THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ – these words that have never been truer than today where technology is constantly shaking up our world, if not turning it upside down. Just stop and think of the changes that have occurred to life over the last 20 years. What will the next 20 bring?
Well, I would suggest that for the second time (casks were the first) since French glass blowers puffed out the 700-750mL bottle in the 17th Century, glass wine bottles will soon be challenged as the primary receptacle for wine.
I recently submitted an article to WBM magazine on the rise & rise of wine in a can, and why it should be taken seriously. The article will be published soon, but in any case the rise of cans is happening right now and that, “is a fact Jack”, as they say.
The next step in the evolution of the wine bottle is: Could PEF replace PET and make plastic wine bottles viable for longer term storage/usage?
No, it is not a spelling quiz! Rather the start of an exciting possibility if QUT (Queensland University of Technology) research bears fruit. PEF is Polyethylene Furaonate a more sustainable plastic that the current PET. The advantages of PEF over PET is that it can make bottles that are lighter for the same strength OR stronger for the same weight as PET. PEF has better barrier properties than PET allowing lower levels of gas escape in sparkling products. This could auger well for lightweight PEF wine bottles in the future, as they would be fully recyclable and have a considerably smaller carbon footprint than glass bottles.
The research being conducted at Gladstone by QUT is into converting the residual fibre of sugarcane (bagasse) into bio-fuel and PEF. The Queensland sugar cane industry produces several million tonnes of bagasse a year, which if the research is successful could in the future, produce a significant quantity of bio-fuel and a bloody lot of bottles, including wine bottles.
So, if the research is successful, PEF would initially be used for the manufacture of soft drink bottles, but there is already an interest in its possibilities for beer and wine bottles.
Most people will chuckle at this concept and suggest that plastic wine bottles will never be accepted by “connoisseur” wine drinkers. Back in 2000 these same people were laughing at the idea of sealing wine bottles with screwcaps. As Monty Python would say: “..say no more”!
Plastic wine bottles recently got a big boost when English firm, Garçon Wines, launched their 10 flat bottle wine case. The case which contains 10 x 750mL bottles takes up the same space as four conventional bottles. This is because the bottles have been specially designed to have flat sides rather than being cylindrical, with 8 bottles being stacked vertically (as per normal) and the other two being laid flat in the neck space of the vertical bottles. With the bottles being made from PET the weight of this carton is around 8kg, or roughly the same as an ordinary six pack. Ten bottles for the weight of six – easier to carry and much more efficient to ship with twice as much wine fitting onto a standard pallet.
So as they say in the classics, “watch this space”! Wine bottles will be changing quite a bit over the next few years much to the disgust of the old fuddy-duddies. Just remember that the bottle’s job is simply to get the wine to the consumer as the winemaker intended it to be. No more, no less.
THIS WEEK’S WINE REVIEW:
This week I am talking about a bright and innovative marketing concept that is wrapped around an excellent wine – the LONGVIEW “THE PIECE” 2016 ADELAIDE HILLS SHIRAZ.
The presentation is truly sensational! The bottle turns up in a large tin that looks exactly like a graffiti spray can, even down to the plastic cap.
The concept behind this innovative packaging is based on LONGVIEW VINEYARD having one of the largest collections of graffiti art (32), in Australia. Each year they hold a competition whereby four of Australia’s best street artists battle it out with the winning piece adorning the label of LONGVIEW’S flagship SHIRAZ called THE PIECE. This competition has now been going for eight years.
This label is by Morris Green and is an astounding example of photo-realism. It is almost impossible to imagine that this work of art featuring the native Blue ‘Fairy’ Wren was generated using spray cans.
The wine itself is another masterpiece. It has ample aromas of plums and some dried herbs with just a hint of forest floor. A big, powerful, well-structured palate which is smooth and rich with an excellent tight finish. Great now but will continue to evolve over the next few years.
VERY SOPHISTICATED and brilliantly packaged. Check it out at www.longviewvineyard.com.au
Cheers and have a great weekend!