Lighter, greener plastic wine bottles gain favor

Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:37am EDT
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Wine producers from New Zealand, the United States and even France are switching from glass to plastic wine bottles, saying they are lighter, good for the environment and not bad for the wine.

The PET, polyethylene terephthalate, bottles are 100 percent recyclable, unbreakable, lighter and smaller to transport than glass and take less energy to create.

"We see (plastic) as a positive step in terms of energy and production," said Michael Wentworth, of New Zealand's Yealands Estate. "It's 89 percent lighter than glass, so you're reducing your carbon footprint there, as well as anytime you ship it."

The plastic containers have not changed the taste of the wine Yealands said because its Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, which have both been bottled in plastic, have done well in blind tasting wine competitions.

For Naked Winery in the western U.S. state of Oregon, which has used PET bottles for more than a year, the containers suit its outdoor wine concept.

"I like to backpack and I like to take wine backpacking and this is perfect," said David Barringer, 52, a winemaker at Naked.

Both wineries use a 750 ml sized bottle, which Wentworth said looks smaller next to regular size bottles.

"The consumer may think that they're not getting the same amount of wine, so we clearly label ours 750 ml," he said.   Continued...