More On Lighter Wine Bottles

Lighter bottles -- it's becoming my mantra. I made the decision to stop bottling in extra-heavy glass a year ago. Others have been picking up on the topic, and now it seems the request for lighter products is being addressed by the glass manufacturers. This morning I saw this article from the May issue of Wines & Vines: "How Light Can You Get?" by Suzane Gannon.

The article highlights how some of the major wine bottle producers (Saint Gobain, Saverglass, Demptos and Owens-Illinois) have recently released lower-weight, lower-cost products into the US market. Owens has been the low-weight leader, for the last nine years producing a 750mL bottle weighing just 298 grams (not sold in the US) -- Saint Gobain has matched this with their newly-released "Revolution" bottle. Compare this to the 850 gram "prestige" bottle I have switched away from, or the ones I have switched to, that weigh 485 and 535 grams.

Putting these weights in perspective, moving from the prestige glass has meant that I'm shipping cases that weigh 37 lb. each instead of a whopping 50 lb. A switch to the lightest available glass would save nearly another 5 lb. per case. This also brings up the reality of wine shipping: there is only so low one can go. Wine is mostly water and it isn't particularly light, at about 20 lb. per case. It is significant though that we have moved from the packaging weighing more than the product, to it being less than half of the shipping weight.

I have to see some of these ultra-light bottles in the flesh (as it were) before I consider using any of them -- they may be too butt-ugly for me to want to present my carefully hand-crafted babies in them. But it is exciting that manufacturers are moving in this direction.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger jaybird said...

This would be a wonderful thing. Savings would be seen by all involved. There would be less energy required to fabricate the bottles, the winery would save in materials and shipping costs (you would think), the wine buyer would save in shipping costs if applicable, the shipping companies (from manufacture to UPS to recycling) would save fuel due to less weight, and the environment would be helped due to less emissions and less recycling energy used. Good for you John.

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Mark said...

Every little bit helps. Thanks for bringing this more to the forefront John. Now if we could get most distributors and wine clubs to simply use recyclable shipping materials we could start making a real difference!

At 7:30 PM, Blogger John M. Kelly said...

We are asking our shipping companies to use only cardboard pulp shippers - they won't always, but we are pushing. This means we have to be way more careful when we ship, as they provide very little insulation compared to styrofoam shippers. It is important for our customers to understand that pulp shippers also lead to more breakage, and aren't as gentle to labels.

Lately there are folks buzzing up the use of plastic wine bottles. Not going to happen here. Two words: oil and plasticizers. Plastics may be lighter and cheaper than glass, but plastics are not as environmentally neutral to manufacture or to recycle. There are good reasons people are moving away from plastic bottles of water (aside from the stupidity of paying so much for something that you can get for nearly free).


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