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How plastic can be fantastic for a bottle of wine

There is no such thing as the perfect environmentally-friendly bottle for wine, but if you put aside preconceived ideas, you can try to get as close as possible, explains Jessica Julmy, CEO of Château Galoupet, the 69-hectare Provence Cru Classé owned by LVMH.
By Vitisphere June 28, 2022
How plastic can be fantastic for a bottle of wine
“Some preconceived ideas are too unfavourable for some materials and too favourable for others”, comments Jessica Julmy. - crédit photo : ©Château Galoupet I Credit Margot Mchn

he ‘Galoupet Nomade’ bottle has just been released with a price tag of €25 and is already making a name for itself with its plastic packaging. This seems particularly iconoclastic for a premium wine with an environmental agenda...

Jessica Julmy: First, let’s take a step backwards. When I joined the project, we were starting with a blank canvas. The vineyards had to be replanted, the winery had to be refurbished, etc. At Moët Hennessy, our rationale regarding group responsibility is to take the time to invest and go out on a limb by viewing things differently. We commissioned research to measure our carbon footprint and this showed that 40% of the carbon footprint of a still wine estate comes from the packaging. We can farm the vines organically, roll out agroforestry projects and reduce water and energy consumption in the winery, but if we don't deal with the problem of packaging, our right hand is undoing what our left hand has done.

We carried out a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the different types of packaging to produce actual figures about which materials are the ugly ducklings and which ones are not so bad. For the Cru Classé, which is an age-worthy wine, we chose glass, but reduced its carbon footprint with a lighter bottle (under 500 grams) and green glass; transparent glass is new, whereas green glass can be 70% recycled. For the second wine, which is designed for early-drinking, we explored the range of possibilities and had a choice between PET and boxes.


PET is already a shock to the system, boxes would have been even more so...

I can’t tell you the reactions I got! Boxes are great, but the problem is that you have to separate the cardboard, the plastic bag and the tap. You can never be sure that consumers will go to the trouble of doing that. So, we preferred the simplicity of 100% recycled and 100% recyclable PET. There are several types of plastic, and we opted for the PET solution from the Prevented Ocean Plastic (POP) association, which collects plastic gathered along the coast. I dream that there will be no more plastic waste at the seaside, and that we will have to look for another source of plastic, but I fear that this won’t happen overnight...

The solution we chose is developed in England by Packamama, which manufactures it in England using plastic that has no impact on the quality of the wine (nor migration). The LCA allows us to compare materials at the production stage (consumption of water, electricity, etc.). This is still very complex and relies on assumptions, such as recycling by consumers. There is no perfect solution for bottles. I am all ears if someone has a better option. Sometimes we look for the perfect solution and come up against a wall because there isn’t one at the moment. We need to evolve, test and unblock our chakras – this bottle gets the conversation going.

All Comments (3)
karen 1 mcmahon Le 06 juillet 2022 à 19:27:48
in my opinion, it is a less expensive operating cost all the way around. the wine laws in many centuries were bottled in glass and the glasses make a difference according to Reidel glassware. if you are at an event outside wine does not taste the same from a plastic cup.
Jean Baptiste DUEZ Le 02 juillet 2022 à 13:15:27
I was reading your article on VITISPERE about Plastic bottle recycling issue. We share the same view about packaging that?s why I revert to you. We have helped a Start Up le petit Baroudeur to realize that concept of demystification about the wine consumption manners and reduce the carbon foot print by 5 compared to glass bottles. So, we can help you in that field which is our expertise. Beside of that as we are converters of flexible packaging (best optimized carbon footprint among all primary containers) we have developed a complete range of plastic containers from 200 ml (1/4 aviation), 750 ml , 1.5liter to 5 liters (BwB ? Bag without Box) which can be recycled according to CITEO requirements. Just have a look at the enclosed PPT of the 1st realization. All shape types are possible. These primary containers do not necessarily need any secondary packs for current uses. All is produced in a Printed mono material of 100% Polyethylene laminates which is recyclable and will be recycled. Of course, all our products are delivered with food contact certificates and non-migration certificates. Sincères Salutations ? Met vriendelijke groeten - Best regards - Kenavo FPC is part of the Ceflex Consortium
Paul Vandenberg Le 29 juin 2022 à 20:42:24
For thirty years I have bottled wine in Flint (clear) post consumer, recycled glass, bottles that weigh under 400 grams. I?d like to find other producers to create demand for a 300 gram bottle that uses post consumer recycled glass. Flint glass is desired by glass factories for recycling. Paul Vandenberg Paradisos del Sol Winery and Organic Vineyard
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