The Grapevine

Sustainable Wine Packaging

April 1st, 2013

With Fetzer’s recent announcement that they are expanding their single-serve PET-packaged wines, this seems a good time to revisit the sustainable packaging question.

Glass bottles, being the heaviest of the options, do have the biggest eco-footprint when all factors are considered, but it’s really the transportation costs that kill them. On all other scores, they stack up (ahem) quite well. [level-members]

  • Renewable
  • Recyclable
  • Reusable
  • Biodegradable empty-wine-bottles-300x234Boxes and barrels fare well, too, though bags without boxes are the best option at this point, at least in terms of environmental impact.

There are also those who claim that PET plastic is a better alternative to glass or aluminum, though given the negative news surrounding BPA over the past few years, as well as warnings against other plastics, I’m not sure I’m eager to store any wine I’m not opening this week in anything other than glass. 

In fact, there’s evidence that wine in PET begins to deteriorate in 12 months or less.

“PET is fine for wine you plan to use under 12 months, but not for wines that are designed to improve in the bottle,” Portavin’s Managing Director Ian Matthews tells Reuters. “It’s highly unlikely plastic will ever take over from glass because the PET format doesn’t suit every style of wine.”

Has sustainability in packaging become an issue in your shop? Or are customers open to alternative packaging for other reasons – convenience, longer shelf life once open, etc.? I’m interested to hear how this issue compares to the cork vs. screw cap debate that continues to simmer. [/level-members]