Is new wine packaging boxing clever or uncorking disaster?

Lifestyle

Is new wine packaging boxing clever or uncorking disaster?

Nowadays your favourite tipple can be had in a can, a foil bag, a carton or a bottle

Michael Fridjhon

The mention of packaging in the context of fine wine is a little like talking about how a luxury sports car gets from the factory to the showroom when most people are only interested in its performance. Everyone knows it’s important, but no one ever thinks about it. However, in the world of wine this past half-century, there has been more innovation in the way the product is brought to market than in how it is made. While there were virtually no changes to wine packaging between the 17th century — when glass bottles and cork closures were introduced — until the 1970s, there have since been several important developments.

The most important of these has been bag-in-the-box. Originally these came with plastic bag liners that produced catastrophic consequences: leakage, product deterioration and rodent infestations. However, the concept didn’t die: it needed the improvement of the foil liner as well as the marketing clout of Oude Meester to take off in SA. But once it did, it changed the way we bought and consumed wine.

Its introduction coincided with the growth of the supermarket wine retail sector. Suddenly “Chateau Cardboard” became a grocery item. Every time a Cellar Cask was loaded into a shopping trolley, five litres of wine — equivalent in volume to more than a six-bottle case — was sold, primarily to women. Marketers realised they had a new audience and adjusted advertising channels accordingly...

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