Boxing in Green Wine

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Vineyards are perhaps one of the most entrepreneurial of ventures. Long the dream of many a corporate worker and the fulfillment of one by celebrities and those willing to spend lots of hours and lots of dollars to make it successful, wine is in the green news this week.

The recent announcement that Almaden and Inglenook wines will switch form 3-4 liter jugs to Bag-in-Box (BIB) packaging was a big one.

The company bills itself as “the world’s most cost and carbon efficient vintner” for its use of BIB packaging, which it claims has less than half the carbon footprint of bottled wine in terms of energy needed for glass production and transportation.

“The positive impact to the environment from making the shift to BIB packages will be huge, simply because the volume of these two brands combined account for 10 million cases of production,” David Kent, The Wine Group’s CEO, said in a statement.

Since most entrepreneurs in the wine industry focus on, shall we say, more upscale beverages, this may not seem to have an impact of business. But, talk is already circulating on what this means. “Wine in a box”, long scorned by connoisseurs may make it’s way up the to more expensive wines in time…or perhaps not.

But, this leaves makers of green organic and otherwise eco friendly wines in a bit of a bind. With the huge advertising campaign supporting Almaden and Ingelnook’s move, it won’t be too long before eco friendly vintners face questions.

The company, which recently launched a marketing campaign extolling the environmental benefits of BIB packaging, said switching all bottled wine sold in the U.S. to BIB packaging would save about 941 million tons of glass packaging annually. Glass, however, can be recycled endlessly but is much heavier and expensive to transport.

The correct strategy to follow remains to be seen as consumer response to the new packaging trickles in.

Photo Credit Roblisameehan at Flick’r Under Creative Commons License

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