Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

The Wine Society trials recycled plastic bottles

Published:  14 July, 2023

Following the publication of its Alternative Packaging for Wine report in May, The Wine Society has embarked on the second phase of its packaging trial. This week, four of The Society’s most popular wines, including its top-selling wine, The Society’s White Burgundy, will be released in recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottles.

This weekend online wine retailer The Wine Society will launch four of its top-selling wines, including The Society’s White Burgundy, in recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottles.

The new release marks the second phase of its packaging trial which was announced back in May.

The recycled plastic bottles are considerably lighter than glass bottles weighing 63g compared to an average of 460g for glass bottles, resulting in a lower-carbon footprint, as well as offering consumers greater convenience and portability. The bottles are also fully recyclable.

As part of its Sustainability Plan, including halving its total carbon footprint by 50% by 2023, The Society commissioned an independent study to identify and review all available alternative packaging formats to glass, and the recycled plastic bottle came out as one of the better options.

Light to transport and made from 100% recycled plastic, the bottle and cap are fully recyclable by all local authorities in the UK, unlike other packaging options like cartons and pouches. While a shelf life of up to 18 months is technically possible, Society members are being recommended a drinking window of 6 months for this bottle format.

Dom de Ville, director of Sustainability and Social Impact at The Wine Society, said: “In our recent carbon report, we shared the news that glass bottles account for 31% of The Society’s total emissions. To achieve our ambitious reduction targets, we need to significantly reduce our emissions attributable to packaging. One way to do this is putting more of our wines into lower-carbon packaging formats. Although rPET might sound controversial, with today’s technology and in the absence of a proper system in the UK to collect and reuse glass bottles, the plastic bottle is a really good option. It has a lower-carbon footprint than glass and can be recycled at home.

“While we recognise there is a plastic pollution problem, it is not necessarily plastic itself that is the problem, rather it is what we do with it. This is why we are taking a practical approach to plastic, seeing its benefit in our efforts on climate change, rather than taking a black-or-white stance that all plastics are bad. This bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic and is recycled everywhere in the UK – which helps to support a more circular economy” 

The trial follows the release of six of The Society’s wines in bag-in-box (BiB). The BiB trial was said to be a great success with the wines selling out in three weeks.  

Pierre Mansour, The Wine Society’s director of Wine added: “We are trialling these bottles with wines designed to be drunk young and our tastings confirmed that the quality compares favourably with the same wines in glass and BiB. While rPET has less of a track record with wine, we will want to satisfy ourselves, and members, that there is no impact at all on quality. Only then, and assuming members continue to buy them and their feedback is positive, will we include them as a more permanent fixture in our range.”

The Wine Society’s rPET trial range will be online and available to buy this weekend: 

The Society’s Gruner Veltliner 2022 £9.25

The Society's White Burgundy 2022 £11.95

The Society's French Pinot Noir 2022 £7.95

The Society's Exhibition Fleurie 2022 £12.50