By Kori ~ June 5th, 2009.
During these tough economic times, it’s refreshing to see creative marketing combined with an environmentally friendly concept. And that’s exactly what we found recently when we visited Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint, Idaho.
We learned that since February, their popular Bistro Rouge Red Table Wine has been available in a refillable 1.5 liter bottle. You buy the first 1.5 liter bottle, sealed with a cork, for $25; then refills, sealed with a T-stopper, are $16 thereafter. The idea came from co-proprietor Julie Meyer who was frustrated seeing glass from Sandpoint getting reintegrated into other solid waste after being sorted by residents and ultimately disposed of at a landfill in Eastern Oregon.
The staff at Pend d’Oreille Winery brainstormed the problem and came up with the concept of producing 1.5 liter bottles with a generic silk screened label of the Bistro Rouge Red Table Wine. Once purchased, the customers clean their own bottle and bring it back to the winery for a refill.
Because it is a generic label, the blend can change. Winemaker Steve Meyer loves the freedom to create wines that are fun to blend, market, and enjoy with the public.
“The program has been enthusiastically accepted by our clients who love the idea of coming into the Winery to get their personal bottle refilled. It gives us a chance to touch base with them and to return the favor by putting a delicious wine into a reusable and sustainable container. It’s a Win-Wine idea.”
I would think that many wineries in large urban settings producing a large volume red (or white) table wine and who get a lot of traffic through their tasting rooms could make this idea work on a larger scale than even Pend d’Oreille. The only part of the Pend d’Oreille model that I question is the customer cleaning his or her own bottle. It seems to me that a swap-out system like you often see with propane tanks, turning in an empty one for a full one, would be a more efficient and sanitary solution.
What do you winemaker readers think about this idea? Would it work for you? What about the wine lover readers? Would you like to participate in such a program with your favorite local table wine producer?
Filed under: General Wine Information, Idaho Wine, Red Wine