Pros and Cons of Plastic versus Glass
- Extremely light weight. The plastic bottles we have seen weigh in at 54 grams--less than 2 ounces. The glass bottle we use at present weighs 468 grams, or just over 1 pound. A "light weight" version is still 400 grams (more than 14 ounces).
Weight is important in at least three regards. First is the carbon footprint. Moving mass around takes energy, and the more mass you move, the more energy is required. At a difference of 414 grams per bottle, each case of wine bottled in plastic would weigh 4,968 grams less than the same case of wine bottled in glass--almost 11 pounds! That adds up as the wine moves around the country.
The second way that weight matters is to those who handle it. A case of our wine weighs 36 pounds. If it were bottled in plastic it would be 25 pounds. That's a big difference to anyone stacking, packing, racking, or hauling, including you, the consumer.
Finally, weight is important in reducing shipping costs. Most shipping charges are determined by weight and distance. Reduce the weight and the shipping costs will fall.
- Carbon Emissions. In addition to the carbon emissions related to moving the wine around, we must consider the carbon emitted in producing the plastic bottle compared to one of glass. According to one plastic bottle producer (do please consider the source), "air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions [are reduced by] more than 50% compared to glass bottles," and "it takes 77% less water to make a [plastic] bottle."
We don't (yet!) have any independent numbers, but we do know that it takes a lot of energy to make glass, and that amount is about the same whether the source material is virgin sand or recycled bottles.
But, ah, at least glass can be recycled! What about plastic? These wine bottles are made from PET, the same plastic used for soda bottles. Those bottles have been "recyclable" for some time now, and the industry knows how to do it. But do they? We know very little about plastic recycling, and welcome your input.
- Breakage. Certainly a plastic bottle is less prone to breaking than glass.
- Transportability. Many public places prohibit glass containers. A plastic wine bottle would let you take your wine to more places.
- Shelf-life. Plastic is gas-permeable. The wine bottles in question have are specially lined to reduce oxygen transmission, but even still the manufacturers recommend storing your plastic-bottled wine no more than 1.5 to 2 years. We imagine that most of the wine we produce is consumed in that window, but we also pride ourselves that our wine will develop beautifully over a much longer period.
Please let us know what you think! Even a simple thumbs up or down would be welcome. Thanks!