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#SAgoodwine – PET makes wine go green

Ahead of the COP 17 UN climate change conference in KZN should SA be taking a leaf out of the Kiwis wine book?

More wineries are bottling vintages in plastic but don’t expect glass bottles to become as rare as corks.

The Pet (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, which are 100 per cent recyclable, lighter to transport than glass and cost about the same, are becoming more popular.

First introduced in 2009, plastic bottles were aimed at the environmentally conscious crowd, Wineworks bottling company managing director Tim Nowell-Usticke said. Five wineries on his books in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough were already using plastic.

Restaurant Association Wellington president Mike Egan said airlines and stadiums had sold single-serve wine bottles for years for lightness and safety.

“I can’t really see it catching on unless there’s something really compelling. We switched to screw caps years ago but there was a compelling reason … guarantee of quality.”

In Marlborough, Yealands Estate Full Circle is the only wine bottled in plastic. Sales and marketing manager Michael Wentworth said: “It’s 89 per cent lighter than glass, so you’re reducing your carbon footprint.”

The plastic had not changed the taste of Full Circle sauvignon blanc and merlot, which had done well in blind-tasting competitions, he said.

Mission Estate national sales manager Martin Greig said new technology, including a shelf life of at least two years, had made leading wineries sit up and seriously consider using plastic.

A blind tasting of identical wine bottled in plastic and glass had a “different not worse” taste, he said.

Wine Bottlers Marlborough chief executive Lance McMillan said his company had the ability to bottle in plastic, but it was yet to use it for a major bottling.

A lot of chemicals went into making Pet bottles and he would like to see more proof of the environmental effects of making them.

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