Home Others Thinking Outside The Bottle: How The Wine Industry Is Embracing Sustainability

Thinking Outside The Bottle: How The Wine Industry Is Embracing Sustainability


wine bottle packaging

Wine has always been one of the most popular alcoholic beverages with its global market revenue set at 340.8bn USD. In 2020, global wine consumption increased from 226 million hectoliters in 2000 to 234 million hectoliters in 2020. While these numbers are impressive, many wine companies are revising the way they do business. A rise in consumer demand for companies to implement more sustainable approaches is leaving no industry unturned, including the wine industry. Rising costs and challenges with supply chains, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, have also had a direct impact on the wine industry looking for sustainable alternatives.

Although a wine’s carbon footprint has little to do with the production of the wine itself, its packaging manufacturer and supply chain management contribute to climate emissions and changes. The International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) found that 40% of wineries’ emissions come from packaging and transportation.

But what is the industry doing, and what more can they do, to reduce these emissions? 

Ensuring better standards of sustainability

You may be wondering how wine packaging could reduce its impact on the environment when it generally comes in glass bottles which are thought to be eco-friendly. But there are a few ways to make these bottles more so. For example, using cullet to manufacture bottles can reduce a wine bottle’s environmental impact in the first stage of its life cycle. Manufacturing new glass bottles can be energy intensive as they require a temperature of 1700 degrees Celsius of which the source is natural gas combustion. Using recycled glass can reduce the amount of energy required to manufacture wine bottles.

However, a key consideration in ensuring that wine bottles are made from recycled glass is encouraging consumers to dispose of their empty bottles correctly. Although recycling has become a norm for many, products don’t always have implicit recycling instructions on them. This makes it difficult and confusing for consumers to know how to recycle products correctly and they end up in already overflowing landfills. Statistics show that roughly 80% of items buried in landfills could be recycled which indicates a need for companies to educate their consumers on how to recycle their products better. 

Sustainable packaging also involves streamlining logistics to lighten their environmental load. This includes rerouting supply chains. If one thing was apparent during the pandemic, it was that supply chains were affected heavily and faced many challenges. But these challenges gave rise to opportunities to optimise shipping and transportation. Some companies made commitments to source their bottles locally which would reduce the distance their products had to travel, and subsequently carbon emissions. Adjusting the designs for the packaging in which wine bottles are transported also contributes to significantly reducing the number of delivery trips because more cases of bottles are able to fit per truckload or shipment. These small changes ultimately make a big difference to the environment in the long run. 

Glass wine bottles are usually very heavy. This means that only a limited amount of them can be transported at a time because of the total weight. Moving to lighter weight bottles will help reduce the amount of packaging as well as carbon emissions resulting from transportation between vineyards and the end consumer. Packaging solutions experts, GPA Global, offer their clients high-end and customisable wine packaging. Their 100% compostable packs will showcase any premium wine without compromising the environment. GPA Global is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and taking accountability for their Scope 3 emissions as well as affiliate companies in their supply chain. Currently, they account for 20% of their Scope 3 emissions from their suppliers with a goal to reach 50% by 2030.

Wine Packaging is a Climate Decision

As international trade is recovering from the challenges it faced due to the pandemic, the wine industry is set to see some changes. Companies have had to rethink their strategies in order to get their products from the vineyards to their end consumers. One of the biggest responses was a fast turn towards e-commerce to keep sales moving and this was a positive as, in 2021, wine boasted a 40% share of online sales.

However, the pandemic wasn’t the only challenge that the wine industry faced in the past three years. Climate change negatively impacted wine production in 2021 as extreme weather patterns in Europe severely affected wine producers. With 45% of the world’s wine being produced in Europe, namely Italy, France and Spain, this resulted in a loss to the industry. Looking ahead, these results are a blaring sign that climate change is real and sustainability needs to be kept at the forefront. The wine industry is embracing changes that will improve their products’ life cycle. If a bottle of wine is sustainable, it can be repurposed so that the end of its journey can give life to the beginning of the next bottle and ad infinitum.

Companies from other industries should also take heed of the negative role they could be playing in impacting the environment.

Chipping away at even the smallest processes will have a big impact. Sustainability affects everyone and this is shown by the impact it can have on the wine industry. One of the biggest drivers is to improve packaging solutions so it’s important to find a manufacturer that continues to take strides in embracing more eco-friendly practices and promoting lasting environmental and social changes. Companies like GPA Global help companies to be transparent about their processes from the beginning of each product’s life cycle to the end. They also offer unique and premium packaging that’s tailored to your specifications and requirements so you can add value to your products without negatively impacting the environment.