A look at wine packaging is a lot like a look at the history of packaging itself. First appearing in ancient times in clay vessels for storage and animal bladders for personal portability, fermented beverages were an important part of maintaining the health of a community where water-borne diseases were a constant threat.
As civilizations matured, new forms of packaging came into play to preserve and transport their most critical of storable goods: wine, beer, oil, and grain. As the quality of packaging options and understanding of package/product interaction increased, so did the number and variety of packages.
In the case of wine in particular, amphorea and animal bladders made way for barrels and glass bottles—forms that offered a more controlled storage environment, as well as portability, durability, and more predictable product/package interaction. Today, we’re seeing even more options that go beyond these basic needs to leverage opportunities to increase profitability as well as sustainability.
Today’s wine packaging looks to take advantage of a variety of features such as increased recyclability, material and size reductions, and, most significantly, lighter transport weight. Examples of these efforts include materials-reduced glass bottles made by Kingsland for Tesco and cans extruded by Ball Packaging Europe GmbH for Barokes Wines, both of which are made from infinitely recyclable materials, and lightweight aseptic cartons converted by Tetra Pak for Cordier Mestrezat that contain a high percentage of renewable materials. Others, such as the Climber Pouch by Clif Family Winery & Farm, have a small pre-fill footprint, fitting more packages into each truck to the winery, as well as requiring less food-safe dedicated space at the winery before filling.
While some purists obsess over whether wine “should” be delivered in anything other than a glass bottle with a natural cork, emerging winemakers (and established brands looking to penetrate new markets) are eagerly experimenting with the wide variety of options opening up to them. More and more consumers, too, are receptive to new packages.
Owned by the same people who deliver environmentally conscious Clif Bar products, Clif Family Winery & Farm’s new Climber Pouch is a good example of innovative wine packaging. Taking advantage of the company’s profile in a more progressive consumer market, the firm looked for a way to better connect their product with their target market—physically active adults.
Putting themselves in their customer’s shoes, the company realized that after spending the day hiking, canoeing or otherwise soaking up the great outdoors, a bit of wine by the campfire might be just the thing. Going beyond convenience, the Climber Pouch is a double-gus¬seted, stand-up flexible pouch supplied by Astrapouch. It has an 80% lower carbon footprint and makes 90% less waste than two glass bottles. It’s also lighter to carry than glass, recloses easily, and allows air to be released, which helps the wine stay fresh for up to one month after opening. When the wine’s gone, the package folds down into a fraction of its filled size, making it easy to leave the campsite (or wherever your trails lead you) better than you found it. It’s also a nice nod to ancient solutions for flexible wine packaging, and a good inspiration for all sorts of liquids packaging options.