Packaging Innovation
Wine packaging - PET bottles
February 22, 2016

Wine packaging: the pros & cons of PET bottles

We may take them for granted, but glass wine bottles haven’t always been around. There used to be a time when wine was transported and sold in clay amphora and barrels, and consumers used wineskins to carry their ‘vino’ with them when they went out. However, when the glass wine bottle sealed with corks was introduced, it opened up a whole new world for wine lovers. Wine suddenly became much more preservable, although the glass bottles are not entirely without disadvantages…

Reinventing wine packaging

Although excellent at keeping oxygen away from wine, glass bottles are heavy – not to mention breakable. In a bid to make wine packaging more consumer-friendly, wine producers have been turning to alternative packaging you’re probably already familiar with, such as the bag-in-box concept, Tetrapak and even cans. But did you know that PET bottles have recently started to make it onto the shelves as wine packaging, too?

Ecological packaging for wine

In a time when ecological packaging is more important than ever, PET wine bottles are actually not as unusual as you may think at first. Yes, glass bottles are recyclable too, but PET bottles are much lighter and therefore have a much smaller carbon footprint. For example, research has shown that replacing one billion glass bottles with PET bottles saves around 90,000 tons of carbon monoxide. Last but not least, PET bottles are cheaper to ship as they take up less volume than glass bottles.

The disadvantages of PET bottles

Of course, as with many things in life, all that glitters is not gold. PET wine bottles have their disadvantages as well:

Bad image

Although PET bottles certainly are sustainable, not all consumers are convinced they are in fact the more environmentally friendly option. Plastic bottles also have a cheap connotation, which counteracts the notion consumers have of wine as a luxury product.

Health scare

Contrary to glass bottles, PET bottles do allow diffusion of oxygen. To counter this, PET bottles are filled with barrier technologies and oxygen scavengers. Although these chemicals are not harmful to the consumer, many consumers are convinced otherwise.

Shorter shelf-life

Despite barrier technologies, PET bottles still allow more oxygen ingress than glass. That means wine in PET bottles has a shorter shelf-life.

What does the future hold?

So will PET bottles soon replaces glass wine bottles altogether? Only time will tell, although PET bottles are likely to only be used for cheaper wines that are not meant to spend too long on shelves or in wine cellars.     Inspired by wineanorak.com