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Wine Packaging Updates & Innovations

a photo of wine in different wine packaging

The majority of the wine you drink likely comes from a glass bottle. Heavily rooted in tradition, wine packaging is pretty standard across the wine industry because of the stricter packing options. In comparison to beer, which can be sold in any quantity, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) only allows wine to be sold in specific sizes. 

Historically, you’d be able to package wine in any of the following sizes:

  • 50 ml
  • 100 ml
  • 187 ml
  • 375 ml
  • 500 ml
  • 1 liter
  • 1.5 liter
  • 3 liter

Although these options provide winemakers with quite a bit of variety, a few sizes that are popular among consumers were not included. As of December 29, 2020, the TTB introduced three additional sizes: 200 ml, 250 ml, and 355 ml.

Why Is This Important?

With the new sizes, winemakers can appeal to individuals by offering their products in some of the most sought-after sizes amongst consumers. According to WICresearch’s consumer preference surveys, 250 ml is the most popular single-serving size that allows consumers to drink responsibly and have better portion control.

The new 355 ml size means that winemakers can now package their wine in a traditional 12 oz beer can — providing consumers with a glass-free option that makes transporting and enjoying a glass of wine a much easier process. Not only are aluminum cans well received by consumers, but they’re also easier for winemakers to source and typically cost less than their glass counterparts.

By adding new packaging sizes for the wine industry, the TTB is helping to drive economic growth and increase the reach of the wine industry.

Alternative Wine Packaging Options

With new options available, many wineries are looking for new, innovative ways to package their wine for consumers. While glass bottles aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, there are plenty of ways winemakers can meet the growing need for convenience and portability that a corked glass bottle can’t provide. If you’re looking for a way to increase penetration in the market, here are a few alternative wine packaging methods you can try.

Aluminum Cans

Cans have been a popular packing option in the alcohol industry for many years — but mainly for beer. With the updated packaging sizes, wine lovers can now enjoy a cool crisp bubbly straight from the can. Aluminum cans make a great packing option for winemakers for a few reasons:

  • Convenience – Glass bottles can be tricky. When heading to a friend’s house for dinner, your consumers need to be mindful of how they pack their bottle of wine so it doesn’t break in route. If they are planning on sitting by the pool, they’re probably surrounded by signs that say no glass allowed. Packaging wine in aluminum cans makes transporting them much more convenient — and your consumers don’t need to worry about bringing along a corkscrew!
  • Smaller portions – There may be consumers who are interested in trying your wine, but opt for the one next to it on the shelf because they’ve had it before and know they enjoy the taste. It can be difficult for young wine drinkers to commit to an entire bottle if they aren’t sure they’re going to like it. Cans offer the same great taste but in a smaller portion size, allowing consumers to taste more wine options and find new favorites.
  • Eco-friendly – Having environmentally friendly packaging is a must nowadays. Aluminum cans are more eco-friendly than a traditional glass bottle, mainly because aluminum is more likely to be recycled than glass. The lesser weight of aluminum also makes them easier to transport, reducing carbon emissions and carbon footprints.
  • Demographic – Wine drinkers tend to skew upwards in age, but utilizing aluminum cans for packing can help you reach a younger demographic that has been slower to adapt to wine. Because younger consumers are accustomed to drinking beer, ciders, and seltzers from cans, they’ll be more accepting and willing to try wine in similar packaging.

Boxed Wine

Although boxed wine used to get a bad rap, it’s increased in popularity in recent years. A wine box features an air-tight bladder inside a cardboard container that dispenses wine — making it easy to use the same box across multiple drinking occasions. Along with its ease of use, boxed wine offers:

  • Extended shelf life – Once a bottle of wine is opened, any remaining wine will only last a few days before it goes bad. Because a wine box prevents light and air from reaching the wine, it can last for up to four weeks in the refrigerator — nearly three times longer than a traditional bottle!
  • Affordability – Because bottling wine can be a costly process, packaging wine in boxes can save you money during production. As a result, you can pass those cost savings onto the consumer or enjoy a higher profit margin on those items.
  • Portability – When consumers are bringing wine to a special occasion, they often spend time figuring out how they’re going to transport the bottle without breaking it. Boxed wine offers convenience and portability that glass bottles will never be able to. Whether your consumers want some wine to take out back or are heading on an outdoor adventure, a box makes that much easier.

Plastic Bottles

If you’re not quite ready to give up the look of a traditional wine bottle just yet but are looking for alternative packaging options, you may want to try plastic bottles. While they won’t have the same elegance that a glass wine bottle offers, they achieve the same appearance without the hassle of glass. Plastic wine bottles provide consumers:

  • Convenience – Similar to aluminum cans and wine boxes, plastic wine bottles make transporting wine a much easier process. Whether heading down to the pool or beach where glass isn’t allowed or bringing a few bottles to bookclub, your consumers don’t have to worry about accidentally shattering a bottle on the way.
  • Refrigeration – Because a plastic wine bottle is thinner than a glass wine bottle, white wine and sparkling wines will cool down more quickly in the fridge. This allows your consumers to enjoy your product at an ideal temperature more quickly than if they needed to wait for a traditional bottle to chill.
  • Weight – Glass is relatively heavy, especially when the bottle is full of wine. Transporting cases of wine in traditional glass bottles increases carbon emissions, thus increasing your carbon footprint. Instead, plastic bottles weigh approximately one-eighth the weight of a glass bottle, making the transport of your product a new environmentally friendly endeavor.

While aluminum cans, bag-in-a-box wine, and plastic bottles are the most popular forms of alternative packaging for wine, there are other non-traditional packaging methods you can opt for as well, such as paper bottles, flax bottles, and flat bottles. But in most instances, these three innovative packing methods will make your product more accessible for consumers, expanding your brand’s reach in the market.

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