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Cramele Recas rolls out PET trial

Published:  25 November, 2022

Romanian winery Cramele Recas has officially launched its Recycled PET Multibarrier Bottles Project, as it tests the waters of alt formats with customers – and with the aim of eventually bringing a full-scale launch to market.

The trial will be taking place in Germany as of this week, with plans to rolls on sales to the UK in due course.

PET is short for Polyethylene Terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester. Cramele Recas is backing the material on the grounds that PET is clear, strong and lightweight, with much lower temperatures needed to produce the bottles, meaning that the end product produces three times less carbon emissions than glass.

The transport of PET bottles to the consumer can also emit up to 10 times less carbon emissions, dependent on how the wine is shipped and the distance travelled. Cramele Recas maintains that 30% more wine can fit into a shipping container due to weight restrictions. As a result, wineries tend to ship containers that are a third empty.

In Germany, the trial is focused on addressing three key questions: is bottling possible, do the bottles affect the wine and will consumers buy them?

Cramele Recas, which is co-owned by Bristol-born Philip Cox, believes things look positive.

“When compared to glass production, which involves massive factories that need to run 24/7, while keeping the glass molten hot permanently, the production machines for the PET bottles, can be turned on and off easily, according to demand,” Cramele Recas said in a statement.

“If a glass factory stops, and cools down, the molten glass solidifies and the entire furnace will need to be destroyed and re-built. The PET machines are also able to produce a wide range of sizes and shapes, very easily and quickly.”

Though there are currently no listings firmed up in the UK, Cramele Recas is confident that a segue into production would be swift. As volumes increase, the winery plans to blow the PET bottles on site, rather than outsource, which will "further save on transport emissions".

Cramele Recas was co-founded by Cox and wife, Elvira Cox, in 1998, and has since grown to become Romania’s largest wine exporter, accounting for 70% of the country’s total wine exports.

The trial in Germany is currently focusing on the use of recycled PET multibarrier bottles, which use plastic that is recycled from the Danube and other local rivers.

Elsewhere, Cramele Recas will be undertaking its Carbon Neutral certification this year, and the production of glass bottles plays a large part in the emission of carbon. Cramele Recas also noted that the production rates of glass bottles has decreased, while doubling in price, over the past year or so, due largely to the war in Ukraine.