Attention, winos! Wine bottles might look different in the future. Instead of the round shape that you are accustomed to seeing, you might find your favorite vino in a flat bottle. Why? The answer lies in shipping costs, storage and environmental concerns.
Santiago Navarro, cofounder and CEO of the British company Garçon Wines, says he has the solution for these issues: a wine bottle which is not only lighter than the glass 750 ml bottle, but also takes up less space because it is thinner yet still holds 750 ml of wine. In fact, the bottle is flat.
“Before Garçon Wines, I was the lead cofounder and chief executive of Vinopic Wines, an online retailer which was the first to use scientific analysis, in conjunction with expert tastings, to judge and score wines for quality. Today, I lead Garçon Wines with unwavering drive and passion to bring about positive innovation in the wine industry with a distinct focus on sustainability, to make consumers’ lives better whilst protecting the health of our planet.”
Navarro says the flat wine bottle was not part of the original business plan: “We were trying to deliver wine to millennial drinkers in the U.K., living in urban centers, not often home and wanting smaller delivery volumes of wine more frequently. The only way we could achieve successful delivery into the home when the drinker was not in was to access the property through the letterbox, a mail slot cut into U.K. front doors which gives direct access into the home. The ideal way for us to deliver wines in smaller volumes, more regularly and cost effectively, was to use the Royal Mail postal service.”
Hence, a flat bottle that can fit into a U.K. letterbox went into gestation. (In case you were wondering: yes, as long as no money changes hands, people can send people wine in the U.K. via the Royal Mail postal service. How civilized is that?)
Navarrro envisioned the bottle shape as a cross-section of Bordeaux and Burgundy bottle shapes. He also knew the bottle needed to be light, strong and sustainable; that called for 100% post-consumer recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
The flat bottle is produced by RPC M&H Plastics and right now is shipped to only U.K. customers. But the plastics company is part of the global RPC Group, which provides Garçon Wines with potential access beyond the U.K. to 34 countries. Navarro has registered and secured intellectual property of design patents in those countries, including the U.S. and Canada. As the flat bottle gains traction he plans to introduce local production in most of the countries his company expands into, and that includes the U.S. For instance, M&H has a plastics manufacturing site in Winchester, Virginia. The plan is to start supplying the U.S. market in 2019.
According to Navarro, the glass wine bottle can weigh as much as 18 ounces (500 grams); the flat bottle weighs 2.22 ounces (63 grams). A twelve-bottle case of wine in glass weighs about 40 pounds (18.14 kilograms); the flat box case of twelve weighs about 22 pounds (10 kilograms). The boxes into which the flat bottles go are lighter than the boxes for glass bottles because they are thinner. Navarro has no doubt concerning the flat bottle’s economic benefit and lower carbon emissions in transport, but he plans to team with a research university for a study on its sustainable impact.
In case you’ve been wondering: the flat bottle closure is an all-plastic screw cap.
What do you think? We love the idea of helping the planet and being able to fit more bottles of wine inside of our fridge. And while we doubt traditional, round wine bottles will completely go the way of the dodo and become extinct, there are times when having the option of light, flat wine bottles could make life a bit easier, like when you’re entertaining. Plus, imagine the novelty of opening your refrigerator and seeing stacks and stacks of beautiful wine!