Welcome to Alternative Wine Packaging, a resource of information and links to more about the exploding innovation and creativity in wine packaging beyond the traditional glass bottle with a natural cork stopper. Benefits are:

  • Convenience: alternative wine packaging makes enjoying wine convenient for all occasions and situations, such as when you want just a single glass, or wine at the beach or backpacking in the mountains.
  • Environmental: traditional glass bottles with natural cork stoppers have withstood the test of time. But for most wine endurance is not necessary, immediate enjoyment is, and glass is heavy while cork difficult to recycle. Alternative wine packaging is often lighter, just as recyclable, and creates ecological savings in its production and packaging.
  • Appropriate: glass is strong, but it does break, and with sharp consequences. Alternative wine packaging eliminates the hazards of glass where it isn’t appropriate, such as around pools, sand, and excited crowds.

The goal one day is to eliminate the adjective “alternative” from being necessary to describe innovative wine packaging, and just enjoy wine!

Single-Serves Promotes Convenience and Moderation

One of the biggest challenges of traditional glass bottle and cork stopper packaging is its inconvenience; it requires a tool to open a cork-closed bottle, glass is heavy to haul around to a beach, picnic, or on a hike, and typically there are four to six glass servings, depending on the amount poured. When it is just you, or the two of you, that means left-over wine typically, especially if the occasion is casual and moderation expected.

Half bottles (375 ml) were always promoted as a solution to making the serving size more convenient. But they still take a corkscrew to open, and they again were glass. As 187-ml plastic (PET) bottles closed with screw caps have become more popular and widespread, those two issues have been mostly addressed.

Wine for One by Steelhead VineayrdsSteelhead Vineyards has launched an idea that Tincknell & Tincknell proposed to EnVino / Merrill Packaging during a round-table discussion in December 2009 on promoting plastic PET bottles. The concept is to provide a small glass as part of the package that the consumer purchases, making it appropriate to buy and then drink as wine would be served.

Branded as “Wine for One,” a sleek small narrow glass covers the top of the 375-ml’s neck and screw cap upside down on the bottle. This package also provides convenience and moderation while maintaining traditional form and serving factors.

Wine Bottle and Glass in One Package

Steelhead Vineyards in Sonoma, Calif., announced it had teamed with W1NE for One to bottle wine in a new container that combines a 187 ml bottle and glass into one package. The plastic glass is attached to a screwcap bottle closure. Consumers open the bottle and then pour the wine into the glass. Steelhead Vineyards is a partnership between former professional baseball player Joe Morgan and vintner Dan Leese, who, according to a press release, want to use the new package to serve fine wine in casual settings such as a ballpark.

The flexible wine pouch also solves those issues of convenience and fragility. But alternative packaging also addresses serving size and moderation. A 187-ml bottle is 6.3 oz. of wine, a pretty full glass. A typical glass of wine is between 4-6 oz. Drink two 187-ml servings and you’ve downed a full half bottle of wine. However, two OneGlass pouches at 4 oz. each is a bit less, allowing for some moderation while enjoying wine over an extended period.

oneglass Cabernet Sauvignon

Shanken News Daily, August 28, 2013:

Riondo USA is also innovating with OneGlass, a new single-serve wine brand in a pouch. OneGlass is rolling out this month in 30 states, with national coverage slated for next year. Priced at $2.99 a 4-ounce package, OneGlass is initially available in four different varieties—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Sangria. Riondo plans to extend the line with a Chardonnay and a chocolate wine next year.

New Form Factor Provides Familiarity

An article on The Drinks Report website debuted another new form factor to an “old” alternative wine packaging format, the bag-in-box. The article announced the launch in the U.K. of a wine by Kingsland Wines of the Thirsty Earth brand in a “paper wine bottle” that essentially was a bag inside a cardboard package shaped like the traditional glass wine bottle. The article noted:

The GreenBottle for wine consists of a fully recyclable or compostable paper casing. The same shape as a standard wine bottle, it contains a plastic neck piece and foiled plastic liner, comparable to those used in bag-in-box wines, a format that consumers – especially those in the Nordic countries – are familiar with.

Such innovation clearly aims to interest new wine drinkers to alternative wine packaging, showcasing the benefits, yet retain traditional packaging cues that might help consumers unfamiliar with alternative wine packaging make the leap to a purchase. While the cost savings may not be as pronounced at the 750-ml volume, the other benefits of bag-in-box packaging such as lighter weight and fresher wine after opening remain.

Creating form factors that help wine drinkers associate quality wine in alternative wine packaging is vital to creating broader consumer demand. Just as skeuomorphic graphical elements helped users learn how to use their increasingly powerful smartphones, alternative wine packaging shaped like traditional bottles, wine labels, wine glasses, and barrels help wine drinkers understand the new packaging through the visual cues.

The Thirsty Earth brand in the GreenBottle package is being rolled out in the U.S. on July 4. Read the full article on The Drinks Report:

Thirsty Earth launches in paper wine bottles

Convenience Comes In A Can

There are two industries that thrive only when they can realize cost savings by providing more convenience to customers: the airline and cruise line industries. Reducing weight, maximizing storage, and providing luxury amenities all benefit their bottom lines. Which makes it a mystery all the more that the air and cruise line industries don’t demand high quality wines in alternative packaging. Hopefully, with growing awareness by both industry buyers and the wine industry of alternative wine packaging the two travel industries will begin doing so.

Spirit Airlines, based in Florida, has announced it will begin serving wine packed in a single-serve aluminum can. As noted in the announcement:

“Spirit likes the cans because they are easier to stack and store on airplanes with limited storage space. They also weigh less and airlines are obsessed with making their planes lighter to save on fuel.

“This is the latest cost-saving move from the Miramar, Fla., airline, which charges $3 for a drink of water and $35 to place a bag in the overhead bin.”

Friends Fun WineThe wine is made by Friends Fun Wine, also based in Florida. The wine will be low alcohol (6%), and is targeted towards the casual, sweet, flavored wine drinkers with selections like White Moscato and Strawberry Moscato.

Air and cruise lines could save even more, and provide more mainstream and higher quality wines with other alternative packaging, such as bag-in-boxes, rigid pouches, flexible single-serve pouches, plastic single-serve cups (like Copa di Vino), and plastic PET bottles. All cut down on weight, provide more convenience and ease in serving, and – like the can – offer varying price points, wines, and qualities, from value/economy to super-premium priced wines.

Read the full article on The Press Democrat:

Spirit Airlines starts serving wine in cans