Up until a few years ago, most wine drinkers looked askance at anything other than glass bottles. And then Union Wine Co.’s canned wine Underwood took off. As the Portland Business Journal put it, “It wasn’t the first brand to embrace metal, but Underwood’s growth has turned canned wine into a bona fide new category for the entire industry.”
Once the canned wine seal was broken, there was no going back. Today, many producers offer canned products. And the packaging innovation hasn’t stopped there.
While glass is still the dominant packaging for wine, many winemakers are starting to explore alternatives. The reason is that glass is heavy, which makes it expensive to ship and gives it a hefty environmental footprint related to transportation. As wine drinkers become more aware of and concerned about sustainability, they’re also becoming more willing to accept alternative packaging formats that reduce environmental impact.
Here are a few of the new wine packaging formats on the market.
Aluminum water bottles have started to take off as an alternative to plastic, and some innovative wineries have adopted this format as well.
- In August 2020, Limerick Lane Cellars launched Revelshine, a line of white, rosé, red wines packaged in aluminum bottles. “Designed to be taken off the beaten path,” these wines are aimed at the outdoor crowd, like hikers, who don’t want to carry glass on their treks.
- Chateau Ste. Michelle, which helped put Washington State wines on the map, recently launched a selection of whites, rosés, and bubbles in single-serve aluminum bottles.
The “Frugal bottle,” by UK company Frugalpac is also starting to make waves. This unique bottle is made of 94% recycled paperboard around a food grade liner, similar to the bag inside boxed wine. It’s up to five times lighter than a typical glass bottle and, according to the company, has a carbon footprint up to six times lower.
- Cantina Goccia is the first winery to use the Frugal bottle, for its 3Q Sangiovese.
Tetra Pak cartons
Boxed wine is growing up. Not only has it lost its reputation as being of lesser quality than bottled wine, but the 3-liter bag-in-box is no longer the only format available. Several wineries are now using Tetra Pak technology for easy-to-transport, eco-friendly containers.
- Bandit Wines has a line of wines in 1-liter carton, which, like Revelshine, are marketed to the outdoor crowd.
- BeatBox Beverages sells wine punches in 500-ml cartons.
Wine meets Capri Sun…need we say more?
- High Key Wine makes single-serve pouches of white and rosé.
Will any of these replace glass entirely? Probably not. But as the wine market grows, as it has during the pandemic, we expect more producers will start looking at alternative packaging models. That could be good for companies, good for consumers, and good for the environment!
Need solutions to convey and accumulate challenging products? That’s our specialty! Contact us to learn how we can help you grow your business.