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Packamama's flat eco-bottle for wine, made by Visy, has debuted in selected Coles liquor outlets, with Accolade Wines’ Banrock Station and One Small Step from Taylors Wines first to shelf.

When turned to the side, the eco-bottle reveals a slimmer, flatter profile that can allow twice as many bottles to fit in a standard wine case,
When turned to the side, the eco-bottle reveals a slimmer, flatter profile that can allow twice as many bottles to fit in a standard wine case.

Brainchild of Packamama’s chief executive and founder Santiago Navarro, the eco-bottle is made from Australian-sourced, 100 per cent recycled PET plastic, and is manufactured by Visy in Victoria.

“As an innovative start-up with bold ambitions, we aim to collaborate for the manufacturing of our scalable sustainable bottles with the market leaders in packaging production as that allows us and our business customers the opportunity to more rapidly scale and affords the benefit of outstanding quality,” says Packamama’s chief executive and founder Santiago Navarro.

“The eco-bottle shares the classic high-shouldered silhouette of a traditional ‘Bordeaux’ wine bottle, but when turned to the side, it reveals a slimmer, flatter profile that can allow twice as many bottles to fit in a standard wine case, and is significantly lighter – which means it’s much more efficient to transport.

Navarro initially came up with the idea of the eco-bottle by taking a cross-section design of a round bottle but making it much slimmer (just 4cm deep) and maximising the flat panel surface area, in an attempt to make a greater success of wine e-commerce, which he believes has traditionally lagged behind other grocery products. Because of wine’s rich heritage, he was keen to create a format that respected tradition but made it more suitable for the challenging 21st century world.

“To this end, our bottles are inspired by the traditional wine bottle shapes and are still a bottle, rather than an alternative format like a pouch, can, cask or carton, so that consumers and producers are able to retain the emotional connection of enjoying wines poured from a bottle. The benefits of a more spatially efficient shape go far beyond e-commerce, however, and help optimise efficiency right across the supply chain. In Australia for instance, we are able to pack 50 per cent more wine on a pallet in eco-flat bottles compared to typical ones,” he said.

Packamama’s chief executive and founder, Santiago Navarro.
Packamama’s chief executive and founder,
Santiago Navarro.

“Using a shatterproof material further helps optimise logistics to avoid breakages. PET is low emission, shatterproof, lightweight, energy-efficient, food-safe, scalable and retains glass’s translucent quality to be able to see the wine in the bottle. It was a non-negotiable for us to use 100 per cent recycled PET in our bottles as it is the right thing to do for our planet,”  he added, confirming that 100 per cent recycled PET saves considerably more energy compared to virgin PET and glass, to lower the bottles’ carbon footprint and is “a benchmark material usage for circular economies” .

“PET is also the most widely recycled plastic on the planet. All these qualities mean 100 per cent recycled PET truly is a wonder material for a product like wine that travels vast distances across the globe and across Australia and that should be presented in a beautiful bottle format.”

According to Navarro, using recycled PET also saves weight and with the bottles being 83 per cent lighter, emissions in transport are reduced, as is energy in production and recycling to further tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

One Small Step from Taylors Wines, packaged in the eco-bottle, is now available exclusively at Coles Groups’s Liquorland and First Choice Liquor.
One Small Step from Taylors Wines, packaged in the eco-bottle, is now available exclusively at Coles Groups’s Liquorland and First Choice Liquor.

While the shape of the eco-bottle is a departure from the traditional round wine bottle, Navarro is confident the time is right for Australian winemakers to respectfully challenge a couple of centuries of tradition.

“Australia is globally recognised as a leader in wine packaging thanks to break-through innovations, including bag-in-box casks and screw-top caps for wines, and we are highly motivated to launch our climate-friendly bottle at Coles with Accolade Wines and Taylors Wines,” he said. “Coles’ ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable retailer is powerfully aligned with our ambition to deliver the world’s most scalable, sustainable bottle.”

Mia Lloyd, Coles Liquor acting GM Customer, Trade Planning & Insights, said it was exciting to be at the leading edge of packaging innovation with the eco-bottle.

“We know our customers want us to do more in relation to sustainability and this exclusive collaboration with Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market, Packamama, Taylors Wines and Accolade Wines significantly reduces the carbon footprint of wine for customers every day. The lightweight and flatter eco-bottle also gives our customers a convenient new option when they’re packing for that camping or caravan holiday,” said Lloyd.

Accolade Wines, who launched the eco-flat bottle two years ago in Europe, is on a mission to improve the sustainability of the wine industry and has ambitious targets to advance circular economy packaging across its entire portfolio.

“In the last 18 months alone, we have launched a variety of sustainable and innovative packaging solutions including wine in cans, wine on tap, bagnums, as well as a world-first circular, sustainable packaging solution for on-premise partners,” said Sandy Mayo, Accolade Wines global chief marketing officer.

“We chose Banrock Station to launch the eco-bottle in Australia because the environmental credentials fit perfectly with the brand’s 25 year sustainability heritage and its commitment to forging a more sustainable future for the planet. By purchasing Banrock Station wine, wine-lovers can rest assured that they are doing something positive for the environment while enjoying delicious, sustainably-made wine from South Australia,” said Mayo.

The potential for the eco wine bottle to improve the carbon footprint for winemaking is important for Taylors Wines particularly given that viticulture is one of the most climate-sensitive agricultural businesses.

But it’s not just the environmental credentials of this bottle that set it apart – the lighter, unbreakable recycled PET plastic bottle is “much more convenient” for picnics or popping in the esky on holiday.

Taylors' third-generation winemaker and MD Mitchell Taylor said the eco-bottle delivered a more sustainable bottle for consumers and provided another way for wineries to improve their carbon footprint.

“We know that Australian wine drinkers are very open to innovation when it provides real benefits, like this sustainable eco-bottle does,” explained Taylor. “Australia led the global change from cork to screwcap and Taylors was the first major producer to bottle all our wines under the closure. We believe Australians will again lead in adopting this more sustainable bottle.”

Santiago says there are plans underway to expand the Australian market. "We are currently engaging with a couple of other retailers and many brand owners. For now, we are very grateful that a retailer as successful, respected and well-known as Coles – with the ambitions to be Australia’s most sustainable retailer – has taken the lead in recognising the need for a more sustainable bottle format to cut wine’s carbon footprint. All indications about the launch have been positive so far, so we’re confident it will not be long before the bottles are available more widely in retail in Australia with more wines," he said.

“And meanwhile, they have taken to the skies with Virgin Australia, in a world first with a wine listing in our eco-flat bottles in an airline, thanks to the successful entry of Banrock Station by Accolade Wines into this space. Well done to Coles Liquor Group, Virgin Australia, Accolade Wines, and Taylors Wines on being sustainability pioneers,” concluded Navarro.

The wines in new eco-bottles are now available exclusively at Coles Group’s Liquorland and First Choice Liquor.

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