A new wine initiative, targeted at retailers aiming to meet corporate mandates to reduce packaging waste has been announced by David Kent, CEO of The Wine Group.

“The wine industry is perhaps the most vulnerable of any food and beverage
producer to ‘carbon criticism’, due to its historical reliance on heavyweight glass packaging and its failure to migrate to more environmentally sensitive packages,” Kent said. The Wine Group, Inc., the world’s third largest winery by volume, also announced new data that offers retailers hard facts to assist their corporate mandates to reduce carbon emissions and packaging waste. (Click  here to view chart.

Kent said, “As the world’s leader in Bag-In-Box (BIB) packaging, TWG is in a unique position to assist retailers with innovative 3L and 5L BIB packages that eliminate the freshness trade-off associated with most other forms of alternative packaging. BIBs offer better wine for the consumer (it stays fresh for at least 6 weeks once opened) and for the world - 85% less landfill waste than traditional glass packages and a 55% smaller carbon footprint - according to industry experts. Adding more BIB options for consumers at the retail shelf can dramatically reduce the environmental burden of excess wine packaging.” (Click  here to view chart.)

Consumers agree with their dollars. According to The Nielsen Company, 3L Premium Wine Casks are the fastest growing package segment of the U.S. wine market, up 53.6% in the past 26 weeks versus year ago (data ending 9/22/07, TI U.S. Grocery case basis) in grocery stores across the country. Danny Brager, VP of Alcoholic Beverages for Nielsen, explained, “Consumers see the wine quality benefits of the cask, as they have many weeks - not days - to enjoy premium wines. With the expansion of new premium wines in the cask format, retailers have the opportunity to add more choices to satisfy consumer needs for diversity in wine types and styles,” continued Brager.

Large retail chains like Wal-Mart, Costco and Tesco have developed policies to reduce the environmental burden of excess packaging. Retail managers are tasked to work with suppliers to develop policies and packages which help meet corporate environmental goals, primarily centered on carbon footprints and material waste. “This is an exciting time,” Kent said. “Upon hearing our ‘Better Wine, Better World’ message, retail executives have come out in active support of our premium wine casks and view them as a key element to achieve their corporate ‘Green’ mission statements,” Kent added.

One retailer who is leading this trend is Total Wine & More, the nation’s largest independent fine wine retailer. Each Total Wine & More store carries a selection of more than 8,000 different wines. This summer Total Wine & More increased their commitment of store footage to 3L Premium Wine Casks (PWC). “The threat of global warming is real and the PWC format is an important step forward for the wine industry. We are committed to expanding this format as it is good for consumers, good for the world and good for business,” stated Robert Trone, Total Wine & More. He continues, “After careful consideration, we added a Premium Wine Cask option to a large existing glass brand, Pacific Peak, and the new format is quickly being embraced by the premium wine consumer.”

“As the world’s most cost and carbon efficient winery, we are proud of what we are doing and we plan to do more,” noted Kent. “The challenges faced by our industry call for pragmatic environmentalism as we need to deliver wines that exceed quality and price expectations, while helping customers (wholesalers, retailers and consumers) achieve their environmental goals. The Wine Group is taking aggressive measures to reduce overall energy consumption by our wineries, and leading the industry to implement local bottling of imported and exported wine. This reduces carbon emissions through unnecessary transportation of heavy glass,” said Kent.




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