Wine that's sold in bag-in-box packaging is often viewed as inferior – unfairly so! We've added quality wines from two Swiss producers to our range, all packaged as boxed wine, which offers several advantages.
Winemaking is part of our cultural heritage. It requires the work of skilled craftsmen and is rooted in tradition – from the way in which the vines are cultivated to bottling the wine in glass bottles. And many winemakers wouldn't have it any other way.
"Filling high-quality wine into a plastic pouch is frowned upon in our industry," explains Annatina Pelizzatti. She is one of two Swiss producers whose wine is available in our online shop in bag-in-box packaging – a plastic pouch filled with wine inside a cardboard box. Pelizzatti has been in the winemaking business for over 20 years. She cultivates her vineyards on around 4 hectares of land near the small village of Jenins in the Bündner Herrschaft. A mild climate and calcareous soil make this region ideal for growing top-quality wine grapes.
Though she had some reservations at first, we managed to persuade Pelizzatti to give bag-in-box wine a try. Her Pinot Noir Classic AOC is now available as a 3-litre box wine in our online shop. "We work our farm very intensively. Our vineyards produce a lot of oxygen, and we harvest all our grapes by hand. But using glass bottles impacts the carbon footprint of our wine. Everyone speaks about being carbon neutral, but when it comes to the packaging, they don't follow through. So, I decided it was time for me to do something about it instead of just talking about it. Now is the time to do it!"
In addition to Pelizzatti's wine, we also have two wines produced by Weingut Stoll available in our shop: the Nero Cuvée AOC, a blend of modern grape varieties and Pinot Noir, and the Zäme AOC a blend of Souvignier Gris, Gf 48-12 and Muscaris grapes. Christoph Stoll and his team cultivate the grapes for these wines on the limestone soils in Osterfingen in the canton of Schaffhausen. Here too, the grapes are harvested entirely by hand.
Significantly more sustainable than glass
With bag-in-box packaging, the wine is filled into a pouch made of plastic, which is then placed inside a cardboard box. You can then pour the wine into a carafe or directly into a wine glass using a small tap. One of the major advantages of bag-in-box packaging is that the wine can be stored for months without affecting the taste, even once it's been opened.
But for us, the most compelling argument is that bag-in-box packaging is a lot more sustainable than using glass bottles. A study conducted by Carbotech and commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment has shown that the environmental impact of bag-in-box packaging is around 80 per cent lower than that of a single-use glass bottle.
This is because producing glass is a very resource-intensive process. Single-use bottles can be recycled after use, but they have to be melted down at a temperature of 1'600 degrees Celsius. According to a study by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the most significant factor influencing the carbon footprint of a bottle of wine, apart from growing the grapes, is the production of single-use bottles.
Besides, glass bottles are heavy and bulky. It would take four glass bottles to hold as much wine as you'd get in a single 3-litre bag-in-box wine. The shape and weight of the bottles also mean that less wine can be transported in a single trip, resulting in higher emissions during transport.
Winemakers are sceptical
As Pelizzatti explains, many winemakers are still quite sceptical about using bag-in-box packaging and other alternatives. "Change is slow to come in the winemaking industry. For many, this starts with a screw-top bottle instead of a cork. It even became a topic of conversation in our region when we decided to do away with the plastic collar on the neck of our wine bottles."
Box wine is still viewed as inferior, even though filling the wine into a plastic pouch does not influence the taste of the wine in any way. On the contrary, an oxygen seal at the front of the bag ensures that the taste of the wine remains unchanged, even once the package has been opened. And the inner layer of the bag is completely free of any plasticisers.
When asked whether she believes that bag-in-box packaging will gain traction in the winemaking industry going forward, Pelizzatti replied: "I'm curious to see whether bag-in-box packaging will catch on. It's just one of many alternative packaging options. We're seeing more and more start-ups and projects looking for alternative packaging. It's very challenging because the material has to be acid-resistant and opaque."
By offering bag-in-box wine, we're taking a step towards a more sustainable alternative to glass bottles. Dare to join us and give it a try?