of wine in the world (I thought I was), announced that wines selling for less than $15 must be in glass bottles that weigh less than 420g, 20% lighter than the current traditional wine bottle. This will start as of January 1, 2013. Why wines less than $15 I don’t know but I can only assume the sale of lower priced wines have a higher volume.

It seems that manufacturers and retailers around the world that are environmentally conscious see reducing their carbon footprint with lighter bottles will be a significant right step in maintaining the health of the environment and having an economic benefit at the same time. They feel that there will be little resistance by the consumer to the lighter bottle, rather just he opposite since the up and coming younger consumer is more conscious about environmental issues. The consumer will feel they are contributing to a greener life style and the manufacturer will have a positive marketing tool in promoting its product.

There have been other packaging changes to wine like the bag in the box with mild success. However, keeping the packaging the same, in glass, just lighter, still keeps the perception of a quality wine while changing its carbon footprint. Wine has also been bottled in plastic PVC in New Zealand, the U.S. and France with the advantages of less weight, breakage prevention, recyclability and having the same appearance of glass.  However, the bottle is smaller, not in volume, but in how it looks causing difficulty in consumer acceptance.

A company called Wine Innovations based in the UK, however, is using PVC. They created the Tulip, a single serve pre-filled wine glass with a peal-off foil lid that can be used for outdoor events and with a shelf life of 1 year. At least in a drinking glass form, volume appearance is not an issue.  A company spokesman feels with the Olympics in London this year, their company will have a gold medal year.

So if you need an excuse to drink more wine, as if you really need one, this is it. Have a glass of red or white for a greener earth.

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