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Wine to be packed in cartons in UK for first time

Wine in cartons can become a 'successful niche' in the UK, industry experts believe, as the first Tetra Pak wines packaged in the country hit shop shelves.

First UK-packaged wine cartons: Tetra Pak

Wine importer Raisin Social has teamed up with UK-based Greencroft Bottling and Tetra Pak to launch wines from two South African producers in Tetra Pak.

There are two Fairtrade wines from Du Toitskloof, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot red and a Chenin Blanc-Sauvignon Blanc, which will be exclusively in Waitrose.

Also, in an initial production run of 100,000 Tetra Pak cartons, will be a Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Chenin Blanc-Sauvignon Blanc from Namaqua wines, which will go into retailers including Costcutter, Budgens, Nisa and Londis.

Globally, around 10% of still wines are packaged in cartons, which supporters say are lighter, easier to recycle and more convenient than glass bottles.

However, in the UK, a recent survey by Wine Intelligence found that bottles remain ‘by far the most popular choice’.

There have been many attempts at selling wine in cartons in the UK, such as Boisset’s French Rabbit; most have failed to go mainstream.

Still, some believe that Tetra Pak may yet succeed where the likes of PET bottles and pouches have struggled. ‘Of all the packaging that has come along recently, Tetra has more potentially useful attributes to it,’ the COO of Wine Intelligence, Richard Halstead, told Decanter.com.

Tetra Pak cartons are made from low-carbon raw materials, primarily containing paperboard made from wood.The majority of Tetra Pak in the UK is from responsibly managed forests, Raisin Social said in a press release.

There are significant environmental advantages to Tetra Pak and similar paperboard cartons: while glass makes up around 40% of the weight of a bottle of wine, a carton can be as little as 4%. Its square shape allows it to be packed more tightly than a bottle, meaning cases can be smaller and lighter and require less warehouse space.

‘Tetra has the potential to become a successful niche. Whether consumers accept it is now in the lap of the gods,’ Halstead said.

Raisin Social managing director Simon Halliday said that Tetra Pak wine offers better value-for-money. ‘We believe there’s going to be growth in the Tetra category,’ he said.

The Du Toitskloof wines will go into Waitrose at £4.99 per 75cl carton, following consumer research at the retailer.

Before opening, wines in Tetra Pak have a shelf life of 18 months.

Written by Chris Mercer

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