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Flat bottle production set to rise via new ‘cutting-edge’ facility

Published:  11 December, 2023

Packamama, the eco flat bottle company behind the new-look Banrock Station, is upping its capacity via a new product-specific bottling line which looks set to significantly increase the presence of alternative format wines in markets like the UK.

By moving into the purpose-built Cudal winery in New South Wales (pictured), the business anticipates being able to fill up to 30,000 Packamama bottles a day, Amelia Dales, commercial director at Packamama, told Harpers.

The winery itself is located in the heart of Australia’s Orange wine region, with Packamama contributing to the installation of a ‘cutting-edge’ bottling line in collaboration with Tamburlaine Organic Wines.

The site’s recent first run was just short of 100,000 units. Now, the company is planning to rapidly ramp up and “add another zero” to this number as it looks to capitalise on the growing uptake of sustainable and advanced bottling solutions globally.

“The UK is the destination for the most Australian wine by far, at 215 million litres [Wine Australia figures],” Dales added.

“This makes the UK critically important for Australian wine exports. With logistics costs remaining high, Packamama’s flat-pack and lightweight benefits offer a significant competitive advantage for Australian wine producers looking to export packaged wines to markets like the UK.

“Bulk wine exports are great, and we support them, but this does not always work for smaller producers. Packamama is hoping to work with more mid-sized players who want to get into important export markets, like the UK, by allowing them to send pallets or containers of packaged wines with unbeatable packing efficiency.”

At present, glass bottles remain the majority format in Australia, with 70% of wine by volume packaged into standard glass bottles, according to Wine Australia.

However, the construction of the new line is another mark on the dial for alternative bottle formats as the needle switches increasingly towards more sustainable solutions. In order to make way for Packamama’s bespoke bottling line, one of the facility’s old glass bottling lines was removed and a state-of-the-art GAI monoblock bottling line installed in the second half of the year.

Packamama prides itself on the use of recycled PET bottles, known as rPET, thus removing the need to use virgin plastics in its manufacturing of flat bottles.

Interestingly, it also doesn’t categorise itself alongside cans or BiB, but instead believes that “wines should be enjoyed from a beautiful bottle and what we offer is beautiful bottles, but better ones, rather than alternative packaging”.

“Australian wine is, unfortunately, experiencing strong headwinds in export markets. Distinct, convenient and sustainable packaging, as offered by us, will give Australian wines a chance to stand out on the wine aisles of supermarkets like Tesco, where we have already seen a great consumer response for Banrock Station, an Accolade Wines brand.

“Australian producers are also battling with the impacts of climate change and so implementing more sustainability initiatives and actions are front of mind for many. Wine Australia recently published their Emissions Reduction Roadmap, unsurprisingly highlighting packaging as an area for improvement and specifically noting recycled PET bottles as a way to achieve a circular approach to decarbonising. It is imperative that UK consumers understand the threat of climate change to the Australian wine industry,” Dales concluded.