While heavier glass bottles have been associated with higher quality wines for decades, one Washington state winery is trying to dispel that notion and also reduce their environmental impact with lighter weight wine bottles, according to an article in the Napa Valley Register.
Kiona Vineyards, Benton City, WA, announced that it is switching to lightweight glass bottles for many of its wines. In a news release, the company stated, “As a producer, there is no tangible benefit to purchasing or shipping heavier glass other than the visual and tactile feedback of the bottle. In keeping with industry trends, producers opt to spend more dollars and CO2 output on heavier bottles to convey quality.” To notify consumers of the new packaging, the back labels will feature the tagline “World Class in Lighter Glass”.
Heavy wine bottles have several drawbacks. Their cases are harder to move around in stores and many restaurant servers find the hefty bottles difficult to pour. The larger and heavier bottles mean fewer cartons can fit onto standard 56-case pallets. Instead, wineries may be able to get only 48 cases on a pallet, thus increasing shipping costs. Heavier bottles also require greater fuel demands in transit and more energy to produce. And some big bottles are anti-consumer because they don’t fit into standard wine racks.
Kiona has opted to put its Sauvignon Blanc ($22), Rosé of Sangiovese ($20), and Lemberger ($17) in 470-gram glass bottles. These bottles weigh about 1 pound when empty. Kiona will put its reserve-quality red wines, which sell for $55 and more, in 880-gram bottles. When empty, they weigh less than 2 pounds.
Chicago-based Berlin Packaging, a major international bottle suppler, offers numerous lighter-weight glass bottles for wineries including many 800-gram bottles (1.76 pounds). It has a facility in Fairfield, CA.