Grape Grower & Winemaker May 2024 Freeview

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What’s online

In this issue

International briefs

Producer Profile: Bart van Olphen

Looking Back

Calendar 124 Marketplace classifieds

7 WA wineries backed by funding for market re-entry into China

8 Halliday retires from weekly column

10 New Zealand Wine pushes for white wine glass emoji after initial request denied “without explanation”

12 Further assistance for South Australian winegrape growers

13 Australian wine sales to grow in Vietnam

14 Wine brand committed to planting 1m² of bushland for every bottle sold in April

17 PACKWINE 2024

18 Unpacking innovations in wine packaging

22 The art (and science) of branding

26 Tried and tested: The hidden benefits of lightweight glass

33 Collaborations reign supreme for experimental packaging

39 Impact made effortless

43 60 years of the screw cap: Has China seen a twist yet?

46 Boxed in: a rocky path to alternative packaging


52 FEATURE Why is Australia not protected against phylloxera?

57 Why trellising matters

68 $1 million netting enclosure protects premium grapes at Barossa Valley vineyard

72 FEATURE Spotlight on the Murray Darling

80 Bolstering community connection to industry


86 Modern commercial yeast selection

93 FEATURE Floating a new approach to filtration

96 NoLo whites Uncorked: Liquid innovation

101 Behind the Top Drops: Landaire Chardonnay

104 Yellow Tail goes green

107 Mitigating climate change

110 Yarra Valley Producer again named Australian Winery of the Year


112 Understanding workplace grievances and complaints


116 China has finally removed crushing tariffs on Australian wine

May 2024 – Issue 724 Grapegrower & Winemaker 3 contents 36 2024 ANNUAL THEME: STRATEGIC PLANNING | ISSUE THEME: PACKWINE 2024 PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES TURN PREMIUM The mother of all infection? Re-entering China COMBATING COMPETITION IN A CONTRACTED MARKET MAY 2024 THE AUSTRALIAN NEW ZEALAND GRAPEGROWER WINEMAKER MAY 2024 Spotlight on the Murray Darling 110 101
May issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker as part of our special PACKWINE 2024 feature.
Cover: We focus on packaging for the

This special 2024 PACKWINE feature again brings a focus to the vital role that packaging plays in the Australian and New Zealand wine sectors.

With packaging remaining a critical factor in the success of wine brands, we present insights and information to help you stay up-to-date with the latest packaging issues and innovations.

May 2024 – Issue 724 Grapegrower & Winemaker 17

Unpacking innovations in wine packaging

Should premium producers lighten-up about glass bottle weight?

Alternatives to traditional wine packaging have been emerging at growing pace over the years, as tensions mount in response to the climate crisis. Customers are calling for increased environmental awareness, and many wine brands

feel inclined to make this change where it is arguably most visible: their packaging. Rebuking the reign of classic heavy glass bottles and cork (or screwcap) closures, some businesses are exploring a variety of increasingly niche alternatives

to the default format. Gone are the days of a uniform shelf, now consumers can find their wine in cans, in bags, or in a box, not to mention in a vast array of lighter bottle options such as thinner or recycled glass, aluminium, and, most recently, paper.

18 Grapegrower & Winemaker May 2024 – Issue 724
Design by Cornershop Design @cornershop_design Photography by Slingshot Studios @slingshotstudiosadelaide PACKWINE 2024 |

The main purpose of these lighter bottles is to reduce carbon emissions, as less weight = less fuel required for transport. Some companies are also turning to uniquely shaped bottles such as Packamama’s flat bottles to increase packaging efficiency in trucks, therefore reducing the number of trips required.

Closures are not exempt from this discussion either, with some producers favouring the proposed carbon offset of cork, and others preferring the recyclable nature of aluminium screwcap.

It’s not just wine producers and consumers that are taking note of bottle weights: in January, popular American wine writer Karen MacNeil said she would cease to give coverage to wines in heavy glass bottles in her newsletter WineSpeed Jancis Robinson has had a gripe with heavy bottles since 2006.

“Whatever is the point of them other than to satisfy an ego or a marketing concept?” she asked. Now, all Robinson’s wine reviews note the bottle’s weight.

Dr Armando Corsi is an Associate Professor in Wine Business at the University of Adelaide, where his research specialises in consumer behaviour toward wine and other beverages.

“We don’t really know a lot about what trade wants, when it comes to alternative packaging,” explained Corsi. “Where we have the majority of information, and the majority of research done has been more on the consumer side.”

“We know that unseen is unsold. So for a product to be purchased, it definitely must be on shelf. Retailers, whether we’re dealing with wine or any other FMCG [fast moving consumer goods], need to have a return on investment for every centimetre of space that they make available for the product to be out there.”

Corsi says that understanding what consumers want is the “preliminary step”, which can then provide evidence to the retailer that the

packaging format is popular and that people will choose it.

“Because at this stage, none of us are thinking of ever putting a Penfold’s Grange or a Hill of Grace in a can. But we have an awful lot of lower-priced wine that is not meant to age for long - that is meant to be drunk maybe within a year or two, and mainly sold potentially at less than $20 a bottle, or $20 a litre.”

“For these type of products, I think there is really no reason why we cannot think about alternative packaging for these wines.”

sustainable packaging choices without putting the reputation of their main brand in jeopardy.

“They’re still not putting their flagship wine in a can or in a PET flat bottle,” explained Corsi. He likened this to the French approach, where the premier cru, a winery’s superior quality wine, is kept in its traditional form, and allows the winery to release other more affordable wines that may still benefit by proxy from the prestige of the brand’s premier cru, but are sold at a more widely accessible price.

“For us, it is the same: we’re seeing some premium producers that will have their premium products in a regular bottle, but when it comes to the more entry-level products, then there is a bit of a shift into other into other formats,” said Corsi.

One of the reasons that screwcap became successful is that all of a sudden, screwcaps flooded the market.
When you’re left with no other alternative than buying wine with a screwcap instead of a cork, then all of a sudden, you’re finding that more natural.

“If you have a flagship wine that, by the nature of the product that is inside the bottle, is meant to age for 15-20 years, then there is no point in choosing an alternative format.”

“If a wine is meant to age for a very long time, which sometimes is the case for more flagship products, my advice would be: continue with the bottle.”

“Maybe a producer can decide to reduce the weight of their bottle, but so far glass is unsurpassed when it comes to ageing of the wine and that stability of the product over time.”

“Unless you go less than 430g per bottle, you’re not really incurring a lot of breakages,” explained Corsi. “So that is a good margin for producers to choose lightweight bottles.”

“What we’re seeing from what we consider some of the more premium producers, is that they will use their brand reputation to convince the consumer to buy them in an alternative format.”

For large producers that have a range of quality and quantity wines at their disposal, Corsi said that introducing a range of wines in alternative packaging formats is one way companies incorporate

If the wine does not require a long aging process, then there is a wide variety of alternative packaging options that can be suitable.

“We’re seeing the recycled PET bottles from Packamama that, for example, Accolade and Taylor’s have been adopting in the Australian market. So there is already a variety of alternative choices. And of course, let’s not forget about light-weight bottlesso regular bottles, [that] weigh less

May 2024 – Issue 724 Grapegrower & Winemaker 19

NIGO X Penfolds

To mark the 180th anniversary of Penfolds, the brand unveiled its first-ever design takeover for the packaging of its flagship wine, Grange.

Fashion designer NIGO, the creative director of Japanese fashion label Human Made, collaborated with Penfolds to release the re-imagined Grange packaging, inspired by his first visit to Penfolds Magill Estate Winery in South Australia in 2022, and his time with the Penfolds team reviewing archive material from Penfolds history.

The Grange by NIGO release included a limited number of 750ml and 1.5L gift boxes to house the 2019 Grange.

Each box was individually numbered and included a bandana and bottle neck tag designed by NIGO, plus an authenticity certificate. The design approach pays tribute to Grange in NIGO’s signature style, featuring a bold and colourful grape graphic and Penfolds logo reimaged through Human Made’s iconic typography.

“It was an honour to be the first person to collaborate on a design for Grange, especially as the brand celebrates its 180th anniversary,” said NIGO.

We have never done this before, and the result is brave and refreshing.

The launch of Grange by NIGO follows the global release of One by Penfolds – NIGO’s first Penfolds project – where apparel items for the collaboration sold out globally in under 1.5hours.

“This is a different direction for us, and the first time we have changed the distinctive gift box of our flagship Grange,” said Penfolds chief marketing officer, Kristy Keyte.

“As a collector, NIGO understands the reputation of Grange and its legacy. He was able to create a limitededition approach that is both playful and fresh while remaining respectful to the history of the wine. We have never done this before, and the result is brave and refreshing.”


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