Plastic wine bottles way of future

BY ANNA WALLIS
Last updated 12:00 16/11/2009
Peter Yealands
JIM TANNOCK
SOME BOTTLE: Winemaker Peter Yealands has started with an initial run of 5000 bottles of wine in plastic.

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He's been called brave for doing it, but Awatere winemaker Peter Yealands is sure wine in a plastic bottle will eventually become conventional.

Mr Yealands' sauvignon blanc in plastic bottles will hit the supermarket shelves any day now.

He said other beverages have made the change and wine will as well. He cites the example of Coca-Cola going from glass to plastic and said that didn't put a dint in their sales.

"It's not for everyone. But younger generations will get into it."

Mr Yealands said he is not the first in the world to make the change, with Wolf Blass in Australia bottling in plastic, and British supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury marketing wine in plastic bottles.

He said the plastic bottles suited sauvignon blanc because it was drunk soon after bottling.

"If this was an area producing reds I wouldn't be doing this.

"It only works with a crisp, fresh sauvignon."

But isn't wine the wrong product to be sold in plastic?

"There are wine buffs, and then there are people who buy wine in supermarkets. More than 70 per cent of sauvignon wine is sold in supermarkets for under $20 and is drunk within a week. That's the market."

Yealands Estate is bottling a first run of 5000 bottles of wine in plastic. The bottles will carry an 18-month best-before date because of the possibility of oxygen spoiling the wine.

The move has been described as "brave" by Master of Wine Bob Campbell.

Mr Yealands said the change was part of the winery's environmental drive. Plastic was a greener container than glass, using 19 per cent less energy to manufacture.

The plastic will be used in Yealands Estate's Full Circle brand.

-With Fairfax

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