One of France's oldest winemakers, La Maison Joseph Mellot, has switched from glass to PET bottles for the Destinea brand of dry white wine exported to northern Europe.
Sancerre, France-based Joseph Mellot has produced the Sauvignon blanc in the Loire region's Sancerre township for 500 years, and the brand has become the best-selling wine of its type in countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway.
Frederic Jacquet, chief of Joseph Mellot's wine cellar, said the new 25.4-ounce PET bottle's introduction is part of an effort to help the environment. At 54 grams (1.9 ounces), it is 10 times lighter than the classic wine bottle and reduces the company's carbon-dioxide emissions by 68 percent, he said.
But economy of scale is another factor. About 8,700 more of the smaller PET bottles fit on the company's trucks than their bulkier glass counterparts, according to Jacquet.
Although other French winemakers already export Bordeaux and Beaujolais wines in PET, the wine industry has not yet dared to use PET bottles in France, said an article in the provincial daily newspaper Ouest-France.
It would be too risky in a country with such a strong viticultural tradition, the article stated.