A joint venture between a plastic bottle maker and a packaging thermoformer is making an aggressive push to penetrate the wine industry with plastics.
Officials of Burlingame, Calif.-based EnVino Inc. are pushing sustainability themes namely issues of energy consumption, recyclability and shipping and storage efficiencies in marketing their products.
The bottles come in three sizes: 187 milliliter, the industry-standard 750 milliliter, and 1 liter. Clear bottles are for white wines; green-hued bottles are for reds.
We're aggressively marketing the 1-liter bottles, Amy Hauser, EnVino's director of marketing, said in an Aug. 12 telephone interview. It's larger than the traditional 750 milliliter, but because the 1-liter bottle is thinner and lighter, it takes up the same shelf space. So, you can sell more wine in the same amount of space.
Fuel costs and emission reductions are realized during shipping due to decreased container weight. Water consumption also is a critical differentiator, Hauser said. While it takes about 3 gallons of water to make a glass wine bottle, it only take a half gallon of water to make an EnVino bottle, she said.
They're recyclable, lightweight, and shatterproof, she said.
The PET bottles are injection blow molded at a 60,000-square-foot plant in Burlingame.
The JV is owned by Burlingame-based Merrill's Packaging and Torrance, Calif.-based Field Bottles.
The bottles can be capped with both metal and plastic screw-on caps. EnVino is not injection molding caps, Hauser said.
A plastic bottle could open up markets like the airline industry, as well as sports and entertainment venues.
While there may be some resistance from small segments of the wine-drinking community, the early reviews of the EnVino bottles are positive, Patrick Egan, brand manager for innovation at Sausalito, Calif.-based winemaker Boisset Family Estates, said by phone.
There are 2.6 billion cases of wine sold in the world each year, Egan said. Of that, 70 percent costs less than $12 per bottle, and 70 percent is [consumed] within three hours of purchase.
The winemaker is incorporating an oxygen barrier with the EnVino bottles that Egan said actually extends the freshness life of wine that has been opened and resealed a functional advantage over glass.
Hauser was quick to point out that while EnVino has ambitions of revolutionizing the industry, the company understands that plastics may not always be the best solution.
If you're spending over $50 a bottle, we're not going after that winery. That's not who our customer is, she said. We're going for the mid- to low-priced wines where people buy the wine, take it home, and drink it.
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