Western Cape Business News

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BEVERAGES: PET Wine Bottles Get Approval


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE Wine and Spirit Board has approved the use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), for wine bottles, and local wines in such bottles will be allowed the South African Wine of Origin certification.

In SA, glass wine bottles of 750ml capacity weigh about 400g while the PET bottles weigh only 50g, bringing vast savings in local and export transport costs.

The PET bottles are also fully recyclable and have a much lower carbon footprint than glass.

Mondi Packaging is producing the PET bottles locally and has been working closely with two European suppliers. The bottles are already widely used for fruit juice, beer and wine in Europe and, says sales manager Louis Moodie: “It was inevitable it would happen here. Mondi hasn’t reinvented the wheel but secured this leading technology and launched it here with the back-up of our European partners.”

The major benefit to the wine industry is that the PET bottles’ physical footprint is much smaller due to its reduced weight and diameter, that up to 36% more product can be transported under the same container price at a saving of an estimated 30c - 90c a unit.

As the 750ml bottle has smaller dimensions than its glass equivalent, the six- or 12 bottle cartons are smaller too. We have worked out that if a producer or distributor exports 7 million bottles into a territory that accepts this packaging, such as Scandinavia, it equates to a R3.5m saving,” he says.

The carbon-neutral wine estate, Backsberg, will be the first to sell wines in the PET bottles and has been actively pursuing the packaging.

Backsberg will be putting a Merlot and a Sauvignon blanc into the PET bottles, which will be the same wines it has been putting into glass.

While Backsberg believes producers will be sceptical at first and probably use the PET bottles for lowest - level wines, when consumers see the benefits, that will change. The PET bottle looks just like glass and, though thinner, will be the same height as a standard glass bottle.

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