Re-shaping the future of wine

June 20, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

These eco-bottles made entirely from Australian-sourced 100 per cent recycled PET plastic are helping to reshape the carbon footprint of wine by targeting the industry’s environmental hotspot: glass bottles.

Sustainable packaging business Packamama has partnered with Accolade Wines and Taylors Wines, producing eco-bottles of Banrock Station wines and Taylors’ One Small Step range which will be sold exclusively through select Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market stores nationally from this month. 

It is the Australian market debut of the eco-bottles which are completely recyclable (aside from the bottle top), lighter, shatterproof and portable.

Packamama’s innovative eco-bottle shares the classic high-shouldered silhouette of a traditional ‘Bordeaux’ wine bottle. But when turned to the side, it reveals a slimmer, flatter profile that allows twice as many bottles to fit in a standard wine case – making it more efficient to transport. Using recycled PET also saves weight and with the bottles being 83 per cent lighter, emissions in transport are reduced as well as the energy in production and recycling to further tackle greenhouse gas emissions. 

The freight-friendly bottle has the potential to significantly reduce the road transport burden and emissions for wine in Australia. 

Were both Accolade Wines and Taylors Wines to switch entirely to eco-bottles, it would cut 250,000 kms of road freight a year or the equivalent of a semi-trailer travelling from Melbourne to Broome 50 times.

“Australia is globally recognised as a leader in wine packaging thanks to break-through innovations, including bag-in-box casks and screw-top caps for wines,”said Packamama founder and CEO, Santiago Navarro.

He told Drinks Trade that the 100 per cent recycled PET bottle is “especially chosen to protect the wine it contains, not just to be far lower carbon footprint than glass. It is foodsafe, stable and inert, meaning it does not react with the wine and has no impact on the taste of the wine”.

When it comes to the lifespan of the wines they hold, Mr Navarro said: “The wines which are offered in our bottles are meant to be enjoyed young and shortly after purchase rather than to be cellared. PET offers only a moderate barrier to oxygen meaning there’s a certain level of oxygen ingress over time.”

To extend the life of the wine in the eco-bottle, the bottles include an active oxygen scavenging and passive barrier technology giving the wine a shelf-life of between 19-21 months, he said.

“This provides more than enough time to enjoy the wine and more than enough protection for everyday drinking wines, the vast majority of wines consumed and about 85 per cent of wine’s global volume,” said Mr Navarro.

The eco-bottles have been trialed in the UK and in Europe for some years now and Mr Navarro says that they have not encountered any problems or backlash in using plastic containers.

He says, “The unique shape of the bottles is so engaging and tactile that it’s the first thing wine drinkers notice and interact with, such as slipping it into a jacket or jeans pocket or putting it into a bag. This then becomes the focus of their attention, and the material becomes a secondary aspect.

“There is a strong benefit that our bottles are still a bottle shape, inspired by traditional designs, but different enough to stand out from other bottles and appealing enough to drive significant online user-generated content [on social media]. This means there’s typically a lower barrier to overcome compared to alternative formats like can, carton, or pouch.”

Mia Lloyd, Coles Liquor Acting General Manager Customer, Trade Planning & Insights said it was exciting to be at the leading edge of packaging innovation with the eco-bottle.

“We know our customers want us to do more in relation to sustainability and this exclusive collaboration with Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market, Packamama, Taylors Wines and Accolade Wines significantly reduces the carbon footprint of wine for customers every day. The lightweight and flatter eco-bottle also gives our customers a convenient new option when they’re packing for that camping or caravan holiday”, Ms Lloyd said.

Accolade Wines launched the eco-flat bottle two years ago in Europe.

“In the last 18 months alone, we have launched a variety of sustainable and innovative packaging solutions including wine in cans, wine on tap, bagnums, as well as a world-first circular, sustainable packaging solution for on-premise partners,” said Sandy Mayo, Accolade Wines’ Global Chief Marketing Officer.

“We chose Banrock Station to launch the eco bottle in Australia, because the environmental credentials fit perfectly with the brand’s 25 year sustainability heritage and its commitment to forging a more sustainable future for the planet. By purchasing Banrock Station wine, wine-lovers can rest assured that they are doing something positive for the environment while enjoying delicious, sustainably-made wine from South Australia,” Ms Mayo said.

The potential for the eco wine bottle to improve the carbon footprint for winemaking is important for Taylors Wines particularly given that viticulture is one of the most climate-sensitive agricultural businesses.

But it’s not just the environmental credentials of this bottle that set it apart – the lighter, unbreakable recycled PET plastic bottle is much more convenient for picnics or popping in the esky on holiday.

Winemaker and Managing Director, Mitchell Taylor said the eco-bottle delivered a more sustainable bottle for consumers and provided another way for wineries to improve their carbon footprint.

“We know that Australian wine drinkers are very open to innovation when it provides real benefits, like this sustainable eco-bottle does,” Mr Taylor said.

“Australia led the global change from cork to screwcap and Taylors was the first major producer to bottle all our wines under the closure. We believe Australians will again lead in adopting this more sustainable bottle.”

Banrock Station Eco-bottle Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, $16 a bottle Taylors One Small Step Eco-bottle Chardonnay and Shiraz, $16 a bottle

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