Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who took all the glass?

In this age of environmental consciousness (and general lack thereof) there are certain things that really stand out as wasteful.

The packaging on fruit and vegetables, the coating added to tablets for washing clothes and dishes, and packaging materials for goods bought over the internet (if couriers could just be trusted to treat 'fragile' goods properly much waste could be avoided).

One thing that I don't normally object to is glass bottles for wine. I must say I am still of the belief that this is the best alternative at the moment, even if recycling rates could be improved.

I was struck, therefore, when I saw a bottle on the shelf of my local Co-op that looked ridiculously large and heavy, and not only that, was selling for £3.99 (that's around $8).

J.P. Chenet is already known for its quirky bottle shapes which have helped to increase its brand profile. But this bottle, from what appears to be a premium range, was like the original bottle after a course of Mr Universe quality steroids.

I was intrigued, so I parted with the paltry sum and took it home.

Now, I have weighed a number of other bottles in my rack and the average weight is around 1.25kg when full, so imagine my surprise when this came in at 1.623kg - thats a 30% increase.

So that is where all the missing glass in Europe has gone!

Maybe in future, those consumers just getting into wine might, instead of using the time honoured calculation of "best value": BV=ABV/RSP (otherwise known as 'most alcohol for your money'), might instead say something like:

"Wow, this Argentinian Chardonnay weighs a ton and is only £4.49!"
"That's nothing! Over here is Chilean Cabernet is a ton and a half and is just £4.27 if you buy three bottles"

Let's just hope that we live to see the day - or maybe not.

Oh, and unfortunately the wine delivered exactly what the price promised, not very much. How could it, after spending so much on packaging??


Mike said...

Answer is customized packaging :)

It's the savior nowadays!

gopaz said...

Amen brother! There is no need to create a bottle that feels completely full when it is absolutely empty! Personally, I call that prideful and self-centered; however, from my understanding, it's a marketing tactic that has worked by boosting sales. So until more information is provided as to the negative environmental implications of such a ridiculously heavy bottle, I doubt it will change. Actually, come to think of it, I doubt that will even help, so allow me to rephrase my theory. Until people are too inconvenienced by weight, only then, do I suspect will things change ;-)

Robert McIntosh said...

would bring a whole new meaning to "wine diet" if it affected the bottle instead

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Many people think that the heavier the bottle, the better the wine inside it is. And there is logic in that view.

So Chenet put the wine in a heavy bottle in to make it stand out from others in the same price range and gain sales that they may otherwise not get.

And, you must admit, it is a marketing policy that works.

Your purchase is proof.

Richard A. said...

I have noticed lately two examples of more eco-friendly bottling practices, yet they were for vodka rather than wine.

One vodka had trimmed down their bottle to use 25% less glass than a normal vodka bottle.

The other vodka used 85% recylced glass, one of the highest percentages I have seen.

Can't wine follow in those footsteps?

Robert McIntosh said...

Peter - but I'm a wine geek who bought it because it looked like a heavy bottle and despite the apparent reflection on the wine, not as you suggest. However, I do think you are right and some consumers will make that equation. I must say that the co-op do not mark it as on sale, only as a "deal" at £3.99 (so no higher normal price)

Richard - wine companies are definitely doing this and there is a big campaign in the UK led by Tesco and many wine suppliers to develop lightweight bottles and those with higher recycled contents. Not sure what there is on the market, nor what the consumer awareness/impression is, but it is definitely on the wine agenda here in the UK and in Europe

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Hi Robert

I was not implying thaty ou bought it for the reason in my first paragraph.

My second paragraph applies to you :)

They gained from you a sale that they wouldn't if they used a standard bottle.

Richard A. said...

A recent news article on the issue http://www.ap-foodtechnology.com/news/ng.asp?n=84128-wrap-pet-wine-packaging