Alternative Wine Packaging

By John ~ January 29th, 2010.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs (Photo from Francis Ford Coppola Winery)For years we’ve had wine marketing folks trying to dream up the best way to package and present wine: eye-catching labels, heavy bottles, then light bottles in an effort to be more “green,” and different shaped bottles to catch your attention. However, in all of the above, the basic package was still a glass wine bottle. Today, alternative wine packaging is everywhere.

Here are some of the most common wine packaging alternatives on the market today:

  • Boxed wine. Boxed wine is actually a bag-in-a-box, a plastic bladder housed by a cardboard box. The most popular boxed wine is Franzia.
  • Plastic bottle. Wolf Blass and others are experimenting with plastic (polyethylene terephthalate or PET) bottles in an attempt to lower its carbon footprint.
  • Aluminum bottle. Think Wines, Volute, and Boisset are among the producers using aluminum bottles. Boisset’s bottle even features a dot on the label that changes color when the wine is chilled to the proper temperature.
  • Aluminum can. Wine in a soda can ought to be a big hit, as long as a straw comes with it, and it does in the case of Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs.
  • TetraPak. Boisset is again a leader in alternative packaging, this time with a TetraPak carton, commonly used for juice boxes.
  • Mini-barrel. We first saw this at the Wine Bloggers Conference last fall. It looks like boxed wine gone upscale. It’s actually wine in a bag inside an oak mini-barrel that collapses as the wine is consumed. Some claim that the wine will remain fresh for a month or two.

With these new packaging choices, the biggest question is whether any of them will ever catch on with the mainstream wine lover. In my opinion, some of these new packages actually make some environmental and economical sense, but I wonder if producers will really put decent wine in them. And even if they do put decent wine in them, will the average wine consumer buy them or not?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you had wine in any of these alternative packages? If so, what did you think of the package itself and of the wine inside? What other alternative wine packaging have you seen?

(Photo from Francis Ford Coppola Winery)

Filed under: General Wine Information

Reader's Comments

  1. Chuck Kubokawa | February 1st, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Back in 1982 on Project Tektite II, I lived 52 feet underwater in a habitat for one month ( As NASA’s first aquanaut ) along with four other aquanauts from other agencies (crew of five). An aquanaut from the previous team snook in a 12 oz. can of French Gamay Beaujolais at night during his night dive. Since alcohol was forbidden in the habitat I kept the can hidden until the last day of my mission stay. I broke open the can and shared a little over 2 oz. with the other crew members during our last dinner together, I was being rotated out by the next aquanaut the next day. We all thoroughly enjoyed the wine under pressure (3 atm.) It was great ! I still have that can as part of my souvenir from that project. The wine didn’t loose any of it’s fine quality under water. That was 28 years ago ! Been a home winemaker since 1963.

  2. Melinda | February 1st, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    With the exception of Franzia box wine a long long time ago, I haven’t tried any wine from alternative packaging.
    I understand the environmental pros to it, but there is something almost romantic about popping the cork on a bottle of wine. You know?

    I did see a commercial on TV for a wine storage device called the PlatyPreserve Have you heard of this? The idea is intriguing to me. However, the name of it could use some work. I can hardly say it without giggling.

    Anyway, great post as always.


  3. John | February 1st, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Interesting story. Thanks for sharing!
    You’re right. The pop of the cork is hard to overcome. I’ll have to check out PlatyPreserve product.

  4. Kelly | April 25th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    It isn’t in the US yet but AstraPouch is something that is gaining popularity in Australia and UK and is already on shelves. its a lightweight, durable package that that chills wine faster than glass, a nozzle that doesn’t allow oxygen in while being poured and has a smaller carbon footprint. Its a new green era product check it out and see what you think…

  5. John | April 25th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the information on the AstraPouch. I’ll have to check it out.

  6. Rick | April 26th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I’m a fan of Bota Box wines, particularly their Old Vines Zinfandel. It’s on par with many “entry level” bottles of zinfandel out there–the ones that cost $7-$10 per bottle. Black Box and Hardy’s also make decent reds in a box.

    Box wines like this are great for two types of quaffing: when you want to have 1-2 glasses on a weeknight and don’t want to worry about either drinking or preserving the rest of the bottle, and for larger gatherings–when you want to supply something decent for people to drink without going broke!

  7. John | April 26th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Good information, Rick. Where have you found the Bota Box wine?

  8. Rick | April 26th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I’m in Kitsap County WA. It’s available at Fred Meyer (their Port Orchard store has a great wine selection overall-one of the best in the County) and QFC (in Belfair-another good wine department, if you’re heading out to the Hood Canal!).

    Bota has a great website too: you can often get it on sale for less than $20, which equals less than $5 per 750 ml–a very good QPR, in my book!

  9. John | April 26th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks, Rick.

  10. Jason | December 15th, 2010 at 2:44 am