An Australian wine company is tapping new markets by selling two of its popular varieties in plastic bottles.
Adam Chapman, chief winemaker for Sirromet Wines Pty. Ltd., said the vineyard soon will market its chardonnay and cabernet merlot in 1-liter PET bottles. Sirromet, south of Brisbane, already offers those varieties in 6.3-ounce PET bottles.
Sirromet found that the small PET bottles sold well at outdoor or stadium concerts and sporting events, Chapman said.
``Liquor licensing requirements for such events prohibit glass bottles. You have people walking around in bare feet and they can easily cut themselves, so there is a workplace safety issue,'' Chapman said. ``The small bottles are also ideal for service on airlines or boats where glass containers may be prohibited.''
He said a small bottle holds the equivalent of two glasses of wine and can be packaged for sale with a PET plastic glass. The winery has no immediate plans to use plastic for its standard, 25-ounce bottles, but the 1-liter bottle will be launched soon, targeting travelers such as campers.
``It's lightweight and it's not going to break. There are huge weight savings in plastic bottles,'' Chapman said.
Those considerations are behind the market for plastic wine bottles: ``It's not a quality issue - you still get the same quality wine. It's all about practicalities,'' he said. ``They have a shelf life of about 10 months. But plastic bottles are not going to be kept. There is a quick turnover.''
Chapman said Sirromet sourced plastic bottles from Melbourne, Australia-based packaging makers Visy Industries Pty. Ltd. and Amcor Ltd.
Because the winery's own bottling line is set up to handle glass bottles, which have thicker walls than plastic bottles, Sirromet uses a specialized bottling company in Melbourne to fill them.
Chapman said Sirromet may install a dedicated bottling line for plastic bottles if demand warrants it.