To be a sustainable, responsible business in the 21st century, relevant and meaningful innovation is fundamental. Within the wine industry, one company who have seized an opportunity to make a real improvement is Garçon Wines, the British start-up based in London and with a stateside office in San Francisco. The company exists to make the wine industry more sustainable in a 21st century world, through innovating in wine packaging, starting with bottles which are the single largest contributor to wine’s carbon footprint. Garçon Wines are Footprint alum having picked up a joint win with Carlsberg for Packaging Innovation at the Footprint Drinks Sustainability Awards back in 2019.
Garçon Wines are challenging the status quo of the dominant way wine has been packaged since the 19th century; in round, glass bottles. Their innovation is an advancement of the traditional Bordeaux wine bottle, aiming to contribute to the impactful, timely and necessary goal of advancing the sustainability of the global wine industry. Why the need to advance the status quo? Because nowadays, most of the billions of bottles of wine that are consumed annually across the globe are still shipped around the world in heavy, fragile, spatially inefficient vessels. These round, glass bottles are outdated for modern supply chains and have a grotesque carbon footprint which is at odds with the need to mitigate against climate crisis - a real existential threat to our modern lifestyles.
Designed to cater to mass market, everyday drinking wines, Garçon Wines’ bottles offer shape innovation and best-in-class sustainable material. Made from 100% recycled PET, pre-existing not single-use plastic, this wonder material puts PET that is already in circulation back to good use. It is also one of the most widely recycled plastics on the planet. In general, it takes 75% less energy to make a bottle from recycled PET instead of virgin and 79% lower CO2 emissions are generated by using recycled PET compared to virgin. Compared to using glass, the carbon-reducing benefits are further amplified from lightweighting as Garçon Wines’ eco, flat wine bottle is 87% lighter than an average round glass bottle.
The innovative, flat design also enables greater sustainability. The flat surfaces mean the bottles pack like books to reduce wasted airspace in the transportation of wine. Additionally, according to the company, in some instances this shape innovation has enabled up to 91% more wine to be shipped in the same amount of space. Optimising the use of space in transit and ecommerce cases has a direct environmental and financial benefit in reducing carbon emissions and costs, in turn helping to reduce the damage done to our planet and to support business prosperity. It also puts a smile on wine drinkers’ faces that they can fit double the amount of wine in the fridge.
This start-up has already seen great success and popularity of their flat-pack wine bottle format in the Nordics as part of their collaboration with Accolade Wines, the UK’s no.1 wine company. They continue to encourage the wine industry to reconsider its use of round, glass bottles in favour of a more sustainable format that still respects the tradition of the industry and retains the emotional connection consumers have with wines in bottle.
As such, through their innovative wine packaging, Garçon Wines strive for sustainability that is scalable and triple bottom-line – for happier consumers, a wealthier industry and a healthier planet.