The winemakers breaking up with glass bottles

These flatter, lighter bottles could soon be chilling in your fridge.

The winemakers breaking up with glass bottles
source: Packamama

The wine industry is steeped in tradition, but this sustainability-minded startup wants to disrupt the status quo.

Wines of the world have changed little over the years when it comes to the use of heavy, bulky glass bottles, even though they contribute significantly to the sector’s carbon footprint.

Enter a packaging twist that’s more planet friendly – a flat-shaped wine bottle made from recycled PET plastic.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the ‘eco-flat’ bottle from London-based packaging company Packamama is not only less carbon-intensive to produce, it is also lighter, unbreakable, and more space efficient, which reduces emissions associated with storage and transport.

The use of recycled PET and flat pack design allows twice as many bottles to fit into a standard wine case, according to its creator. The bottle is also fully recyclable once empty (Packamama explains how here).

“If we’re honest, the wine bottle as it’s known has been around too long and is no longer fit for purpose," Packamama says. "So we reinvented it, creating a better shape from a better material, so it’s better for the planet. And your business.”

And it seems some major players are taking note with wine companies and liquor stores in Europe and Australia adding flat bottled wines into the sales mix, with the North American market next on the list.

Australia's second largest wine company, Accolade Wines, as well as Taylors Wines, Moët Hennessy’s Chateau Galoupet and Miguel Torres Chile, and liquor stores such as Liquorland and First Choice, are among those embracing the change.

“If we’re honest, the wine bottle as it’s known has been around too long and is no longer fit for purpose."

Sales have been strong and the bottles’ unusual shape also holds strong social media appeal, Pakamama says. South Australian research also shows younger consumers are more likely to choose alternative wine packaging, especially if it came from well-known, prestigious brands.

Packamama is a packaging spin-off of UK-based wine company Garçon Wines. The startup recently graduated from Sparklab’s Cultiv8 cleantech accelerator program in Australia.

Late last year, Packamama, in collaboration with Tamburlaine Organic Wines, launched a bottling facility near the wine region of Orange in regional NSW.

Packamama cofounder and CEO Santiago Navarro – a former online wine retailer – said of the launch, “It is motivating to see how a new bottling line designed specifically for our bottles can run them through smoothly, speedily, and consistently.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with Mark and his team at Tamburlaine to leverage their facility to accelerate our growth in Australia.”

The startup also hopes to tap opportunities in other industries including olive oil and spirits.

The tech
Packamama's eco-flat bottles are made from 100 per cent recycled PET, saving space, weight, and energy. Its makers say they consume less energy than glass bottles to produce, are also lighter, flatter, unbreakable, and more space efficient, which cuts down on storage and makes them more efficient to transport. Packamama says the bottles – and their lids – are also fully recyclable after use (Packamama explains how here).