Plastic wine bottles

I just came across this (bottle on the left) in our local supermarket here in the uk…

Wolf Blass in PET bottle

My attention was drawn by the strange colour of the bottle and the fact that it looked rather small compared to all the other wine bottles. When I picked it up I found that it was very light and had flexible sides.

Not spending much time in the UK, I had missed the news about the arrival of plastic wine bottles.

Apart from thoughts about possible affects the plastic has on the wine, I immediately thought of some major benefits this packaging has for wine…

Firstly, the weight saving is incredible. I weighed this bottle and another Wolf Blass that I had. The plastic bottle including wine came to just over 800 grams where the glass one was over 1250 grams…

Weighing the plastic bottle Weighing the glass bottle

So the savings for bulk transport, carrying from the shops, transporting in a suitcase etc are quite considerable at over 400 grams per bottle.

Having often travelled home from foreign trips with wine, I immediately appreciated the benefits plastic bottles would give in those circumstances – generally, 3 bottles of wine in a suitcase often takes me over the airline’s weight limit and even when I pack them very carefully, I’m aware that I’m risking having all my belongings soaked in wine if there is a breakage.

In terms of energy used, I would guess that the plastic bottle needs considerably less energy in manufacture. And if recycled, the environmental drawbacks of plastic should be mitigated to some extent.

It seems that there are problems with keeping the air out of the wine with plastic, so the shelf life of these bottles is fairly short – this bottle needed to be drunk within 6 months of my finding it…

Bottle expiry date

One interesting factor is that this was a Wolf Blass wine costing around £7.50 ($15, €10), so definitely out of the cheapest section of the wine market. I would guess that this is a test of the market to this type of packaging, which could be taken up by other producers if successful.

I haven’t had the chance to taste the wine yet, so I’ll have to post back when I have.

There is an informative article about this subject on WineAnorak.com

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3 Responses

  1. Plastic is undoubtedly convenient but what about the environmental impact? And how did the plastic affect the taste of the wine?

  2. I would think that when you take into account the energy needed to make the glass and transport its considerable weight, the plastic would end up having less environmental impact despite its petro-chemical ingredients. And if the plastic waste is handled intelligently (as more and more European waste is with separation and recycling schemes) the waste problem should not be so different.

    Sorry, I still have not got round to doing the tasting!

  3. But plastic is so hard to biodegrade! It’s stays around for 500 years – yet is only used once! Hey, Henry, thanks for the pictorial encouragement. The Soil Association’s new Facebook page is looking for photos so if there are any you want to share, let me know.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Soil-Association/8422578815

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