This summer, wine goes nomadic!

·4-min read
Retailer Ethic Drinks wants to prove that canned wine is not only good for us, but also for the planet

Wine in a can or in a paper bottle... The traditional bag-in-box wine is no longer the only way to organize an outdoors aperitif away from home. The boom in new wine packaging, which aims to appeal to young consumers with eco-friendly features, is making happy hour much more mobile.

At home or at a bar? Or better still, at a picnic in the park or by the pool! When it comes to celebrating, we often only think of the first two options for practicality's sake. As for the latter, it has become much easier to organize thanks to the emergence of new packaging that is reshaping our drinking habits.

Take the can format. Canned wine in itself isn't exactly new, whether it's the Taylor Cellars cans seen on Delta airplanes in the 1980s or the chic little mini cans of Sofia wine from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in California that made their debut in the early 2000s. But it's a relatively new packaging for wine in France, and one that's making a bigger and bigger splash in this world. You may be surprised to learn that in France, a country where the sound of a cork being popped signals a moment of sharing drinks and small edible tidbits among friends, nearly three quarters of French survey respondents (72%) are ready to try wine in cans. This was the unexpected finding of a study by the Maîtres Vignerons de la Presquîle de Saint-Tropez carried out by OpinionWay last January.

The study not only references this major trend when it comes to format, it also served as a launch announcement for what could be a "must-drink" this summer: rosé in a can. The Saint Tropez wine has been christened "Nomad 83," with the number referring to the code for the department that is home to Saint Tropez. A particularly fitting name that says it all: the point of this new packaging is to allow you to bring your wine with you wherever you go, to be enjoyed in a variety of settings (of course depending on and in accordance with an area's laws and restrictions concerning consumption of alcohol). In 2021, winemaker Anne-Victoire Monrozier, better known as Miss Vicky Wine, embarked on the canned wine adventure, calling the beverage in question from her family's estate in the Fleurie appellation, in the Beaujolais region, "ô Joie."

Other ventures have followed, such as a range of organic white wines packaged in cans from the company EthicDrinks. The line is branded Tchin'On and uses a key selling point to appeal to young consumers: respect for the environment.

The cans replace the bag-in-box (BIB), the large sealed plastic bags with a tap that allow wine to be served anywhere. For Tchin'On, it is a matter of convincing consumers to choose a can that is guaranteed to be 100% recyclable and more environmentally friendly than a BIB or a mini glass bottle of wine. The other argument for convincing consumers that wine in cans has potential is to promise an end to the taste of cork...

Although drinking wine in cans may seem like a crime to some French wine connoisseurs, this form of packaging is a real trend on the world market. According to American data firm Grand View Research, this market was worth 211.4 million dollars in 2020 and its growth should increase by 13.2% by 2028.

Wine bottles made of paper

A London company is offering a different way to cheers at happy hour, while respecting the planet. The start-up When in Rome boasts of having developed the first ever paper wine bottle. Its aim: to replace glass to reduce the carbon footprint of wine. A glass package may only be used once (unless the deposits system is reintroduced), while transporting the bottles contributes significant greenhouse gas emissions. The UK retailer, which mainly packages Italian wines, launched its innovation in early spring and claims that its eco-friendly bottle is made from 94% recycled cardboard, which would generate six times less greenhouse gas emissions than a glass bottle.

When in Rome has made alternative packaging its niche and even claims to be UK's leading company in the area. The small company, which has managed to get its products stocked on the shelves of the supermarket giant Waitrose, first sketched out its project around bag-in-box packaging made of cardboard. The box deliberately contains the equivalent of three bottles of wine, and its production generates ten times less carbon emissions than a glass bottle.

France is already on the ball when it comes to low carbon footprint wine bottles. In Toulouse, the start-up Green Gen technologies uses woven flax fiber, combined with biosourced resin, to design bottles that can hold your favorite red wine as well as champagne.

These innovations are not just for wine. The whole world of alcoholic beverages is getting into the spirit. The latest announcement is from Buen Vato, which promises to have packaged the first tequila in a cardboard bottle made from 94% recycled material. The launch is scheduled for July.

Bérangère Chatelain

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