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Lighter, cheaper and plastic - the new flat wine bottle shaking up the drinks industry

Could this flat plastic wine bottle be the future of South African wine packaging?

by: Katy Rose | 28 Feb 2019
garcon wine bottle, wine industry news

All images courtesy of Garçon Wines.

A British company, Garçon Wines, is tackling a bastion of the wine industry - the look and feel of a traditional glass wine bottle.


While they are “revolutionising wine delivery and improving the retailing, logistics and eco-friendliness of wine”, Garçon Wines has been busy spreading the word about their new solution to an ancient problem - the packaging and transportation of wine across the globe. 

In a statement, Santiago Navarro, CEO & Co-Founder of Garçon Wines said: "The problems stemming from an unsuitable primary pack – a 19th century wine bottle – areamplified into secondary packaging that is equally, or arguably excessively, unsuitable.Excessive use of packaging at a time when we need to be more resource efficient isunsustainable."

Navarro continued on his philisophy, " Wine is a uniquely engaging product with a high emotional connection. It, therefore,provides a unique platform from where to communicate a change in the way we do things tohelp mitigate against a climate change catastrophe and create a more sustainable economy."

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They have a devised a thin, slim and flat plastic wine bottle that not only looks refreshingly modern but is also revolutionising how wine gets from the vineyard to your home. First punted as “letterbox friendly”, the slim 750ml wine bottle is both familiar while introducing a modern edge that seems to invoke a family tree of Apple i-ancestors. It seems part iPhone and part hip flask. 

garcon wine bottle, wine industry news

The Bordeaux bottle is their signature shaped bottle, with broad shoulders that echo the traditional French style of glass bottles. The Garçon bottle however has a long list of benefits, which sets it apart from the older format of wine bottle. The shape at first is a bit odd, and one can't help but wonder how it would fit in the hand of the pourer.  

It is a little taller than a traditional glass bottle, but the volume remains unchanged at 750ml. The plastic itself is made from 100% recycled PET (available in traditional olive green, amber or light pink tints), which makes the bottle up to 87% lighter than glass packaging, coming in at a mere 63g.

Garçon wines assures us that the PET bottles are strong enough to withstand rough handling and shipping conditions, while remaining completely neutral and will not impact the taste of the product. The flat bottle is fitted with a screw cap, which despite many critics, has proven itself to be cost effective and better for the environment. 

Of course, a lighter bottle means that shipping and transportation costs can be cut down dramatically. Shipping a flat bottle is easy as posting a small, rectangular box but it’s not the weight of the plastic bottle that delivers the huge savings - it’s the shape. 

The slim, flat shape of the bottle means that each Garçon wine bottle is up to 40% smaller than a rounder, traditional shape. The Garçon carton holds 10 bottles, in the same space that would contain only 4 glass bottles of 750ml each, which was debuted this week at the Packaging Innovations Birmingham 2019 show.

Using some "out of the box thinking", Navarro said "(we) have rearranged their flat bottles into a game-changing novel orientation; eight flat bottles packed vertically with two lying horizontally in the airspace around the bottlenecks,eliminating almost all unused airspace. This has been achievable as the Garçon Wines slimline bottle was specially designed so eight bottles in total width are the same length as one bottle tall and the width & depth of a single bottle is the same as the area around the bottleneck. 

garcon wine bottle, wine industry news

With the Garçon bottle making shipping and delivery cheaper, faster and better for the environment we think it will be just a matter of time before we see South Africa’s big exporting wine brands adopting a more modern approach to an ancient business. 

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